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WILLIAM S. GRATTA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/01/89)

decided: March 1, 1989.

WILLIAM S. GRATTA, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT. RICHARD WILSON, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT. BARRY SICHI, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT. VINCENT F. PASCARELLA, JOHN COLEMAN, JR. AND FRANCINE K. MICELI, ET AL., PETITIONERS V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, in the cases of In Re: Claims of William Gratta, No. B-263794, Richard Wilson, No. B-263755, Barry Sichi, No. B-263752, and Vincent F. Pascarella, et al., No. B-263753.

COUNSEL

John Stember, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, with him Mary-Win O'Brien, United Steelworkers of America, for petitioners.

Gary L. Kelley, Assistant Counsel, with him, Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 643]

In these consolidated cases, William Gratta, Richard Wilson, Barry Sichi, and Vincent F. Pascarella, et al., past employees of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation's plant in Monessen, PA are appealing a decision

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 644]

    of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review which had denied their application for Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA).

The facts are not in dispute. Claimants were all longtime hourly production workers at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation's Monessen plant. All of the claimants were laid off on June 28, 1986, when the Monessen plant shut down. They applied for TRA assistance in early 1987.

Under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, 19 U.S.C. § 2291 workers are entitled to receive cash and employment service benefits if they have lost their jobs due to import competition. The Secretary of Labor makes this determination pursuant to § 2291 of the Act, 19 U.S.C. § 2291 (1986), as amended. Once the Secretary has certified that the loss of employment resulted from import competition, he must consider a number of factors in determining the applicability to the particular individual(s) in question. Under § 2291(a)(2)(a)(b)(c), a key requirement is that a claimant must have worked during 26 of the 52 weeks preceding separation. The board affirmed the decision of the referee, who had determined that the petitioners were ineligible for assistance under the Trade Act on the ground that weeks during a lockout period could not be counted as weeks of work.

The issue before this court is whether the board correctly concluded that the claimants, who had actually worked for twelve weeks, could not count an additional 14 weeks in a lockout period toward the required twenty-six weeks, in order to be eligible for assistance under the Trade Act.

Section 2291(a)(2)(a),(b),(c) provides in ...


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