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Burrell v Ford Motor Company 15.03

Section 29(8)

LABOR DISPUTE, Direct interest, Financing, Participation

CITE AS: Burrell v Ford Motor Co., 386 Mich 486 (1971).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Bartholomew Burrell, et al

Employer: Ford Motor Company

Docket No: B65 3701 34711

SUPREME COURT HOLDING: Where contract issues have been resolved by a claimant's local and by the national union, but new contracts have not been executed, and the claimant's unemployment is caused by strikes at integrated facilities, the strike fund portion of the claimant's regular union dues is not regarded as financing the labor dispute, but the claimant is deemed to have a direct interest in the labor dispute.

FACTS: Following the reopening of contract negotiations, the claimants were laid off from their jobs at nine Ford plants in Michigan because of strikes at other integrated facilities in six states. All relevant issues had been resolved at the national level and at each of the claimants' locals. New contracts were not signed until the labor disputes ended at the other plants. The regular union dues included an amount allocated by the union to its strike fund.

DECISION: The claimants are disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE: "As to plaintiffs, all issues, local or national, had been agreed to. Any local demands won at the struck plants would not be implemented at the claimants' plants. We find no basis for disqualification on the ground of participation."

As to financing, the Court adopted the finding of the Appeal Board: "The facts in the instant matter clearly show that the Union did not increase the amount of its dues nor re-designate any portion thereof after the inception of the labor dispute on June 1, 1964."

"The Collective Bargaining Agreements, both national and local, pertaining to claimants had 'expired', they had been 'opened by mutual consent', and their terms could have been 'modified, supplemented or replaced' (even though they were not) until such time as the newly negotiated agreements became fully effective by formal execution."



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