Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Mary B. Frank et al., No. B-154391.
Harry K. Thomas, with him John W. Beatty, Knox, Graham, McLaughlin, Gornall & Sennett, Inc., for petitioner.
George Levin, with him Shamp, Levin, Arduini & Hain, for intervenors.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge DiSalle.
[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 461]
The School District of the City of Erie (employer) has filed a petition for review challenging the eligibility of five claimants for unemployment compensation benefits covering a compensable week ending October 8, 1977. The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) held that the claimants had been "locked out" within the meaning of Section 402(d) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(d), and were therefore eligible for Special Unemployment Assistance (SUA) benefits, pursuant to Title II of the Emergency Jobs and Unemployment Assistance Act of 1974 (Assistance Act), 26 U.S.C.A. § 3304 (Note).*fn1
[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 462]
Claimants are secretaries employed by the said school district and are members of the Erie Educational Secretaries Association (Union). The referee made the following significant findings of fact which we find to be supported by substantial evidence in this record.
4. There existed between the employer and the Union a collective bargaining agreement for the period beginning September 25, 1974 and ending on June 30, 1977.
5. On January 10, 1977 negotiations began between Union and employer negotiators for a new collective bargaining agreement to become effective upon the expiration of the existing contract, the Union having presented proposals for certain increases in economic items and for certain changes in non-economic areas, counter-proposals having been presented by the employer, none of which involved any reduction of economic benefits.
6. Intermittent negotiations between Union and employer negotiators followed January 10, 1977, and because of what was considered by the employer's negotiators to be a favorable climate in the negotiations, the employer's Superintendent of Schools, the chief educational officer of the employer, at the suggestion of the employer's chief negotiator, notified the Union in writing on June 28, 1977 that:
'The School District of the City of Erie, Pennsylvania agrees to an extension of the current contract on a day to day basis with the same benefits and pay for the same service as to such time as a new contract is signed between the School District of the City of Erie, Pennsylvania
[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 463]
and the Erie Educational Secretaries Association.'
7. The Board of School Directors of the employer was aware of the notification of June 28, 1977 by its Superintendent of Schools to the ...