Goldmann, Kolovsky and Carton. The opinion of the court was delivered by Carton, J.A.D.
Claimants appeal from a decision of the Board of Review holding them disqualified for unemployment benefits because of a labor dispute due to a work stoppage at the Armstrong Cork Company plant at Millville.
Pertinent portions of the "labor dispute" disqualification provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Act (N.J.S.A. 43:21-5) provide:
"An individual shall be disqualified for benefits:
(d) If 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. No disqualification under this subsection shall apply if it is shown that:
(1) He is not participating in or financing or directly interested in the labor dispute which caused the stoppage of work; and
(2) He does not belong to a grade or class of workers of which, immediately before the commencement of the stoppage, there were members employed at the premises at which the stoppage occurs, any of whom are participating in or financing or directly interested in the dispute * * *."
The Board of Review, as had the Appeals Tribunal, held that although claimants had satisfied the conditions of subparagraph (1), they had not done so as to subparagraph (2). The Board found that claimants neither participated in the
labor dispute which caused the work stoppage, nor financed it, nor were directly interested in it. Nevertheless, it concluded that since claimants were employees of a plant "with a continuous and coordinate manufacturing process" in which "each function is dependent upon the completion of the preceding one," they belonged to the same grade or class as the striking employees and were therefore likewise barred from receiving unemployment compensation.
The issue posed is whether that determination justifies the invocation of the statutory disqualification.
There is no dispute as to the facts. Armstrong's Millville plant is what is commonly referred to as a "flow glass container plant," where food and beverage glass containers are manufactured. The plant operates on a 3-shift, 24-hour, 7-day basis. The manufacturing process is a "continuous" one, with each function being dependent upon the completion of the preceding one. When one part of the manufacturing process is stopped the entire operation must necessarily be suspended.
On February 1, 1968 there were employed at the plant about 1235 employees working on an hourly basis. Of these some 95 were mold makers and machinists, members of Locals 7 and 97, American Flint Glass Workers Union (AFGWU). The 80 claimants were members of these locals. Some 900 employees were production and maintenance workers, members of Local 257 of the Glass Bottle Blowers Association (GBBA), ...