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MELCHICK UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. PRAMCO v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW (ET AL. (07/24/59)

July 24, 1959

MELCHICK UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. PRAMCO, INC.
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW (ET AL., APPELLANTS).



Appeals, Nos. 306, 307, 308, 309 and 310, Jan. T., 1958, from judgments of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1957, Nos. 205, 206, 207, 208 and 209, reversing decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-13772, in case of Pramco, Inc. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review et al. Judgments reversed; reargument refused November 9, 1959. Same case in Superior Court: 185 Pa. Super.Ct. 303. Appeal to Superior Court by employer from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review. Superior Court reversed decision, opinion by ERVIN, J. Appeal to Supreme Court allowed.

COUNSEL

Sidney G. Handler, with him Handler & Rosenberg, for appellants.

David C. Harrison, Deputy Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.

O. W. Vanderlin, with him Joseph M. McNerney, for employer, appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen and Bok, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 396 Pa. Page 562]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

Appellants are forty-five employees of Pramco, Inc., (Company), a blouse manufacturer in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The majority of the shareholders of Company also owned Monarch Mfg. Co., a New York partnership which manufactured blouses. As owners of Monarch, they signed an agreement with International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (Union) not to subcontract work to any shop not organized by Union.

Company required all its employees to sign affidavits that they neither were nor would become Union members. In November, 1955, Union attempted to organize the employees of Company and signed up many of them. After numerous attempts to obtain recognition and to bargain proved fruitless, forty-seven of the employees of Company went on strike. During the course of the strike, Company notified claimants and all other strikers that if they did not return to work immediately they would be replaced. Very few, if any, replacements were hired by Company. On March 16, 1956, after many meetings with impartial mediators, the strike was settled. The striking employees immediately

[ 396 Pa. Page 563]

    stopped picketing and sought to return to work. Company, however, said they would be given work "when it became available"; but many workers were never recalled.

Appellants made claims for unemployment compensation for the periods subsequent to the settlement of the strike and their reapplication for work. They were awarded compensation by the referee, which award was affirmed by the board of review. On appeal, the Superior Court reversed 185 Pa. Superior Ct. 303 (1958), and held that claimants had voluntarily left work. Appellants then filed a petition for an allowance of appeal which we granted.

Section 402 of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law provides that "An employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week - ... (b) In which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause ... provided ... That the provisions of this subsection shall not apply in the event of a stoppage of work which exists because of a labor dispute. ..." ...


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