For affirmance in part and reversal in part -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. Opposed -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Weintraub, C.J.
[43 NJ Page 537] The Division of Employment Security demanded that Peter J. Sweeney repay unemployment compensation benefits totaling $450. The demand rested upon the Division's determination that Sweeney was disqualified because his unemployment was attributable to a labor dispute. The agency's Appeal Tribunal and Board of Review agreed. The Appellate Division affirmed. 81 N.J. Super. 90 (1963).
Sweeney petitioned for certification. So also did the Board of Review which complained of the holding of the Appellate Division that a transcript of the testimony before the agency had to be furnished without charge to the claimant. We granted both petitions. 41 N.J. 600 (1964).
The Unemployment Compensation Law provides in N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(d) that an individual shall be disqualified:
"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;"
subject to provisos not here involved.
Sweeney was employed in the production department of the Newark plant of the Breyer Ice Cream Division of the National Dairy Products Corporation (Breyer). He was a member of Teamsters Union Local 680 which, together with Locals 338 and 757, was a party to a collective bargaining agreement with Breyer and other employers in the ice cream business in the Greater New York and Northern New Jersey area.
On March 2, 1962 Breyer posted a notice that all manufacturing operations in the production department of the Newark plant would be discontinued because of economic conditions, and that all employees of the production department would be laid off on March 31. About the middle of that month negotiations began for a new collective bargaining agreement, the existing one being due to expire on April 30. Local 680 objected to the proposed shutdown of the production department, and it is agreed that two of the major issues involved in the negotiations were the proposed shutdown and a demand for a guarantee of employment for all employees. A strike of the entire Newark plant was threatened if Breyer pressed its plan to close the production department. Breyer canceled the March 2 notice mentioned above. On April 23 it
posted a like notice fixing April 30 as the date of layoff. This notice was replaced on April 27 with another fixing May 4 as the final date.
On May 1 Local 757 called a strike against one of the Greater New York employers. The Industry Labor Committee, deeming this to be a "whipsaw" tactic designed to fragmentize the bargaining unit, notified the three locals that the employer members would immediately suspend operations at all plants. Breyer locked out its employees on May 2.
A new contract was reached on July 3. On July 9 all departments of the Newark plant reopened and Sweeney returned to work. The resumption of production became feasible because another company agreed to have ice ...