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Union Starch & Refining Co. v. Dept. of Labor

FEBRUARY 19, 1970.

UNION STARCH & REFINING COMPANY, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS — (LOUIS E. ALDRIDGE ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. FOSS MEYER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

PER CURIAM:

In cause No. 67-128, a group of 30 employees of Union Starch & Refining Company, Inc. appeal from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Madison County reversing the decision of the Director of the Department of Labor. In cause No. 67-129, a group of approximately 400 employees of Union Starch & Refining Company, Inc. appeal from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Madison County affirming the decision of the Director of the Department of Labor. The employees involved in 67-128 will hereafter be referred to as "security employees", those in 67-129 will be called "production employees", Union Starch & Refining Company, Inc. will be called "Union Starch" and the Director of the Department of Labor will be referred to as the "Director". Although separate appeals were taken we have consolidated the cases for opinion.

As the result of a labor dispute between Union Starch and Local 7-663 of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, hereafter called the "Union", there was a strike in Union Starch's Granite City plant which commenced on July 4, 1965, and lasted through January 29, 1966.

The production and security employees filed claims for unemployment compensation. Testimony adduced at hearings before the representative of the Director shows that prior to July 4, 1965, Union Starch, at its Granite City plant, employed 430 hourly employees, all of whom are members of the Union, and 181 salaried employees. On that date the Union called a strike and established a picket line.

During the strike no one was hired to replace the hourly production workers. 135 salaried employees were taken from their regular positions and put into operations normally performed by hourly workers. Production is "budgeted" on the basis of anticipated sales and during the strike the production of corn syrup was 82% to 85% of the budget for the period, and starch was produced at approximately 78% of budget. The production crews worked two twelve hour shifts, six days per week. Substantially normal production, quantitatively, was achieved by July 24, 1965. Research, planning and building were virtually suspended, and maintenance suffered. Upon termination of the strike the hourly employees were invited to return to work and the salaried employees returned to their pre-strike assignments.

Article XVI, Section 21 of the agreement between Union Starch and the Union provides:

"If, at any time, the Union is going to use its strike privileges under the terms of this Agreement, the Union and the Company shall discuss the work assignments of clock carriers and power house employees in order to continue the protection of the plant and plant property."

The Union sought to discuss the work stoppage of these employees (the 30 individuals referred to as "security employees") and Union Starch stated they were not needed. Throughout the strike Union Starch utilized the services of temporary personnel supplied by The Pinkerton Agency on a contract basis.

The Director found that the production employees were unemployed from July 4, 1965 to January 29, 1966, as the result of a stoppage of work caused by a labor dispute, they voluntarily withdrew their services during the period and were directly interested in the labor dispute, and held them ineligible for unemployment benefits during this period.

With respect to the security employees, the Director found that there was a stoppage of work due to a labor dispute that commenced on July 4, 1965, that their unemployment subsequent to July 24, 1965, did not result from a labor dispute "since their jobs had ceased to exist through a readjustment of operations and the permanent replacement of most of the strikers", and held them eligible for benefits after July 24, 1965.

Administrative review was sought, the circuit court reversed the Director's decision with respect to the security employees (cause No. 67-128), affirmed his decision finding the production employees ineligible for benefits (67-129), and these appeals followed.

• 1 Because of the circumstances under which the actions for Administrative Review were instituted all parties have briefed and argued both sides of the propositions that under the Administrative Review Act the findings and conclusions of the Director on questions of fact are prima facie true and correct (Ch. 110, sec. 274, Ill. Rev. Stat.; Rotella v. Civil Service Commission of the City of Chicago, 75 Ill. App.2d 81), and the circuit court can set aside the findings if they are against the manifest weight of, or without substantial foundation in, the evidence. From our examination of the record we find the facts are not in dispute and the rules above reviewed are not applicable. Puttkammer v. Industrial Com., 371 Ill. 497; Fransen Const. Co. v. Industrial Com., 384 Ill. 616.

The statute pertinent to this controversy is section 604 of the Unemployment Compensation Act (Ch. 48, sec. 434, Ill. Rev. ...


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