Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Arthur P. Fledderman v. Stackpole Carbon Corporation, No. A-85862.
John R. Fernan, Cartwright, Fernan & Whitney, for petitioner.
Robert L. Saunders, Mutzabaugh, Mutzabaugh, Saunders & Mattie, for respondent, Stackpole Carbon Corporation.
Judges MacPhail and Doyle, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
Arthur P. Fledderman (Claimant), appeals here an order of the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which reversed a referee's award of total disability benefits for the period August 2, 1982, when Claimant was permitted to bid for a light duty post, until October 21, 1982, when Claimant returned to work at his regular occupation. We will reverse.
Claimant, employed as a carpenter for some 30 years in the employ of Stackpole Carbon Corporation, suffered an injury on June 17, 1981 from which he recovered and returned to full employment in his regular trade and position on October 21, 1982. Although
Claimant was physically able before October 21, 1982 to do lighter work for the employer in a job for which he had an opportunity to bid, Claimant declined to bid for the post because of the harsh effect on his career that would be visited upon him by virtue of a union contract which was binding on him. The referee's observations concerning this are pertinent, as follows:
Considering all of the testimony as to the activities required of the job in question, your Referee is of the opinion that the job offered for bid was light work within the limitations imposed by the claimant's treating and examining physician.
It would appear to your Referee that the claimant had more important reasons for refusing to bid on this job. The claimant was a carpenter and was classified as a skilled laborer. To achieve this classification, it required serving a four-year apprenticeship. The claimant had worked at this job for over 30 years. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the defendant company if the claimant were to bid on the job which was offered, he would have lost all of his seniority and job status as a carpenter. If successful in his bid for the new job, the claimant would be starting out as a new laborer with no seniority whatsoever. In addition, there was no assurance or proof that the claimant would have been successful in his bid and been given the job even if he would have bid on the job.
The referee then made two findings which the Board found to be ...