Maryland's second-highest court has ruled that Giant Food Inc. truck drivers and other workers who participated in a one-month strike against the company two years ago can collect unemployment insurance.
The Court of Special Appeals ruled that an employer's operations as a whole must be considered in deciding whether a "stoppage of work" has occurred.
Giant estimated that the strike, which began in December 1996, cost it about $3.9 million to replace goods that it ordinarily manufactured. Sales dropped almost 15 percent during the strike.
But a panel at the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation upheld the workers' application for unemployment insurance because the company kept its stores stocked from outside wholesalers and suppliers.
A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge upheld the decision, as did the Court of Special Appeals.
"We had a different view of the law," said Roger Titus, Giant's attorney.
Matthew Boyle, a lawyer for the state labor department, called Monday's decision a "minor extension" of the law on unemployment compensation.
Pub Date: 1/06/99