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NORWIN SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/31/84)

decided: January 31, 1984.

NORWIN SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the cases of In Re: Claims of Joseph Belan et al., No. B-209912; Cathy Kunst, No. B-209913; Susan D. Berton, No. B-209914; Linda Nemeth, No. B-209915; Kathleen Zimmerman, No. B-209916; and Ellen Y. Lohr, No. B-209917.

COUNSEL

Michael I. Levin, with him William Fearen, Cleckner and Fearen, for petitioner.

Ronald N. Watzman, for respondents, Joseph Belan et al.

Michael D. Alsher, Associate Counsel, with him Charles Hasson, Associate Counsel, and Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent, Unemployment Compensation Board of Review.

Judges Williams, Jr., Craig and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 69]

Norwin School District appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review granting benefits to full-time and substitute teachers represented by the Norwin Education Association (union). The board concluded that the claimants' unemployment was the result of a lockout by the school district, within the meaning of ยง 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law,*fn1 rather than a strike by the teachers.

We have carefully reviewed the record and conclude that there is substantial evidence*fn2 to support the board's findings, as summarized below.

The union and the school district entered into a collective bargaining agreement, effective September 1, 1978 through August 31, 1981, under which the school board agreed to provide certain Blue Cross and Blue Shield coverage to all eligible employees. The agreement further provided:

It is agreed that if another carrier can provide and guarantee equivalent benefits as stipulated in the present policies in effect on the signing

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 70]

    date of this agreement, the board may change carriers.

In April, 1981, the school board resolved to replace the existing Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage with the self-insured Alpha Health Care Plan which became effective July 1, 1981. The union filed a grievance with regard to the substitution of health plans, alleging that Alpha was not the equivalent of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. On August 24, 1981, an arbitrator sustained the grievance and ordered the school board to reinstate immediately ...


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