Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of William Allrutz, No. B-177167.
Robert G. Radebach, with him Allen Shaffer, for petitioner.
Charles Hasson, Associate Counsel, with him James K. Bradley, Associate Counsel, and Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
This is an appeal by William Allrutz (Claimant) from the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision to deny unemployment compensation benefits pursuant to Sections 402(b) and 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Law). For the reasons which follow, we vacate and remand.
Claimant was employed by Helm's Express (Helms) to haul steel as an owner-operator.*fn2 During the Fall of 1978, the Fraternal Association of Steel Haulers (FASH) called a nationwide strike.*fn3 Claimant,
who was a member of the Teamsters and not a member of FASH, removed his equipment from service for repairs on September 20, 1978, after the strike had been called. Although the equipment passed Helms' inspection on November 12, 1978, Claimant did not return his equipment to service because of news reports of widespread violence and anonymous threatening telephone calls related to the FASH strike. On December 11, 1978, Helms, pursuant to the terms of the employment agreement with Claimant, terminated the agreement because Claimant had not operated his equipment for thirty days.*fn4
Claimant filed an application for unemployment compensation benefits. The Office of Employment Security (OES) disapproved this application because it determined that Claimant had voluntarily left his employment without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. Claimant appealed and, following a hearing, a referee affirmed, with modification, the determination made by OES.*fn5 The Board affirmed the
decision and order of the referee, and Claimant appealed to this Court.
Because of the reported violence related to the FASH strike, many operators, including Claimant, removed their equipment from service. As a result, numerous claims for unemployment compensation were filed. Eventually, the Board received 138 appeals involving the FASH strike. To administer these appeals, the Board established three claimant classes. The first class was composed of those claimants who were members of FASH. Benefits were denied to this group pursuant to Section 402(d) of the Law. The second class of claimants were part of a three-party situation where an owner leased his equipment to an employer, whose employee operated the equipment. In these cases, the owner took the equipment out of service, and since the employees became involuntarily unemployed, benefits were granted. The third class, of which Claimant is a member, were non-FASH members who took their equipment out of service during the strike. ...