Appeals in case of In Re Claims of James Peter Collins, No. B-156328; Deborah J. Smith, No. B-156329; Viola Mae Long, No. B-156330; John Joseph Hippensteal, No. B-156331; Lawrence Lee Deutsch, No. B-156332; Robert G. Frey, No. B-156333; and R. Lynn Shelley, No. 156334.
Paul F. McHale, Jr., with him Frank J. Danyi, Jr., and Maloney, Danyi, Goodman, Hensel & Center, for petitioner.
Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, and Catherine C. O'Toole, with them Richard Wagner, Assistant Attorney General, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., for respondents.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer, Blatt, DiSalle, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Wilkinson, Jr. and Rogers did not participate. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 500]
These consolidated petitions for review ask us to determine the eligibility of several applicants for unemployment compensation benefits covering a period of time in which they were out of work during a labor dispute between their union, the Bethlehem Education Association (Association), and the Bethlehem Area School District (School District).
The referee and the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) determined that the work stoppage between September 8, 1977, and September 19, 1977, constituted a lockout. Accordingly, the claimants were awarded benefits. The School District appeals, contending that the work stoppage was a strike and that benefits would be barred under Section 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(d).
[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 501]
Section 402(d) provides relevantly that:
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 which he is or was last employed. . . .
The sole test to be applied under this Section to determine whether the work stoppage constitutes a strike or a lockout was enunciated in Vrotney Unemployment Compensation Case, 400 Pa. 440, 444-45, 163 A.2d 91, 93-94 (1960):
Have the employees offered to continue working for a reasonable time under the pre-existing terms and conditions of employment so as to avert a work stoppage pending the final settlement of the contract negotiations; and has the employer agreed to permit work to continue for a reasonable time under the pre-existing terms and conditions of employment pending further negotiations? If the employer refuses to so extend the expiring contract and maintain the status quo, then the resulting work stoppage constitutes a 'lockout' and the ...