Appeals from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in cases of In Re: Claims of Harold P. Watkins, individually and as representative claimant in mass appeal, Nos. B-173518 and B-173519.
Ernest B. Orsatti, Jubelirer, Pass & Intrieri, P.C., for petitioner.
C. Grainger Bowman, with him, Norman I. White, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for respondent employers.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Craig, and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish, and Judges Mencer, Blatt, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Palladino, Judge Rogers did not participate. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Craig. President Judge Crumlish and Judge Palladino join this dissent
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This is an action to determine the eligibility of Harold P. Watkins (Claimant) individually and as the representative claimant in this mass appeal. Specifically, Claimant has petitioned for review of two orders*fn1 of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board), both of which affirmed the referee's denial of unemployment compensation benefits to Claimant based on the disqualifying provisions of Section 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(d).*fn2
The essential facts are not in dispute. Lincoln Coach Lines (Coach) provides intercity passenger bus service between Butler and Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Maryland and Pittsburgh. In addition, it has
[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 252]
many charter bus operations outside of Pennsylvania. Until 1964, it also provided bus service between Greensburg and Pittsburgh.
In 1964, the management of Coach formed a separate corporation, Lincoln Lines, Inc. (Lines), to operate the bus service between Greensburg and Pittsburgh because it was thought that at some point in time the Pittsburgh Port Authority might be interested in acquiring the Allegheny County portion of that service. In fact, such did occur on March 6, 1978.
Although there were two separate corporations, the buses of both companies operated from a single premises and under common management. Employees were used interchangeably by the two corporations. Until 1976, there was a single bargaining agreement for the employees of both companies. In 1976, separate, but identical, contracts were negotiated for the two companies, again to facilitate the transfer of operating rights to the Pittsburgh Port Authority with respect to a portion of Lines' operations. Nevertheless, a common seniority list existed for both companies (hereinafter collectively Employer) and the interchange of employees continued.
On June 5, 1978, the bargaining agreements expired. Bargaining sessions continued through June 9, 1978. On that date, Employer sent a memorandum to Division 1357 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (Union), the bargaining agent for the employees, setting forth conditions under which Employer thought it could continue to operate the bus lines. Most pertinent to the appeal now before us were the conditions that the Union would state in writing that they would not institute a work stoppage without 48 hours advance notice to Employer and that any trip commenced by Union employees would be completed notwithstanding any work stoppage. The memorandum
[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 253]
specified that unless the Union agreed to those terms before noon on June 11 (a Sunday), Employer would discontinue operations.
At about 10:30 a.m. on June 11, a letter from Union's counsel was hand-delivered to the home of Employer's president. Pertinent excerpts from that letter, which did not refer directly to the memorandum from Employer, are:
We are further advising that the employees are willing to continue to work for a reasonable period of time with assurances that each day they commence work they would complete that assigned work or charter. You apparently do not wish to continue that type of ...