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CLARK UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. PHILCO CORPORATION v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW (11/17/66)

decided: November 17, 1966.

CLARK UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. PHILCO CORPORATION, APPELLANT,
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW



Appeal by employer, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B-91755-B, in re claims of Walter H. Clark et al.

COUNSEL

Ronald Souser, with him Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellant.

Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.

Harry R. Kozart, for claimant, intervenor.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. Opinion by Spaulding, J. Concurring Opinion by Wright, J. Dissenting Opinion by Hoffman, J. Watkins and Jacobs, JJ., join in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Spaulding

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 240]

This is an appeal by Philco Corporation from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review granting compensation to claimant Walter H. Clark. Clark was an employe of Philco and a member of Local 101 of the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers.*fn1

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 241]

The union and Philco executed collective bargaining agreements effective April 30, 1962 and expiring April 26, 1964. In November 1963, informal efforts were begun to reach a new agreement. Fifteen to twenty meetings between Philco and the union were held, but they led to no accord. A work stoppage resulted on Monday, April 27, 1964 and continued until June 15, 1964.

The sole question before us is whether the above work stoppage was the result of a lockout*fn2 or a strike.

The controlling legislation is § 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 P.S. § 802(d), which provides in pertinent part: "An employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week -- (d) In which his unemployment is due to a stoppage of work, which exists because of a labor dispute (other than a lockout) at the factory, establishment or other premises at which he is or was last employed . . . ."

Claimant's application for benefits under this section was refused by the Bureau of Employment Security. After extensive hearings, the Referee affirmed this decision denying benefits. On August 12, 1965 the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review reversed the Referee and allowed benefits, holding that the work stoppage was due to a lockout within the meaning of § 402(d). Philco appeals.

Responsibility for a work stoppage rests with the party whose actions constituted the final cause thereof and it is the duty of the compensation authorities to ascertain the final cause. Bokoski Unemployment Compensation Case, 206 Pa. Superior Ct. 96, 211 A.2d 124 (1965); Klima Unemployment Compensation Case,

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 242205]

Pa. Superior Ct. 489, 211 A.2d 23 (1965). The Board found, inter alia, that: "Spokesmen for Philco Corporation on many occasions insisted to the Union . . . that its proposals had to be adopted or the plant would have to close." The Board concluded the union had ". . . no choice but to remain away and not to report for work." The facts do not support this finding. On the contrary, the following shows that the union voluntarily chose to stop working.

1. During one of the union broadcasts after the commencement of the stoppage, Stanley Slovitsky, President of Local 102, stated: "Finally the contract under which our members provided their services expired. When we no longer had contractual protection for our services, we withheld these services. Curiously, that is exactly the way the Ford Motor Company operates in purchasing materials. No contract, no purchase." (Emphasis added.)

2. In another broadcast a union member stated: "The four thousand men and women who voluntarily stopped work have also lost about one million dollars of income. It was not an easy thing to do to decide to stop working and therefore stop your income. We chose to withhold our skills and abilities. We chose to stop working." (Emphasis added.)

3. On April 25, 1964, the membership of both locals voted not to report to work on April 27, the next regularly scheduled working day. Union pickets appeared outside the plant carrying placards ...


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