Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of Peter F. Toma, Jr. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B106983; Robert J. Keiber, Sr. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B106984; Ladislaus T. Ficzko v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B106985 and Gladys Chegwidden et al. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. B106986.
Joseph L. Rosenfeld, for appellants.
Raymond Kleiman, Deputy Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
George F. Coffin, Jr., with him Carl F. Skinner, for intervening appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Concurring Opinion by Judge Manderino.
Before us is an appeal from a decision and order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review dated August 19, 1970 affirming a Referee's denial of unemployment compensation benefits for the period during which appellants were involved in a work stoppage. The issue presented herein is whether that work stoppage was the result of a strike or of a lockout. Section 402(d) of the Act of December 5, 1936, P.L. 2897, 43 P.S. § 802(d) provides that employees are eligible for unemployment compensation only during a work stoppage resulting from a labor dispute if the stoppage was caused by a lockout. We hold that appellants prevail and are entitled to payments under Section 402(d), subject to certain conditions referred to hereinafter.
Claimants are employees of the Mack Printing Company who were members of the Mack Printing Employees Association, their collective bargaining agent. The Company and the Association were parties to a collective bargaining agreement which expired on December 31, 1968.
The labor dispute which gives rise to this appeal has unique and somewhat complicated factual incidents which should be delineated in light of the bearing they have on the result we obtain today. In October of 1968, negotiations began between the Company and the Association in order to discuss the terms of a new agreement. After several meetings had been held and no terms yet agreed upon, the Company announced on December 20th that it would not be available for negotiations until January 6th.*fn1 The Company, on December
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th, also sent to the Association a proposed agreement which provided that work should continue under the terms of the then existing agreement during the negotiations, until January 31st. Incidentally, the proposal did not provide for retroactivity to January 1, 1969. The Association did not accept this proposal.
No negotiations were conducted after December 20th but work continued as regularly scheduled up until the 31st of December. At that time the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service suggested a ten-day cooling off period. The Association assented and so informed the Company but it failed to respond.
On January 2nd,*fn2 the members of the Association reported to work and completed the first shift. A request by the Association that the Company allow an employees' meeting was refused by the Company, but a meeting of the employees was nevertheless held after the completion of the first work shift. At that time a vote was taken and the Association called for a work stoppage until the Company had replied to the recommendation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. After this meeting and vote, two employees, who continued to work, were told by ...