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CHICHESTER SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/26/80)

decided: June 26, 1980.

CHICHESTER SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW AND DIANE M. ARON ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Diane M. Aron, et al., No. B-170278.

COUNSEL

Arthur Levy, with him Gregory J. Polischuk, Levy and Surrick, for petitioner.

Alexander A. DiSanti, Richard, Brian, DiSanti & Hamilton, with him Stephen Lipson, Assistant Attorney General, for respondents.

William Fearen, with him Michael I. Levin, Cleckner and Fearen, for amicus curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 75]

The Chichester School District (School District) seeks review by this court of a March 22, 1979 order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) granting unemployment compensation benefits to Diane M. Aron and approximately 164 other claimants.

On August 31, 1977, a collective bargaining agreement between the School District and the Chichester Education Association (Union), bargaining representative of the claimants, expired by its own terms. A summary of the Board's findings of fact which we find to be based on substantial evidence in the record discloses the following factual background for this case.

On August 31, 1977 and again on September 6, 1977,*fn1 the Union, as the representative of the

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 76]

    claimants, offered to continue working under the terms and provisions of the expired agreement. On September 7, 1977, the claimants voted to consider themselves locked out by virtue of the School District's failure to respond to its offers to extend the terms of the expired agreement. A negotiation session was held on September 13, 1977, at which time the School District offered to extend the prior contract, with the exception of the article concerning teachers' aides. Aides, in the performance of their duties, assisted teachers in recess and lunch duties, library duties, duplication of materials, tests, and bus supervision. The Union rejected the School District's offer of September 13, 1977 because of the materiality of the "aide provision" and communicated that rejection to the School District. The labor dispute was settled on October 6, 1977.

The initial question here is whether the work stoppage which began on September 7, 1977 was the result of a strike or a lockout, as the latter term is used in the Act of December, 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, § 402, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(d). Under this statute, an employee is not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits pursuant to a work stoppage flowing from a labor dispute, unless that stoppage was caused by a lockout.

Our Supreme Court, in the case of Philco Corp. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 430 Pa. 101, 103-04, ...


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