Appeal from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the cases of In Re: Claims of Rita O. Remmel, No. B-187903; Betty W. Hamacher, No. B-187913; Richard D. Mahoney, No. B-187914; Joan E. Hebda, No. B-187915; Robert L. Brinker, No. B-187916; Leslie T. Strader, No. B-187917; MacArthur Doty, No. B-187918; Marilyn R. Coleman, No. B-187919; Arthur L. Cologrande, No. B-187920; and Edward J. Warchol, No. B-187921.
Alex E. Echard, for petitioner.
No appearance for respondent.
H. Keith Hauger, with him, Dennis D. Del Cotto, for intervenor, Norwin Medical Center.
Judges Williams, Jr., Barry and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 315]
The Commissioners of the County of Westmoreland (County) petition for review of the orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming the decisions of a referee granting benefits to ten former administrative employees (claimants)*fn1 of the Westmoreland County Employment and Training Administration.*fn2 The referee reversed the determinations of the Office of Employment Security (OES) which had denied benefits under the labor dispute*fn3 and willful misconduct*fn4 provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Law.
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 316]
On January 1, 1980, County employees, who were members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local No. 585, initiated a work stoppage over negotiations for a new labor-management agreement. None of the claimants were union members and from January 1, 1980 through January 7, 1980, they reported to work.
On January 7, 1980, the County reassigned the claimants to fill positions at the County geriatric care facility, Westmoreland Manor (Manor) which were vacant due to the work stoppage. Each rejected the reassignment and was placed on administrative leave without pay. At a meeting on January 9, 1980, each claimant, except claimant Doty, was advised that reassignment had become mandatory and that refusal to accept would result in an indefinite suspension. Each refused and was suspended accordingly.*fn5
[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 317]
At all times relevant to this case, each of the claimants remained available to perform his or her usual job; however, the County would not permit any of the claimants to work after January 7, 1980, except as a replacement at the Manor.
The work stoppage ended on January 13, 1980 and the claimants' suspensions subsequently were ...