Adomaitis v. Director of Division of Employment Sec.

Decision Date07 August 1956
Citation334 Mass. 520,136 N.E.2d 259
PartiesAnthony ADOMAITIS and others v. DIRECTOR OF the DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY and another.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court

Harold B. Roitman, Boston, for petitioners.

James S. Gratton, Worcester, for Barre Wool Combing Co., Limited.

George Fingold, Atty. Gen., Lazarus A. Aaronson and Stephen F. LoPiano, Jr., Asst. Attys. Gen., for Director of Division of Employment Security, submitted a brief.



These appeals present questions under G.L. (Ter.Ed.) c. 151A, the Employment Security Law, St.1941, c. 685, as amended. The petitioners, employees of the respondent Barre Wool Combing Company, Ltd. (Barre), appeal from the decision of a special justice of the Central District Court of Worcester sustaining a decision of the board of review which denied to the petitioners unemployment compensation benefits claimed for the period from April 22, 1954, to April 30, 1954. Barre appeals from the denial of its motion to dismiss the petitioners' appeal because not filed 'within five days after notice of such decision' under G.L. (Ter.Ed.) c. 151A, § 42, as appearing in St.1943, c. 534, § 6, as amended by St.1947, c. 434.

As we find no error in the decision of the District Court judge sustaining the decision of the board it is unnecessary to consider Barre's Appeal.

The statute, § 25(b), as appearing in St.1941, c. 685, § 1, as amended by St.1953, c. 464, denies benefits to an employee for 'Any week with respect to which the director finds that his unemployment is due to a stoppage of work which exists because of a labor dispute at the factory * * *' with certain exemptions provided in subsections (1), (2), and (4), which are not in issue here. Section 42 provides that 'In any proceeding under this section the findings of the board of review as to the facts, if supported by any evidence, shall be conclusive, and the court shall render a decision or decree in accordance with such findings.'

The board of review found that 'The claimants' unemployment * * * was due to a labor dispute work stoppage and * * * they do not meet the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) * * * under which they would be exempt from the disqualification.' The board also found that the union contract for Barre's union shop employees was to expire March 15, 1954, if either side gave sixty days or more termination notice; that Barre gave such notice; that negotiations in respect of Barre's request for a fifteen cents across-the-board wage cut began in December, 1953; that the existing contract was on three occasions extended to the respective dates April 1, April 12, and April 20, 1954; that prior to April 20 the union posted notice that 'all work * * * will stop as of 12:01 a. m. April 21, 1954'; that on April 20, about 8 p. m. the contract was again extended to May 17, 1954; and that on May 17 it was extended again to May 31, 1954, and on May 31, 1954, a strike was called which continued through June 14, 1954, when 'after some modification in the 15cents per hour cut an agreement was signed and the employees returned to work.'

Further findings were that Barre processed wool owned by its customers; that the customers kept closely in touch with Barre during negotiations, feared that in the event of a prolonged strike they would be unable to meet their commitments because their material would be frozen on Barre's premises and therefore, as the deadline for termination of the contract neared, ceased sending wool and removed some of their wool in the plant; that on April 20 the plant contained about fifteen per cent of its normal operating inventory; that after the April twentieth extension the customers sent in more wool as fast as they could, but that between April 19 and 23 there was a drop of about thirty-five per cent from normal production; that since there was not enough wool to keep all employees producing Barre invoked the share-the-work plan with staggered days off so that most employees had some work; that those who had no work or did not earn the equivalent of their benefit rate filed the claims here most of which involve about one week; that 'the 35% cut in man hours worked is a substantial stoppage'; and that, contrary to the findings of the director, Barre had the orders from customers for normal work levels, but not the materials on hand for the reasons stated.

Plainly the unemployment for which claims are made was due to a cause which existed 'because of a labor dispute.' Granting, for the argument, that the area of meaning included in the words 'labor dispute' may vary in different statutes, depending on their purposes, Simon v. Schwachman, 301 Mass. 573, 579, 18 N.E.2d 1; Unemployment Compensation Commission of Territory of Alaska v. Aragan, 329 U.S. 143, 150-151, 67 S.Ct. 245, 91 L.Ed. 136 and that the purpose of the employment security statute is such that a narrower interpretation of the words may be indicated than for other statutes (49 Yale L.J. 461, 475) a dispute over wages which either or both parties deem so fundamental that they will invoke economic sanctions if their views do not prevail, vouched as such by a strike in fact called and had, is a labor dispute, as the board has said 'under any definition' of the words. See Local Union No. 11 v. Gordon, 396 Ill. 293, 71 N.E.2d 637; Amory Worsted Mills, Inc., v. Riley, 96 N.H. 162, 71 A.2d 788; Mortensen v. Board of Review, 37 N.J.Super. 236, 117 A.2d 137. Ablondi v. Board of Review, 8 N.J.Super. 71, 73 A.2d 262; Adkins v. Indiana Employment Security Division, 117 Ind.App. 132, 70 N.E.2d 31; Sandoval v. Industrial Commission, 110 Colo. 108, 130 P.2d 930. The wording of the section corresponding to § 25(b) prior to the amendment of the act by St.1937, c. 421, § 1 (§ 19(a), as inserted by St.1935, c. 479, § 5 '* * * unemployment is directly due to a strike, lockout or other trade dispute still in active progress in the establishment where he was last employed'), may confirm a restricted meaning for 'labor dispute,' but in any event a meaning which would include what was going on here. Compare G.L. (Ter.Ed.) c. 149, § 20C(c), as appearing in St.1950, c. 452, § 2; c. 150A, § 2(7), inserted by St.1938, c. 345, § 2; c. 150B, § 2, inserted by St.1947, c. 596. The finding that 'If there had been no dispute over the wage cut there would have been no withdrawal of the wool from the plant and the deliveries would have continued normally and normal production would have been maintained' is fully supported by the evidence.


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  • Worcester Telegram Pub. Co. v. Director of Division of Employment Sec.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • May 19, 1964
    ...benefits while they were on strike prior to the termination of the 'stoppage of work.' See Adomaitis v. Director of the Div. of Employment Security, 334 Mass. 520, 522-525, 136 N.E.2d 259. Instead the claimants suggest that they did not terminate their employment by striking and that (see M......
  • Boguszewski v. Commissioner of Dept. of Employment and Training
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • June 5, 1991
    ...otherwise be done it has stopped that much of the work and is therefore a 'stoppage of work.' " Adomaitis v. Director of the Div. of Employment Sec., 334 Mass. 520, 524, 136 N.E.2d 259 (1956). The approach in most States with similar labor dispute disqualifications is in accord with the Ado......
  • Westinghouse Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. Director of Division of Employment Sec.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • May 8, 1979
    ...of factual situations which might arise in future cases, we decline to do so now. Neither Adomaitis v. Director of the Div. of Employment Security, 334 Mass. 520, 523, 136 N.E.2d 259 (1956), in which we held that a thirty-five per cent drop in production resulting from a "general reduction ......
  • General Elec. Co. v. Director of Division of Employment Sec.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1965
    ...the basic facts. Two Massachusetts cases 2 have dealt with § 25(b) in respects here relevant. In Adomaitis v. Director of Div. of Employment Security, 334 Mass. 520, 136 N.E.2d 259, this court dealt with 'a general reduction of work in the plant, and * * * [did] not reach the question * * *......
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