19. Federal Court Decisions & TRA

UAW v Brock – 19.01

UAW v Brock
Digest no. 19.01

Section 231(2) of the Trade Act of 1974

Cite as: UAW v Brock, 816 F2d 761 (DC Cir 1987).

Appeal pending: No
Plaintiff: International Union U.A.W., et al.
Defendant: William Brock, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
Docket no.: N/A
Date of decision: April 24, 1987

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U.S. COURT OF APPEALS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT HOLDING: For purposes of the TRA program, the term “employment” ordinarily includes weeks of paid vacation and sick leave.

FACTS: To qualify for TRA benefits a worker has to have “at least 26 weeks of employment at wages of $30 or more a week in adversely affected employment”. The Department of Labor interpreted qualifying employment as weeks of actual physical labor, not including weeks when the worker received sick pay, workers compensation, holiday pay, back pay, etc.

DECISION: TRA claimants who were denied benefits because they were not credited for weeks prior to October, 1981 in which they received vacation pay, holiday pay, sick leave, workers compensation or other enumerated types of compensation during the 52 week period preceding their separation from adversely affected employment, may request reopening of their TRA claims. On November 17, 1987 the U.S.D.O.L. issued revised definitions for the terms “employment” and “wages” as used in Section 231(2) of the Trade Act of 1974, in conformity with the court order.

RATIONALE: “The actual language of the statute, the clear remedial purpose of the 1974 Congress, and the demonstrably unreasonable results that flow from the Secretary’s definition of ’employment’ make clear that his interpretation of Section 231 of the Trade Act conflicts with congressional intent. Because the Secretary’s interpretation can find no support in the statute or its legislative history, and because it is so thinly justified as to be unreasonable, we reject it as an invalid construction of the Trade Act.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 12/91