Appeal, No. 3, April T., 1957, by employer, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, dated August 27, 1956, Decision No. B-42471, in re claim of William McGinnis. Decision affirmed.
John G. Wayman, with him Leonard L. Scheinholtz, and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for employer, appellant.
Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Thomas D. McBride, Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.
M. H. Goldstein, for claimants, intervenors.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 97]
This is a test case to determine the eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits of over two hundred employes of the Kendall Refining Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania, hereinafter referred to as Kendall. The claims cover the period between February 6, 1954 and April 22, 1954. The Bureau allowed benefits on the ground that claimants were unemployed as the result of curtailment of work by the employer. The Referee reversed the Bureau and disallowed benefits on the ground that claimants were disqualified under Section 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law.*fn1 The Board of Review, after taking additional testimony, vacated the Referee's findings of fact, substituted its own, reversed the Referee, and allowed benefits. The employer has appealed.
The claimants herein involved are members of Local 567, Oil Workers International Union CIO. They were employed either as production or maintenance personnel for Kendall under a collective bargaining agreement which was due to expire at midnight on February 7, 1954. About sixty days prior thereto, Kendall and the union began negotiations concerning a new agreement, and a number of conferences were held. At the conference of February 3, 1954, Kendall was informed that a vote had been taken authorizing the calling of a strike. However, no date was designated. The position of the union was that Kendall should continue
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 98]
operating the plant under the existing terms and conditions of employment pending further negotiations. On February 4, 1954, another conference was held, at which time Kendall submitted a written proposal for an orderly shutdown in the event of a strike. This proposal was not satisfactory to the union, and a counter written proposal submitted by the union was not satisfactory to Kendall. On February 8, 1954, the employes reported to the plant for work. They were informed that the plant had been shut down, and that little or no work would be available. When cold weather abated, Kendall made ready to start up its producing units whereupon, on April 22, 1954, the union officially called a strike.*fn2
It is conceded by both sides that a labor dispute existed, and that a stoppage of work ensued. The controverted issue is the question of responsibility for the resulting unemployment. Kendall's position is that it had reason to believe that a strike would occur, and that, in the absence of written assurance of an orderly shutdown, it was justified in taking steps to protect its plant while still in control of the labor situation. On the other hand, it is the contention of the union that Kendall discontinued operations in order to gain an advantage in collective bargaining. Its position is that a strike had actually not been called, that the employes were ready and willing to ...