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WILLIAM J. PANCZAK v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/03/80)

decided: January 3, 1980.

WILLIAM J. PANCZAK, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of William Panczak, No. B-162076.

COUNSEL

William J. Moran, III, for petitioner.

Gary Marini, Assistant Attorney General, with him, GuruJodha Singh Khalsa, Assistant Attorney General, Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Mencer, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 280]

This is a case of first impression in Pennsylvania involving the application of state law to the Trade Act of 1974, 19 U.S.C. § 2101 et seq. (Trade Act). It involves an appeal from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision finding William Panczak (claimant) ineligible for vocational training benefits under the Trade Act and ordered that payments made to him while he was ineligible be deducted from his future allowances. The claimant contends that he was not afforded a fair hearing by the referee.

The claimant received an allowance under the Trade Act to defray the cost of his enrollment in a training program through the Montgomery County Vo-Tech School. In April of 1978, however, he was observed by a school official to be in an intoxicated condition at the school and he was dismissed from the program pursuant to the school's rules. Shortly thereafter, the office of Employment Security determined that, because of his dismissal for intoxication, the claimant was ineligible for training benefits granted him under the Trade Act, and that he was also liable for an $89.00 payment made to him for the week after he was dismissed.

The Trade Act, passed by Congress to "safeguard American industry and labor against unfair or injurious import competition," 19 U.S.C. § 2102, authorizes the United States Secretary of Labor to grant allowances to certain workers whom the Secretary determines to be unemployed as a result of certain types of foreign industrial competition, 19 U.S.C. § 2273. It envisions a symbiotic relationship between

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 281]

    the federal allowances and the unemployment compensation laws of the various states, and provides that state law shall be applied.*fn1 The regulations promulgated by the Secretary pursuant to the Trade Act provide that, after the Secretary determines which general categories of workers are eligible for assistance, the unemployment insurance agencies of the states have jurisdiction to determine the entitlements of individual claimants,*fn2 and that appeals from such agency determinations shall follow the applicable route under state law.*fn3 The regulations further provide that recipients of the special additional allowance for vocational training become ineligible if their performance in the training program is unsatisfactory:

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 282]

A trainee under this Subpart C who, without good cause, refuses to accept or continue or fails to make satisfactory progress in such training shall not be paid a trade readjustment allowance for any week of unemployment thereafter until the week in which the ...


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