CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Unemployment Compensation Board of Review has set Feb. 13 for a hearing on Constellium's appeal of a ruling that awarded up to $1.5 million in unemployment compensation benefits to workers who went on strike last summer.
The hearing will be at 10 a.m. in WorkForce West Virginia's Charleston office at 1321 Plaza East, next to Appalachian Power Park, said WorkForce spokeswoman Courtney Sisk.
Sisk said the hearing will be open to the public.
Last month Andrea Bond, another spokeswoman for the state, said, "In a labor dispute situation, the board must render a decision within 14 days after the date of the hearing."
In December a three-member state Labor Dispute Tribunal ruled that workers who struck Constellium's aluminum rolling mill in Ravenswood are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.
The tribunal "found the claimants not disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits" pursuant to state law "because there was not a work stoppage at the employer plant facility as a result of the labor dispute," Sisk said last month.
The Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund is financed by a tax on employers. The tribunal's decision, if unchanged, would probably raise Constellium's tax rate in future years.
Last month Sisk said WorkForce was going ahead and paying benefits to Constellium workers who filed a claim based on the tribunal's decision.
Whatever decision the Board of Review reaches could be appealed to Kanawha Circuit Court.
Employees at Constellium struck for seven weeks, from Aug. 5 to Sept. 23.
A total of 609 workers applied for benefits. Sisk has said the amount of an individual's weekly benefit is based on earnings in the employee's base pay period. The maximum weekly benefit is $424.
There is a one-week waiting period so employees could have received six weeks of payments at up to $424 a week for a maximum possible total of $2,544 per individual.
Unemployment compensation benefits last made news in West Virginia in 2003 after negotiations failed on a new labor contract between Kroger and more than 1,700 employees who worked at 37 stores in West Virginia, five in Ohio and two in Kentucky.West Virginia awarded the strikers benefits but Ohio did not. Kroger appealed the West Virginia decision to Kanawha Circuit Court and lost.