M. H. Goldstein, Philadelphia, for appellants.
William L. Hammond, Sp. Deputy Atty. Gen., Charles J. Margiotti, Atty. Gen., Roland M. Morgan, Associate Counsel, Harrisburg, Joseph Brandschain, Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, Philadelphia, for intervenors.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 565]
Appellants are members of Local No. 333 of the United Paper Converting Workers and Allied Trades Union, C. I. O., and were employed by Wolf Brothers, Inc., intervening appellee. Work stopped at the Wolf establishment on July 1, 1949. The Board held that the work stoppage was caused by a labor dispute, by a strike and not by a lock-out, and denied benefits. The facts differ from those present in Hogan Unemployment Compensation Case, Pa. Super., 83 A.2d 386, but the decision is governed by the legal principles announced in that case. The Board's decision will be affirmed.
A collective bargaining agreement between the parties was to expire at midnight of June 30, 1949. Negotiations for a contract began on April 30th and continued to June 30th, but no agreement was reached. On June 29th the Union's president prepared notices, which were posted in the plant either on that day or the next day, announcing that 'unless a miracle occurs the strike will take place Friday morning July 1, 1949. All members are to report at 7:00 a. m. for picket duty.'
[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 566]
At that time Wolf's plant was open; the workers' access to it was not barred, except by pickets; and the office personnel and 6 foremen reported for duty. A picket line was established; the pickets carried placards stating 'Wolf Brothers on Strike, United Paper Workers of America Local No. 333, C. I. O.,' and at the Union's Headquarters a sign was posted: 'Wolf Brothers Strike Headquarters.'*fn1 Notwithstanding the Board's findings of these facts, which findings are amply supported by competent and substantial evidence and have not been challenged, appellants still insist that the work stoppage, which they themselves denominated a strike, was caused by a lock-out.*fn2
The contention is based upon incidents which occurred during the collective bargaining negotiations. In 1946 Wolf entered into an agreement with the Union, the terms and conditions of which were identical with
[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 567]
those contained in the Union's agreements with two other Philadelphia paper establishments. In January 1949 the two companies agreed to new contracts 'wherein an average ten cent [per hour?] increase in wages across the board was granted, as well as an additional week's vacation.' The Union sought the same wage scale and terms from Wolf. At a negotiation meeting held on June 22nd, Wolf submitted a memorandum of 'the reasons why it could not meet the increase requested and giving assurance that additional sales efforts would be made and its products offered competitively to customers, and if its efforts were successful and profits resulted from this intensified selling campaign, it would promptly reopen the wage question with the union and negotiate a wage increase consistent with the factors prevailing at that time.'
Later, at a meeting on June 30th, 'it was also proposed that the existing terms of the agreement be continued for fifteen days, or a longer period, so that negotiations might be continued and the employees continue at work even though the contract terminated as of midnight, June 30, 1949. The proposal was rejected. The company was willing to renew the old contract for a full year with the additional promise that if they began to make profits, and if other industries granted wage increases, the company would be willing, the following December, to meet with the union again for the ...