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July 17, 1952



McWilliams & Margolis, Johnstown, for appellant.

William L. Hammond, Special Deputy Atty. Gen., Robert E. Woodside, Atty. Gen., Leon D. Metzger, William H. Wood, of Hull, Leiby & Metzger, Harrisburg, intervening appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Reno

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 224]

RENO, Judge.

This is an appeal by 624 claimants from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, wherein the employer, Bethlehem Steel Company, was permitted to intervene as an appellee. The claims of some appellants were dismissed because they had not filed timely appeals from the initial determinations of the Bureau, the Board holding, under the evidence, that the claimants were not misled by statements of the compensation authorities. The claims of others were denied because the claimants were disqualified for benefits by the Unemployment Compensation Law, § 402(d), 43 P.S. § 802(d), which provides: 'An employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week * * * (d) In which his unemployment is due to a stoppage of work, which exists because of a labor dispute (other than a lock-out) at the factory, establishment or other premises at which he is or was last employed: * * *.' Since we are holding that all appellants were disqualified under § 402(d), we draw no distinction between them and, for the purposes of this decision, treat all of them as though they had followed the procedural requirements of the Law.

Appellants were members of the United Steelworkers of America, C.I.O., or of the bargaining unit

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 225]

    involved in the strike, and were employed in the wheel plant of the Bethlehem Steel Company at Johnstown. The wheel plant, as the evidence and findings indicate, is one unit of an integrated mill, dependent for its power upon the operation of other departments, and was necessarily involved in the work stoppage.

On July 17, 1949, the collective bargaining contract between the steel companies and the United Steelworkers expired and the parties did not immediately negotiate a new contract. Because of the intervention of the President of the United States, a proposed strike was twice postponed. The dead line for the strike was finally fixed at 12.01 a. m. of October 1, 1949 and, as a result, a work stoppage existed at Johnstown from that time until 12.01 a. m. of November 1, 1949. Prior to the effective date of the strike, on or about September 28th, the company, in anticipation of the strike, began a gradual shut down of its operations. The wheel plant was scheduled for closing on September 29th at 3.00 p. m., after which time electric power would not be available, although some parts of that plant were closed as early as September 28th. In respect to this period, the Board found: '7. * * * The three-day tapering-off period from September 28 to 30, inclusive, was necessary to permit the orderly cessation of operations of the highly integrated steel plants and to circumvent substantial damage to expensive equipment and installations otherwise threatened. Reduction of personnel proceeded in accordance with the shutdown of various machinery, equipment and installations.'

The strike was ended under a collective bargaining agreement executed on October 31st which provided, inter alia: 'The employes who were on September 30, 1949, in the payrolls of the Company will be returned to work as soon as the orderly resumption of operations

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 226]

    will permit.' As to the period following the cessation of the work stoppage, the Board found: '10. During the period from November 1 to 7, 1949, inclusive, the Company resumed operations according to a gradual and integrated over-all basis throughout its plants. This consisted of starting up coke ovens to supply coke to the blast furnaces and gas to various plants, the latter for use in operating steam plants which, in turn, operated electric power generating units which furnished current to other electric operated equipment and installations. Due to the necessity of achieving a balance between coke and coke gas production, involving a gradual buildup of the coke ovens, electric power could not be made available to the wheel plant until Saturday, November 5, 1949. Additional maintenance work and preparation efforts were required on November 5, 6 and 7 to permit wheel shop production work involving the cutting and processing of steel products on November 8, 1949. A maximum of 46 men was utilized in the wheel plant from November 1 to 6, inclusive, 138 on November 7 and 464 on November 8, 1949, at ...

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