Appeal by employer, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-62-7-D-453, in re claim of John J. Klima.
Donald C. Bush, with him Griggs, Moreland, Blair and Douglass, for employer, appellant.
Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.
Jerome H. Gerber, with him Sidney G. Handler, for intervening appellees.
Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. (Flood, J., absent). Opinion by Watkins, J.
[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 491]
In this unemployment compensation case the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review awarded benefits to the claimants, employees of the appellant, Mackintosh-Hemphill Division, E. W. Bliss Company, on the ground that their unemployment was the result of a work stoppage for which the employer was primarily responsible under § 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 PS § 802(d).
The case involves benefits for a number of employees who had become unemployed as a result of a dispute concerning a new labor contract between the appellant and the union representative of the claimants. The parties have stipulated that the rights of all claimants involved will be governed by the decision in the case of one of the claimant-employees, John J. Klima.
At the outset we should dispose of the complaints of the employer regarding the procedural aspects of this case, keeping in mind that "its benefits and objectives shall not be frittered away by slavish adherence to technical and artificial rules." Baigis Unemployment Compensation Case, 160 Pa. Superior Ct. 379, 51 A.2d 518 (1947).
The Bureau of Employment Security held the defendants ineligible for benefits in that their unemployment was due to a labor dispute. On appeal the case was assigned for hearing to Referee John F. Curran.
[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 492]
After holding hearings and prior to decision the referee died. Referee Sanford M. Lampl was then assigned to hear the case de novo. The claimants requested that it be held de novo. The notice to the parties read: "Notice of hearing on original Appeal", the appeal from the Bureau. The referee, treating it as a de novo hearing, refused to admit into evidence the record of the prior Curran hearing, but permitted the use of the record for cross-examination purposes. All the witnesses that testified in the Curran hearing were present at all subsequent hearings and all documents introduced in the Curran hearing were available at the subsequent hearings. The record of the Curran hearing was used for cross-examination purposes.
After hearing, Referee Lampl sustained the appeal from the Bureau and awarded benefits on the theory that their unemployment was the result of a lock-out by the employer. The employer appealed to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review and requested a further hearing for the purpose of submitting additional testimony. When such a request is made the Board appoints a referee to hear the additional testimony. The Board issued a remand order and appointed Referee Edward Solomon, Jr. to hear the additional testimony. The notice read: "Hearing on Board Appeal", to distinguish it from the decisional hearing. Referee Solomon ...