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Erickson v Universal Oil Products Corp 15.34

Section 29(8)

LABOR DISPUTE, Unsafe work conditions, Grievance procedure

CITE AS: Erickson v Universal Oil Products Corp, 36 Mich App 466 (1971).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Harold F. Erickson, et al

Employer: Universal Oil Products Corporation

Docket No: B68 4528 (1-65) 37142 thru 37206

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The Employment Security Appeal Board erred in denying benefits without considering claimants' assertion that the changes in the signalling procedures created such an imminent danger to life or limb as to justify their refusal to work.

FACTS: After the employer unilaterally charged the procedures used in signalling the hoist engineer during the raising and lowering of the mancar used to transport the men into and out of the mine, the miners refused to enter the mine. Subsequently, an arbitrator found that the new signalling method was more hazardous than the old method and was, therefore, unsafe within the meaning of the labor agreement in effect.

DECISION: The Court of Appeals remanded the matter to the Appeal Board which again held the claimants disqualified. On appeal of that decision the circuit court reversed stating that the claimants had good cause for leaving their employment. Erickson, et al v Universal Oil Products, No. 78 3657 A, Houghton County Circuit Court (9-21-78).

RATIONALE: "In the ordinary case where the change in working conditions represents a limited hazard, public policy, as expressed in the legislative enactment favors the use of the grievance procedure thereby avoiding a work stoppage. However, in an extraordinary case where there has been a significant increase in the dangers involved in the employment, the Legislature did not expect the men to continue to work at the serious risk of immediate loss of life or limb."



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