Joseph E. Madva, Donald W. Ebbert, Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Martin Raphael, Sylvan Gibson, Pittsburgh, for intervenors United Furniture Workers.
William L. Hammond, Sp. Deputy Atty. Gen., Frank, F. Truscott, Atty. Gen., for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Ross Gunther, Wright, Woodside and Ervin Jj.
[ 176 Pa. Super. Page 164]
These are appeals by the employer, Fort Pitt Manufacturing Company, from two decisions of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review which sustained the validity of claims filed by two groups of employees for unemployment benefits for the period between June 5, the date of termination of a strike at the company's plant, and July 1, 1952, the date the plant resumed full operations. It has been agreed between counsel that the appeals be consolidated for disposition in this opinion and that our decision shall determined the eligibility of all other claimants for benefits. Claimants, John Chappelow and Ruth A. Gecy, have been permitted to intervene as additional appellees in the company's appeal.
The facts stipulated under Rule 41 of this Court are summarized as follows: The Fort Pitt Manufacturing Company, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is engaged in the manufacture of bedding and automotive products. Approximately 47% of the company's production consisted of automotive products for the International Harvester Company and two divisions of General Motors Corporation. These customer corporations furnished the company with machine tools and dies for the manufacture of their automotive products
[ 176 Pa. Super. Page 165]
and also supplied the company with monthly shipping schedules covering their requirements for a period of at least three months in advance. The company had in its employ approximately 396 production employees, of whom 378 were members of, and represented by, United Furniture Workers, CIO, Local 100. The collective bargaining agreement between the union and the company expired on March 31, 1952, without a new agreement having been reached, and the union called a strike effective April 1, 1952, which remained in effect until June 5, 1952, when a new agreement was executed. Because of the strike, the customers for automotive products cancelled shipping schedules for the months of April, May and June and transferred their machine tools and dies to other manufacturers for use during the strike. On Monday, June 9, the company resumed normal operations in all departments of the plant except the automotive production department where normal operations could not be resumed until the company was able to obtain new shipping schedules from its customers and the machine tools and dies were returned. Due to commitments made by them during the strike period the customer corporations were not in position to restore to the company full shipping schedules for the months of June and July. However, they did furnish the company with some orders to ship small quantities. The machine tools and dies were returned near the end of June, 1952. On or about June 9, 1952, the company recalled Ruth A. Gecy and 35 other employees with departmental seniority, but after one day of work the union required the company to dismiss them and substitute other employees with plant-wide seniority. John Chappelow and 46 other employees were not recalled to work at any time during June, 1952. On or about July 1, 1952 all the claimants resumed work in
[ 176 Pa. Super. Page 166]
the automotive production department. Ruth A. Gecy and 35 other employees, as well as John Chappelow and 46 other employees filed claims for unemployment compensation for the period between June 5 and July 1, 1952. The Bureau ruled that the claims were valid and allowed benefits, entering findings in each case that the plant was in operating condition and that the claimants' unemployment was due to 'lack of orders.' The company appealed and the Referee, after hearing, reversed the Bureau in each instance and denied the benefits, ruling that the unemployment in question was 'due to a stoppage of work which existed because of a labor dispute at the establishment where the claimant was employed within the meaning of Section 402(d) of the Law.' On further appeal the Board of Review reversed the Referee in each case and allowed benefits, ruling, inter alia, that the claimants were not disqualified under Section 402(d) of the Law, that the 'disqualification of the claimants after a cessation of a strike must be limited to the time required to physically resume normal operations' and that the lack of work subsequent to the settlement of the strike could not be ascribed to the claimants.
The fundamental issue presented by these appeals is whether claimants are entitled to unemployment compensation benefits for a period, following the conclusion of a strike, during which ...