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Conaway v Federal Aviation Administration 12.66

Section 29(1)(b)

MISCONDUCT DISCHARGE, Labor dispute, Illegal strike, Air traffic controllers

CITE AS: Conaway v Federal Aviation Administration, No. 90-002695 AE, Wayne Circuit Court (October 30, 1990).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Steven Conaway, et al

Employer: Federal Aviation Administration

Docket No: UCF81 89419 RO1 94173

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Participation by public employees in an illegal strike is disqualifying misconduct under Section 29(1)(b).

FACTS: Claimants were air traffic controllers. On August 3, 1981 the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) called a strike. President Reagan announced that controllers who failed to report to work before expiration of a 48-hour grace period on August 5 would be terminated. Claimants did not report and were discharged. At the time of hire, Federal employees, including air traffic controllers, are required to execute an affidavit to the effect they will not participate in a strike against the government. In addition, Title V U.S.C. 7311 contains a prohibition against Federal employee strikes, violation of which is punishable by criminal sanctions. (In related cases the Board of Review held that the labor dispute disqualification ended during the week ending August 8, 1981, the week claimants were discharged. Savage (FAA) 1985 BR 94344 (UCF81-87803 RO1).

DECISION: Claimants are disqualified for misconduct.

RATIONALE: The circuit court quoted from the Board of Review decision: "During the summer of 1981, the air traffic controllers were reminded of the oath they took and the illegality of a strike. Nevertheless, they went on strike on August 3, 1981.... [T]hese claimants made a deliberate choice not to return and only after they failed to return to work were they discharged. Under these circumstances, we find misconduct."


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