Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claims of William C. Burkes, Jr., Leslie A. Fusco, John J. Aloi, Jacqueline W. Erkel and Richard A. Shevchik, No. B-149445 (Token).
Shelley W. Elovitz, for petitioner.
Michael D. Klein, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Assistant Attorney General, Chief Counsel, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt and MacPhail. Judges DiSalle and Craig did not participate. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
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This is an appeal to determine whether 217 school teachers (collectively referred to as claimants) employed by the Montour School District (employer) are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits covering
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a period during which they were out of work during a labor dispute between the employer and the Montour Education Association (union).*fn1 The unemployment compensation authorities determined the work stoppage was the result of a strike and denied benefits pursuant to Section 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn2 We affirm.
The collective bargaining agreement between the parties expired on August 31, 1976. On September 10, negotiators for the employer and the union approved and initialed a new three year agreement. The union membership ratified the agreement on September 12 and returned to work the next day ending a strike which began on September 7. On September 28 the employer notified the union that the amounts of the salary increases for the second and third years contained in the proposed formal written agreement were at odds with what the employer understood to be the agreement reached by the parties on September 10. Accordingly, the employer notified the union that it would not formally execute the proposed agreement. During subsequent negotiations on September 29 and 30 the employer offered to continue operations under the terms and conditions of the first year provisions,
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which had been implemented following the resumption of work on September 13, if the union would agree to sign a waiver that the implementation of these provisions would not affect the employer's right to negotiate salary schedules for the second and third year of the contract. The union refused to sign the waiver and instead offered to continue working under the first year provisions if the employer would submit the question of the validity of the salary schedules for the second and third year contained in the proposed agreement to binding arbitration. The employer refused binding arbitration on the salary schedules for the second and third years. On October 1, the union established picket lines. At no time did the employer say that work was not available. The union, at a meeting on September 30, 1976 agreed not to report for work October 1, 1976. The work stoppage continued until November 15, 1976 when the school teachers returned to work under a court order.
At the hearing before the referee, claimant Shevchik testified that on September 10 the agreement reached involved average salary increases of $1,302 for the first year, $1,555 for the second year and $1,100 for the third year. Nevertheless, the solicitor for the employer testified that the salary schedule for the second year as embodied in the proposed formal written contract submitted for final execution to the employer contained an average salary increase for the second year of $2,068. Following 11 numbered findings of fact briefly summarized above, the referee concluded work was available for the claimants under the terms and ...