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PORTEC v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/17/87)

decided: March 17, 1987.

PORTEC, INC., RMC DIVISION, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, in case of In Re: Claim of Richard Wolfe, No. B-236811.

COUNSEL

Larry G. Hall, with him, James K. Perkins, Matkov, Griffin, Parsons, Salzman & Madoff, Albeon G. Anderson, Jr., and Robert L. Garber, for petitioner.

Jonathan Zorach, Assistant Counsel, with him, James K. Bradley, Assistant Counsel, Paul E. Baker, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 630]

Portec, Inc., RMC Division (petitioner or employer) appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) awarding benefits to a lead token claimant (claimant) and similarly situated members of the United Steel Workers of America, Local 3515 (union) who are employed by petitioner. The Board affirmed the referee's award of benefits and agreed that claimant and other union members were not precluded by Section 402(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 802(d), from receiving benefits. Section 402(d) of the Act bars a claimant from compensation for any week in which his unemployment was due to a stoppage of work

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 631]

    existing because of a labor dispute, other than a lockout by the employer.

The union and the petitioner were parties to a three-year labor-management agreement (contract) which expired at midnight on October 31, 1983. Prior to the expiration date, a series of twelve negotiating sessions were held without a new agreement being formulated.

At the first negotiating session, held on September 27, 1983, the petitioner asked for concessions in any proposed contract and explained that it was the petitioner's goal to reduce costs by twenty percent in order that it might be more competitive. Subsequently, the union submitted proposals and asked for a wage increase. At no time during the course of these negotiating sessions, held prior to the expiration of the contract, did the union indicate that it would grant any concessions to the employer. At the suggestion of the union, the parties agreed to extend the expiration of the contract by one week until November 6, 1983, while work continued under the same terms and conditions of the contract and negotiations continued. At a negotiating session on November 4, 1983, the union withdrew its demands for a wage increase and other benefits and indicated its willingness to enter into a new agreement under the same terms and conditions as the old contract with respect to those already employed. The union was willing to grant concessions regarding any newly-hired employees but was unwilling to agree to any concessions for existing employees.

On November 5, 1983, the employer presented a final offer which required wage reductions, restrictions in vacation entitlement and bonuses, a change in the hospitalization and medical insurance carrier, the elimination of a thirteen-week special payment to retirees, the deletion of optical insurance and revised grievance

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 632]

    procedures. At a membership meeting on November 6, 1983, the union rejected the ...


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