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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. G.C. MURPHY COMPANY (06/09/75)

decided: June 9, 1975.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
G.C. MURPHY COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of William M. Krupa, et al., No. B-122433.

COUNSEL

Emil E. Narick, with him Anderson, Moreland & Bush, for appellant.

Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 573]

G.C. Murphy Company has appealed from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review affirming a determination of a referee that the application of William M. Krupa for unemployment benefits for weeks ending May 21, 28, June 4, 11 and 18, 1972 should be allowed. The parties stipulated at the referee's hearing that Krupa's application should be representative of the claims of about 243 employes of G. C. Murphy who did not work from May 15 until June 18, 1972 because of a labor dispute.

The site of the events in this case is a premises occupied by G. C. Murphy in McKeesport on which there

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 574]

    are two buildings, a warehouse and a construction and sign shop. The premises is enclosed by a fence and has two gates, one on 31st street for entry on foot and a drive-in entrance on 28th street. Immediately before May 15, 1972, the following numbers and classes of employes were employed at the McKeesport warehouse property: six security guards, about 270 production employes, 28 nonexempt clerical workers, three exempt clerical workers, nine merchandisers, 40 management people and 33 sign shop and construction department employes. The 33 sign shop and construction employes worked in the construction and sign shop building, the security guards presumably worked throughout the premises and the balance of the employes worked in the warehouse. The first shift production and nonexempt clerical workers were required to be at their work stations at 7:00 o'clock A.M., the sign shop and construction workers started work not earlier than 7:30 o'clock A.M.

The 33 sign shop and construction workers did not belong to any labor organization. The six security guards are members of Local Union 205 of the Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers; the 270 production workers are members of Warehousemen Local Union 249 of the Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers; and the 28 non-exempt clerical workers had designated Warehousemen Local Union 249 as their bargaining agent. The 243 workers represented by Krupa are production workers, members of Local 249 and nonexempt clerical workers for whom that Union is bargaining agent. Both Local 205 and Local 249 are affiliated with Teamsters Brotherhood whose constitution provides that crossing the picket line of another affiliate of the Brotherhood may be the basis for charges against and disciplinary penalties upon its members, including fines, suspensions and expulsions. The contract of Local 249 and G. C. Murphy provided that refusal to work on a premises where any strike is in progress should not be a breach of contract or grounds for disciplinary action by the employer.

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 575]

The six security guards, members of Teamsters Local 205, went on strike and posted pickets at the two entrances to the employer's premises on Monday, May 15, 1972, four stationing themselves at the 28th street vehicle entrance, and two at 31st street pedestrian entrance. This picketing by the security guards continued until the labor dispute was ended on June 18, 1972, and was unaccompanied by violence, threats of violence or any other unlawful conduct on the part of the striking employes. No employes, except management personnel, reported to their work stations on May 15 or May 16, 1972.

Apparently as a result of rumor that the nonunion construction and sign shop employes intended to cross the picket line, a group of employes, including, according to the estimate of the steward of Local 249, about 100 of the 270 production workers, assembled at the 28th street entrance to the warehouse property on the morning of May 17, 1972. Four or five garbage trucks owned by the City of McKeesport and manned by 25 city workers, fellow members of the security guards of Teamsters Local 205, arrived at the 28th street entrance. The trucks were stationed across the entrance and the city workers, armed with machetes, clubs, rakes and brooms, descended from the trucks and behaved, quoting the referee, "in a threatening and aggressive manner" for about a period of 45 minutes, after which they left. The McKeesport police were summoned but never appeared. The city workers never returned to the warehouse property after this incident, although some of their trucks were observed in the vicinity on later occasions, whether on routine garbage collection rounds or for more sinister reasons being the subject of conflicting conjecture by witnesses.

The visitation of the city workers on May 17, 1972 occurred, according to the union witnesses, before 7:00 o'clock A.M. and, according to the employer's witness at about 7:30 o'clock A.M. The referee made no finding

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 576]

    in this regard, although the time of their arrival seems to us to have significance, since it bears on whether the 100 or so production workers then present, scheduled to be at work at 7:00 o'clock A.M., were, as they contend, prevented ...


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