Donald W. Ebbert, Charles C. Hewitt, W. Gordon Rauck, Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
William L. Hammond, Sp. Deputy Atty. Gen., Harrisburg, Frank F. Truscott, Atty. Gen., for appellee.
M. H. Goldstein, Philadelphia, for intervenors.
Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Gunther, and Wright, JJ.
[ 176 Pa. Super. Page 11]
In this unemployment compensation case, the compensation authorities awarded benefits to claimants, John Thomas Leto and Mary Liebrum, employes of the P. McGraw Wool Company. The employer took separate appeals which were consolidated for argument before this Court and will be treated in one opinion. Counsel for the respective parties have stipulated that the instant appeal will determine that status of all claims filed by similarly situated employes of the appellant.
The following is a summary of the findings of fact made by the referee and affirmed by the Board: On March 15, 1951, the employer entered into a collective bargaining contract with claimants' unions, Locals No. 34 and No. 774 of the Textile Workers of America, C.I.O. This agreement was for the period March 15, 1951 to March 15, 1952, with provision therein that it would remain in effect for successive one-year terms thereafter until either party thereto gave the other 60 days' notice of an intention to terminate.
On January 10, 1952, the employer gave the unions written notice of its decision to terminate the agreement on March 15, 1952. Thereafter the employer and claimants' union representatives met in an attempt to negotiate a new contract. The employer, because of poor business conditions in the textile industry, proposed that its employes accept a wage reduction amounting to 12 1/2 cents an hour and at the same time agree to increased work loads. The union representatives took the employer's proposal to their membership and it was rejected on February 29, 1952.
One day before the expiration of the contract, the employer and the union representatives met again, this time at the office of a federal mediator. At this meeting the company adhered to its original proposal of
[ 176 Pa. Super. Page 12]
a wage cut, but did moderate its position to the extent that increased work loads need not be instituted until the matter had been worked out with the unions. The union representatives would not agree to a wage reduction. They did, however, offer to continue working on the basis of the existing agreement for a year, a month or even 15 days, to allow additional time for negotiation. The employer refused this offer and informed the unions that work would be available on the first work day following the expiration of the contract at the reduced wage rates proposed by it.
The employes voted not to return to work on the employer's conditions and set up picket lines at the plant on Monday, March 17. The work stoppage continued until April 16, 1952, when negotiations resulted in an extension agreement whereby the employes returned to work at the original wage rates and agreed ...