Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review on cases of In Re: Claim of Andrew Sawchak, No. B-115285; In Re: Claim of John A. Kvarta, No. B-115284; In Re: Claim of David D. Slagle, No. B-115283; and In Re: Claim of Mike F. Lusnak, No. B-115282.
James T. Carney, for appellant.
Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 297]
This is an appeal*fn1 by the employer from the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review which reversed the decision of the Bureau and the referee, each of which had determined claimant to be ineligible for benefits on the grounds that he refused suitable work.
The claimant was first employed as a laborer by this employer in 1949. After working as a bricklayer helper, he became a bricklayer apprentice in 1951. The apprenticeship program required a minimum of four years for completion, but claimant did not finish the program until 1957.
On September 18, 1971, claimant was notified that he was laid off from his bricklayer's job due to a reduction in force. On September 24, 1971, he was contacted by his former employer and offered a laborer's job. Claimant's wage rate as a bricklayer was $4.735 per hour, plus incentive, whereas the wage rate of the laborer position offered was $3.385 per hour, plus incentive. However, a union contract in force at the time required claimant to be paid for a given quarter a minimum of 85% of his average earning rate during the preceding four quarters. Claimant declined the position. On October 10, 1971, he was offered and accepted
[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 298]
a position as a hooker, being an employee who assists in attaching a hook from a crane to a bundle of material. The issue before us is claimant's eligibility for unemployment compensation during the weeks ending October 2 and October 9.
The Board of Review found as a fact that claimant refused to accept the offer of employment as a laborer because of the reduction in pay and because of his past training and experience. The Board also found as a fact that claimant was available for suitable work.
The issue presented to us for decision is whether the record supports the Board's finding that the laborer position offered or assigned to claimant was not "suitable work" as defined by Section 4(t) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 753(t). We find that it does.
The term "suitable work," is defined in Section 4(t) as follows: "(t) 'Suitable Work' means all work which the employe is capable of performing. In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the department shall consider the degree of risk involved to his health, safety and morals, his physical fitness, prior training and experience, and the distance of the available work from his residence. The department shall also consider among other factors the length of time he has been unemployed and the reasons therefor, the prospect of obtaining local work in his customary occupation, his previous earnings, the prevailing condition of the labor market generally and particularly in his usual trade or occupation, prevailing wage rates in his usual trade or occupation, and the permanency of ...