Appeals, Nos. 96, 97, 98, 99, 101, and 102, April T., 1957, by employer, from decisions of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-43717, in re claims of Henry Vrotney et al. Decision reversed.
John E. Britton, with him Henry A. McDonald, and Gifford, Graham, MacDonald & Illig, for appellant.
Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Thomas D. McBride, Attorney General, for appellee.
James G. Hanes, for intervenors.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.
[ 188 Pa. Super. Page 407]
This is an appeal by the Erie Forge and Steel Corporation from the decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review allowing compensation to the corporation's employes. The bureau denied the claimant, Henry Vrotney, compensation on the ground that he was out of employment because he was striking, but the referee and the board concluded that the work stoppage was a lockout, and allowed compensation to the claimant and his fellow employes. Six appeals were taken to this Court by the employer. The decision in this case not only rules all six appeals, but also over a thousand other claims in which the relevant facts and law are identical with this case.
The claimants were members of the United Steelworkers of America, C.I.O. The union had a contract with the employer which expired at midnight August 31, 1954. On June 23, 1954, the union notified the
[ 188 Pa. Super. Page 408]
employer company of its desire to negotiate with respect to the terms and conditions of a new contract.
A number of meetings were held between that time and the expiration of the contract. The union asked for a 5 per hour wage increase and certain "fringe benefits" pertaining to insurance and pensions which would have totaled approximately 9 per hour. The company made no offer on wages and "fringe benefits" until August 26th, when it offered 6 per hour increase to be divided between wages and fringe benefits in whatever way the union desired. The increase was, however, "contingent upon the fact that the premium and tonnage system would be abolished." This was an incentive system in which only 30% of the employes shared. Although all of the employes were offered the hourly increase, the evidence shows that some, although not all, of those on incentive pay would have suffered a loss of take-home pay.
August 28th, at a meeting of the union, the company offer was rejected. On Monday, August 30, the union informed the employer of the result of the meeting on the 28th and stated "that if a new contract was not consummated by midnight, August 31, 1954, a strike would take place."
On August 31, Paul Nunes, an officer of the union, had a meeting with the local union committee and between 1:00 and 3:45 o'clock in the afternoon called a company officer on the telephone and requested a meeting to discuss a continuance of the contract. The meeting was held at 7:30 o'clock that evening.
Prior to this time, the employes had been urged by written notice from their union officials to appear at 10 o'clock that evening for picket duty, and the employer, after having been advised shortly before noon on August 30th that a strike was called ...