In re: Raybestos Products Co. and Local 164, Allied Industrial Workers of America, AFL-CIO

An employer implemented a no-smoking policy for the entire plant.  The collective bargaining agreement permits in-plant smoking in designated areas provided that “cleanliness of the plant is maintained.”  After testimony that company adopted the policy due to concerns about secondhand smoke and the danger of explosion, an arbitrator ruled that the policy violated the collective bargaining agreement because it was not adopted out of a concern for plant cleanliness.  Furthermore, the arbitrator ruled that “the Company did not have the right, based on plant cleanliness considerations, to take away the longstanding contractual right of employees to smoke in non-restricted areas inside the plant without first warning employees that unless they complied with a stated standard for disposing of smoking debris they would forfeit that right.”  The company was ordered to rescind the policy and permit employees to smoke inside the plant for the remaining term of the agreement.

102 LA 46 (1993).