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UNION CITY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/01/81)

decided: September 1, 1981.

UNION CITY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT. THOMAS FORTIN ET AL., INTERVENORS



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the cases of In Re: Claim of Thomas Fortin, No. B-183512; Claim of Max Pfaff, No. B-183513; Claim of Sylvia K. Carlberg, No. B-183514; Claim of Rosemary D. Obert, No. B-183515; Claim of Joan H. Phillips, No. B-183516; Claim of Gary W. Senyo, No. B-183517; and Claim of Evelyn D. Hamilton, No. B-183518.

COUNSEL

Richard H. Zamboldi, with him Richard W. Perhacs, Elderkin, Martin, Kelly, Messina & Zamboldi, for petitioner.

George Levin, Shamp, Levin, Arduini, Jenks & Hain, for intervenors.

William Fearen, with him Michael I. Levin, and John DiClemente, Cleckner and Fearen, for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 496]

Union City School District (District) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) granting unemployment benefits to several token claimants. At issue is the Board's conclusion that the claimants were not ineligible under Section 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1

The claimants involved in this appeal are professional employees of the District, and by their claims represent a class of other similarly situated claimants.

In September, 1977, a collective bargaining agreement was entered into between the District and the Union City Education Association (Association) collective bargaining representative of the District's professional employees. That agreement remained in effect until June 30, 1979. Prior to the expiration of the agreement, however, negotiations for a new agreement began. On June 25, 1979, the Association submitted a written offer to the District to continue working on a day-to-day basis under the terms of the extant collective bargaining agreement. On August 13, 1979, the District's Superintendent responded to that request, stating that the District would continue the salaries, fringe benefits, and all other conditions

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 497]

    and terms of employment, as provided in the last "teacher contract," for an indefinite period of time under the condition "that the Union City Education Association agree to give the [School] Board a written notification five days before any work stoppage" by the teachers.*fn2 The Association did not send a reply to the District's letter; however, in a negotiating session the Association advised the District of its intent to work under the existing agreement until September 15, 1979.

The claimants returned to work in August, 1979, and continued to work until the close of the work day on September 14, 1979. On that date, the claimants received their first paychecks from the District. The amount of each check was computed on the basis of the annual salary which each claimant had received during the 1978-79 school year. Despite a provision in the expired agreement for a "longevity raise," an increment bestowed upon the employees at the beginning of the school term for their extra year of service, the paychecks did not reflect an increase in salary. All the other terms of the expired agreement, including benefits and related items, were honored by the District.

On September 17, 1979, claimants commenced a work stoppage which continued until October 25, 1979, at which time claimants returned to work by order of ...


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