Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Dennis M. Hussar, No. B-182803.
Robert J. Johnson, with him Anthony W. DeBernardo, Jr., Richard H. Galloway & Associates, P.C., for petitioner.
No appearance for respondent.
B. Patrick Costello, Costello & Berk, for intervenor.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
Dennis M. Hussar (claimant) appeals from an Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which reversed a referee's decision granting him benefits.
The claimant was employed for approximately twenty months by Volkswagen of America (employer); he was permanently discharged by the employer on June 19, 1979, due to his activities during an illegal work stoppage which occurred on June 12, 1979 at the employer's Westmoreland Assembly Plant (plant). The work stoppage occurred at approximately noon on June 12, 1979, in the paint department of the plant; at that time the claimant was also a member and officer of Local Union 2055, United Automobile, Aerospace, Agricultural Implement Workers of America (union). Claimant was a district committeeman for the union, and the employees of the paint department represented his constituency. The union contract in effect at the time of the work stoppage contained a "no strike" clause; under the contract it is a committeeman's responsibility to act in prevention of illegal or unauthorized work stoppages.
The issue which precipitated the work stoppage in question was a newly-instituted plant practice known as "tag relief." This issue was covered by the existing union contract, and both sides of this controversy agree that the union members could not lawfully strike
over "tag relief." Nonetheless, some did on June 12, 1979; and several of them, including the claimant, were discharged for doing so.
After being discharged, the claimant applied for unemployment compensation benefits. The Office of Employment Security (Office) determined that claimant was ineligible under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law),*fn1 which section establishes ineligibility for one who is discharged from employment due to willful misconduct. The claimant appealed that determination to a referee, and the referee reversed the Office. The employer appealed the referee's decision to the Board. The Board remanded the case to the referee, acting as hearing officer for the Board, for the taking of additional evidence; and a lengthy hearing, during which thirteen persons testified, was held. Thereafter, the Board reversed the referee and denied benefits to the claimant due to willful misconduct under Section 402(e) of the Law.
The claimant first argues that the Board abused its discretion by remanding the case to the referee after a hearing had already been held at which the employer had a full opportunity to be heard. We must disagree. The claimant's argument is premised on the errant conclusion that an employer must present compelling reasons to the Board to be granted a remand. The law is clear that the Board has discretionary power to remand a case to the referee for the taking of additional evidence if the Board determines that the record before it is inadequate for a proper resolution of the ...