Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claim of Nancy M. Barillaro, No. B-139035 and Claim of Nancy Fotia, No. B-139036.
Paul W. Johnson, for petitioners.
Susan Shinkman, Assistant Attorney General, with her Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 326]
These appeals were taken individually by Nancy Fotia and Nancy M. Barillaro (claimants) and were consolidated for argument before this Court since both cases involve the same issues.
The referee decided that claimants were ineligible, under Section 402(a) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(a),*fn1 to receive unemployment compensation benefits
[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 327]
because they refused offers of suitable work without good cause. The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirmed, and claimants appeal to this Court.
Both claimants had been employed in the inspection and trimming department at Elwood Knitting Mills (Elwood) at salaries of $2.80 per hour. Both had worked at Elwood for approximately 16 years. Barillaro was laid off in September 1975 and Fotia on November 7, 1975. On March 20, 1976, claimants were informed that they could return to work at Elwood as knitting machine operators at $2.30 per hour. Neither accepted the offer. The referee concluded, and the Board agreed, that the reasons given by the claimants for their refusals did not constitute "good cause" within the meaning of the Act. We affirm.
Claimants argue that their refusal to accept the offered work was with good cause for the following reasons: (1) The offered work would have involved a loss of seniority and a 17.8-percent reduction in pay; (2) each claimant questioned her ability to perform the offered work, i.e., Fotia claimed that she was unfamiliar with the machine and Barillaro claimed that she was "too short" to operate the machine; and (3) Elwood allegedly agreed, in a collective bargaining agreement provision and by direct suggestion at the time the work was offered to claimants, that claimants could refuse the offers without jeopardizing their unemployment benefits.
In Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Lowell, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 309, 314, 355 A.2d 616, ...