Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claims of Edward M. Molitoris, No. B-111043-C; John Mikovich, No. B-123922; Russell C. Younkins; Calvin D. Franks, No. B-123926; John M. Noska, No. B-123929; Margaret Nagg, No. B-123927; Margaret Nagg, No. B-123928; Steve Karlock, No. B-123921; Andrew G. Sibula, No. B-123923; Andrew G. Sibula, No. B-123924; Andrew G. Sibula, No. B-123925; Edward M. Molitoris, No. B-123920; and Edward M. Molitoris.
Alan Epstein, with him Freedman, Borowsky and Lorry, for appellants.
Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
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Edward M. Molitoris and others*fn1 (Claimants) have appealed the orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which denied them benefits. The
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factual posture and legal issues are similar in these claims and they were therefore consolidated for our determination.
Claimants were last employed by the river division of United States Steel Corporation (Employer) in the operation of barge tows. Under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between Employer and Claimants' union (National Maritime Union of America, AFL-CIO), Claimants work seven (7) consecutive days on the boats followed by seven (7) consecutive days off.
The periods of unemployment in these cases arose when the 7-day on-period was terminated early by Employer so that boat repairs could be made. This is known as a "lay-up." In each case Claimants were subsequently rehired and resumed the 7-day on, 7-day off cycle.
In the first two of the three Molitoris claims, the referee found that one day had been lost from the on-cycle and that he had returned to work following the off-cycle. In other words, he worked six days and was off eight rather than the usual seven days on and seven days off. In his third claim, Molitoris only lost five hours and forty-five minutes at the end of his on-cycle. In each case, the referee determined that the loss of a day during the on-portion of the work cycle was not sufficient to allow benefits since Molitoris received remuneration for 14, 13 and 12 days, respectively, of the three 14-day periods at issue.
Accordingly, the referee denied benefits on the ground that Molitoris was not "unemployed" within the meaning of that term in Section 4(u) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn2 (Act).
After hearing additional evidence, the Board found that Molitoris was not available for suitable work during the off-week of the cycle. The Board reasoned that since the ...