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Ford Motor Co. v. New Jersey Department of Labor and Industry

Decided: March 6, 1950.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, BOARD OF REVIEW; JOHN KIERNAN; GEORGE BOHACS; INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED AUTOMOBILE, AIRCRAFT AND AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA (UAW-CIO); LOCAL 906, UAW-CIO; LOCAL 980, UAW-CIO; GENERAL CABLE CORP., AND INTERNATIONAL SMELT REFINING CO., RESPONDENTS



McGeehan, Colie and Eastwood. The opinion of the court was delivered by McGeehan, S.j.a.d.

Mcgeehan

Ford Motor Company appeals from a decision of the Board of Review of the Division of Employment Security, New Jersey Department of Labor and Industry, which held claimants John Kiernan and George Bohacs not disqualified under R.S. 43:21-5(d) to receive unemployment compensation benefits during the period from May 11, 1949, to and including June 7, 1949.

Ford Motor Company is a Delaware corporation, with its principal office and plants located in Dearborn, Michigan, and is engaged in the manufacture of motor cars and trucks. Ford operates an assembly plant at Dearborn and also operates

assembly plants in various states, including two in New Jersey -- one at Edgewater and the other at Metuchen. Forty per cent of the parts used in the various assembly plants are manufactured at Ford's plants in Michigan; the remainder of the parts are purchased from other companies. All the parts are shipped from Michigan to the various assembly plants.

The executive offices in Michigan exercise direction and control of the New Jersey plants. All the assembly plants are closely integrated with the Michigan plants and form one production system centered in Michigan.

Early in May, 1949, workers at the central Ford plant in Michigan went on strike in protest against an alleged speed-up of production. The strike was called by two local unions and subsequently sanctioned by the International Union, United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (hereinafter referred to as UAW-CIO). As a result of this strike, the New Jersey plants were forced to shut down for lack of necessary automobile parts and the workers engaged therein became unemployed.

John Kiernan is an employee of Ford at its assembly plant at Edgewater, New Jersey, and George Bohacs is an employee of Ford at its assembly plant at Metuchen, New Jersey. Both applied for unemployment compensation. All the employees of the Edgewater plant are members of Local 980 of UAW-CIO and all employees of the Metuchen plant are members of Local 906 of UAW-CIO. These locals are separate and distinct from the two striking locals in Michigan, although all are members of the International Union, UAW-CIO. Each local has the sole right to call a strike of its members, and then only after a secret ballot of the membership. There was no labor dispute at either of the New Jersey plants; no strike vote was taken and no strike was called by either local; there was no picketing, no sympathy strike and no walkout. The claimants and other workers continued on the job until they were informed that there was no more work available to them because of lack of materials. In both plants the employer started to lay off workers on May 11, 1949, and they

were not recalled until June 8, 1949, when the employer started to operate the two assembly plants in New Jersey on a nearly normal basis. These are test cases which involve the rights of some four thousand workers at the two New Jersey plants.

Ford argues that the claimants were disqualified to receive unemployment compensation benefits under R.S. 43:21-5(d), which provides:

"An individual shall be disqualified for benefits:

"(d) For any week with respect to which it is found that his unemployment is due to a stoppage of work which exists because of a labor dispute at the factory, establishment, or other premises at which he is or was last employed; provided , that this subsection shall not apply if it is shown that:

"(1) He is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the labor dispute which ...


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