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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. NATIONAL VALVE & MANUFACTURING CO. (06/09/75)

decided: June 9, 1975.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
NATIONAL VALVE & MANUFACTURING CO., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Frank J. Renda, et al, No. B-122056; and Claim of Robert P. Manion, et al, No. B-122057.

COUNSEL

Donald B. Heard, with him Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellant.

Charles G. Hasson, 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 Mencer. Concurring Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Mencer

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 566]

National Valve and Manufacturing Co. (National) is a fabricating concern which has three plants located in the vicinity of Pittsburgh. National employs three classifications of production employes who are enumerated as steamfitters, fabricators, and machinists. The fabricators bring the pipe and the fittings to the work benches where the steamfitters fabricate, weld, burn, and fit the pipe and fittings together. When the steamfitters have completed their job functions, the fabricators take the work item and paint, sand, and coat the pipe. Machinists grind, scale, and perform certain preparation work on the work item. The fabricators also operate the overhead cranes which move the pipe within the plant. This production process results in all three crafts being dependent on one another, all three crafts working as a team.

On June 1, 1972, members of Local Union No. 52 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (machinists) commenced a work stoppage

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 567]

    and picketed the premises of National. This strike was settled on July 14, 1972, and all workers returned to work by July 17, 1972.

Steamfitters Local Union No. 449 (fabricators) had a contract with National which expired May 31, 1972. The fabricators engaged in their own strike and picketing from June 5, 1972 through June 13, 1972, at which time their dispute was settled. The steamfitters were also members of Local No. 449 and working under a National Labor Management Agreement effective June 1, 1970 and having an expiration date of June 1, 1973. This agreement contained a no-strike clause.

We are here concerned with the eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits of the steamfitters and fabricators, who are claiming employment benefits for the periods of June 1 through June 4, 1972 and June 22 through July 14, 1972. The steamfitters and fabricators assert that they were unable to reach their places of work during these periods of time because of threats of violence made against them by those members of the machinists' union, Local No. 52, who formed the picket lines outside National's plants. The Bureau of Employment Security denied benefits and invalidated the applications filed by steamfitters and fabricators. A referee reversed the Bureau of Employment Security and allowed benefits. The Board of Review, by a 2-1 decision, disallowed National further appeal and National filed this appeal.

The referee and Board of Review concluded that, since claimants did not personally participate in the machinists' labor dispute in that their refusal to cross the machinists' picket line was justified in the face of threats of violence against them, they were not disqualified from receiving benefits.

However, our examination of the record convinces us that the controlling question in this appeal is whether claimants belong to the same grade or class of workers as the ...


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