Robert B. Smith, Hollidaysburg, George I. Puhak, Hazleton, for appellants.
Paul E. Beaver, City Solicitor, Altoona, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.
[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 609]
Plaintiffs, eighty-nine salaried firemen of the City of Altoona, a third class city, sued to recover various sums alleged to be due each of them for services rendered on 'rest' days during the fifteen-month period beginning January 1, 1943, and ending April 1, 1944.
The Act of March 16, 1937, P.L. 103, § 1, 53 P.S. § 12198-2103, regulating hours of service of such firemen,
[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 610]
provided: 'The employes of such fire forces shall be allowed to have at least twenty-four consecutive hours of rest in every calendar week * * * In cases of riot, serious conflagration, times of war, public celebrations, or other such emergency, the chief engineer of the bureau of fire * * * shall have the power to assign all the members of the fire force to continuous duty, or to continue any member thereof on duty, if necessary. No member of either of said shifts, bodies or platoons shall be required to perform continuous day service or continuous night service for a longer consecutive period than two weeks, * * * excepting in cases of emergency, as above provided.'
It will be noted that the Act as it stood during the period involved in this suit made no provision for compensation to firemen for additional hours of employment in emergencies. It was not until the enactment of the Act of May 18, 1945, P.L. 807, § 2, 53 P.S. § 12198-2103, that such provision was made by adding the following: '* * * Provided, That for the duration of the present war, and six months thereafter, the hours of service may exceed the number hereinbefore provided as the maximum number of hours of service, and in such cases, council shall provide for the payment of extra compensation for any hours of service, at the same rate as paid for regular service in excess of such maximum hours of service. * * *'
Plaintiffs filed a complaint in assumpsit in the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County setting forth the above provisions and averring that on December 26, 1942, the Chief of the Bureau of Fire of the City published an order, effective January 1, 1943, abrogating until further notice the section of the Act allowing the twenty-four hour rest periods; that plaintiffs did work on a considerable number of their 'rest' days; that no sufficient appropriation had been made to compensate them
[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 611]
for this extra work; that they demanded extra compensation; and that their demand was refused on the ground that no ...