LABOR DISPUTE, Actual violence, Refusal to cross picket line, Picket line violence
CITE AS: Holdridge v Tecumseh Products Co, 80 Mich App 310 (1977).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Arthur L. Holdridge, et al
Employer: Tecumseh Products Co.
Docket No: B75 4555 49678
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: "[E]mployees who decline to cross a picket line and attend work during a strike because of reasonable fear of violence are nonetheless entitled to unemployment compensation benefits."
FACTS: The claimants were employed as supervisors. Workers at their plant went on strike and began picketing. The employer told the claimants to report for work.
"The foremen testified before the hearing Referee that they were subjected to threats of violence. One of the foremen testified that when he attempted to drive across the picket line, his vehicle was forced to a stop by one of the strikers who 'crawled out of his truck, ripped his coat off and jerked me out of the car.' The foremen decided to not cross the picket line for fear of physical harm."
DECISION: The claimants are not disqualified under Section
29(8) of the Act.
RATIONALE: "The lower court and administrative bodies rule that since plaintiffs were employed in the 'same establishment,' and could have gone to work, 'but for' the labor dispute, plaintiffs were ineligible for benefits. While we acknowledge the rule that a peaceful strike at a single place of employment bars even non-striking employees from unemployment compensation benefits, Noblit v The Marmon Group, 386 Mich 652; 194 NW2d 324 (1972), we hold it inapplicable to these facts calling for application of the ' Actual violence' exception to the general rule that workers involved in a labor dispute are not entitled to unemployment compensation benefits."
"For claimant to be entitled to unemployment benefits during a strike, the claimant must show the following: '(1) That he was willing to cross a peaceful picket line, (2) that he made a reasonable attempt to cross the picket line in question, or (3) that his sole reason for failing to cross the picket line was a well-founded and reasonable apprehension of violence to his person.'"