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Michigan Tool Co. v ESC 15.04

Section 29(8)

LABOR DISPUTE, Burden of proof, Eligibility, Lockout, Slowdown

CITE AS: Michigan Tool Co v ESC, 346 Mich 673 (1956).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Joseph Chile, et al

Employer: Michigan Tool Co.

Docket No: B53 2302 15424

SUPREME COURT HOLDING: As a general rule, a claimant has the burden of establishing eligibility; one exception is that an employer has the burden of proving that unemployment is caused by a labor dispute.

FACTS: The 129 claimants were locked out for approximately two weeks. The employer had accused them of organizing a slowdown and thus causing a sharp decline in production. The employer contended that the closing of the plant was forced by the drop in the workers' output.

DECISION: The claimants are entitled to receive benefits because the stoppage of work did not result from a labor dispute.

RATIONALE: "Under the proofs which were submitted to it, the appeal board properly found that employer had failed to establish a slowdown, and we cannot say that this finding was contrary to the great weight of the evidence. Employer's notice to its employees that its plant was being closed gave as the only reason for this action, with the resulting stoppage of work, that plant production was not maintained at its proper level and that claimants had failed to give a fair day's work."

"Employer asserts that the burden of establishing eligibility for benefits under the act is upon claimants. This broad principle is a correct general statement of the law. Cassar v Employer Security Commission, 343 Mich 380. It is, however, subject to certain exceptions. The facts which would prove a slowdown were peculiarly within the knowledge and control of employer, and under such circumstances the burden was upon it to produce competent and convincing evidence that there had in fact been a slowdown."



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