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WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/01/78)

decided: May 1, 1978.

WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW AND ROBERT J. JEFFREY ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of Robert J. Jeffrey, et al. v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation, No. B-138610.

COUNSEL

R. F. Marsh, III, with him Joseph M. Loughren, Alan K. Berk, and Costello & Berk, for petitioner.

Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 151]

Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Westinghouse) appeals here from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review affirming the grant of unemployment benefits to several of its employees.

The employees, production workers at the Westinghouse plant in Blairsville, are members of Local 1096 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. On July 21, 1975, a labor dispute developed between Westinghouse and the Association of Westinghouse Salaried Employees. On that date and subsequent thereto, mass picketing was instituted, and management, professional and other employees were

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 152]

    not permitted to enter the Blairsville plant. Upon filing an application for benefits under the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Act) for the week ending July 26, 1975, these employees were ruled ineligible for benefits by the Bureau of Employment Security pursuant to Section 402(d) of the Act, 43 P.S. ยง 802(d), which relates to the award of benefits when there has been a work stoppage caused by a labor dispute.

Upon appeal, the referee held two hearings and then reversed the Bureau, granting benefits. He concluded that the employees were restrained from crossing the picket line because of a reasonable fear of violence. Westinghouse appealed to the Board, which affirmed the referee, and Westinghouse now appeals the Board's decision here, arguing that the employees should be denied benefits because the referee and the Board failed to make a specific finding that the fear of the employees for their personal safety was reasonable. It argues further that the evidence does not support the conclusion that the employees were restrained from crossing a picket line because of a reasonable fear of violence, and that they offered no evidence of a reasonable attempt to cross the picket line and no evidence of violence, so that the employees should as a matter of law not be entitled to benefits under Section 402(d) of the Act. This section provides:

An employe shall be ineligible for compensation for any week --

(d) In which his unemployment is due to a stoppage of work, which exists because of a labor dispute (other than a lock-out) at the factory, establishment or other premises at ...


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