MISCONDUCT, Loyalty oath, Union organizing
CITE AS: Standard Automotive Parts Co. v MESC, 3 Mich App 561 (1966).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ronnie Romans
Employer: Standard Auto Parts Company
Docket No: B61 8480 28089
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: A claimant who was summarily discharged because he refused to sign a "loyalty oath" until after consulting with the union about his status, is not disqualified for misconduct.
FACTS: Towards the end of his employment, claimant was put in charge of the lathe department. He supervised production and quality control. He handled minor discipline, recommended merit increases. He was paid 20 cents more per hour than his lathe operators. When the AFL-CIO sought to organize at employer's shop, claimant's name appeared on a list of prospective organizers. Employer demanded that claimant sign a document promising to remain neutral and not to engage in any union organizing activities. Claimant asked to make a phone call to ascertain his rights prior to deciding whether or not to sign. He was refused permission to make the call and was told to sign or be dismissed. Claimant refused to sign and was fired.
DECISION: Claimant is not disqualified.
RATIONALE: Claimant was not fired because of the fact that he was a supervisor who was engaged in aiding and abetting union organizing activities or doing anything else inimical to his role. He was fired solely for his refusal to sign an oath of loyalty to employer. Claimant was given a peremptory order to sign a document disavowing any union organizing activity. The employer took the position such activity by claimant would subject the employer to charges of unfair labor practices under the provisions of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended. Employer further took the position that as a supervisor, claimant could be expected to sign the document and his refusal was an act of misconduct. Claimant's status as supervisor is not the issue. The issue is the nature of what claimant was asked to do and the circumstances under which he was asked to do it.