Appeal, No. 50, Oct. T., 1962, by employer, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review No. 67956, in re claim of Frank Oscar Irvin et al. Decision affirmed.
Samuel Leiter, with him Benjamin E. Gordon, of the Massachusetts Bar, and Nelson & Campbell, for employer, appellant.
Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Raymond Kleiman, Deputy Attorney General, and David Stahl, Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.
Leo C. Mullen, for intervening claimants, appellees.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.
[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 309]
This is a test case to determine the eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits of approximately fifty employes of Small Tube Products, Inc., of Altoona, Pennsylvania. The claims cover a period between October 17, 1960, and January 17, 1961. Benefits were allowed by the Bureau of Employment Security, the Referee, and the Board of Review on the ground that a work stoppage which resulted in claimants' unemployment constituted a lockout. The employer has appealed.
[ 198 Pa. Super. Page 310]
The record discloses that appellant is engaged in the manufacture of copper and brass tubing, and claimants were employed as production and maintenance workers. Their final day of work prior to the work stoppage was October 14, 1960. Claimants are members of, and are represented for collective bargaining purposes by, Local 981 United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers, hereinafter referred to as the Union. Appellant and the Union had entered into a collective bargaining agreement which was effective up to and including October 2, 1960. In accordance with the terms of this agreement, the Union gave sixty days written notice prior to the expiration date of its intention to terminate the agreement and to negotiate for a new contract.
On August 30, 1960, at a meeting with the Union's shop committee, appellant's president stated that the company was on the verge of shutting down for lack of orders, due primarily to foreign competition. At that time base pay rates averaged out to $1.58 per hour, with additional incentive earnings of fifty cents per hour. The employer suggested that, rather than face a layoff, the employes should agree to work without the incentive pay. Formal negotiations for the new contract began on September 9, 1960. The principal economic issue was the employer's insistence upon eliminating the incentive-wage plan. At a meeting on September 30, 1960, the Union proposed an extension of the contract subject to five-day termination. Appellant finally agreed upon a two-week extension. This agreement was reduced to writing and provided for a termination date of October 16, 1960.
Because of its important effect upon the pivotal issue in this appeal, we will briefly summarize the testimony relating to the final negotiation meeting on October 13, 1960, immediately prior to the work ...