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AMALGAMATED ASSOCIATION STREET v. PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY (05/26/58)

May 26, 1958

AMALGAMATED ASSOCIATION OF STREET, ELECTRIC RAILWAY AND MOTOR COACH EMPLOYES OF AMERICA
v.
PITTSBURGH RAILWAYS COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 56, March T., 1958, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1957, No. 127, in case of Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employes of America, Division 85 v. Pittsburgh Railways Company. Order affirmed; reargument refused July 1, 1958.

COUNSEL

Kenneth G. Jackson, with him Joseph E. Madva, and Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, for appellant.

Frank R. Bolte and I. J. Gromfine, with them O. David Zimring, Bernard Cushman and H. J. Lehmann, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

Author: Arnold

[ 393 Pa. Page 220]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

Defendant, Pittsburgh Railways Company, appeals from the order of the court below requiring it to submit to arbitration a dispute arising out of an agreement between it and plaintiff, Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employes of America, division 85, a union representing certain employes of defendant.

Plaintiff has been the bargaining agent for these employes for a period of years, during which it entered into collective bargaining agreements with defendant and its predecessors. On October 5, 1954, the parties entered into an agreement designated "Retirement and Disability Allowance Plan." As its name implies, the plan was set up to provide for retirements and pensions for employes, and was made effective October 1, 1954, for a three-year period. It also provided for automatic renewal for successive three-year periods "... unless changed or amended as herein provided." In the event that either party should desire to negotiate changes, the agreement provided that notice be given to the other party at least sixty days before the end of the contract period; and "if the parties cannot reach

[ 393 Pa. Page 221]

    an agreement on proposed changes ... the matter or matters in issue shall be submitted to a Board of Arbitrators." (Italics supplied). This board was to be composed of three persons one chosen by the Company, one by the Union, and a third by the persons appointed by the parties.

Plaintiff, in February, 1957, and defendant, in March, 1957, requested changes in the Plan; and negotiations, to no avail, were had in March and April. Pursuant to the agreement, and on April 23, 1957, plaintiff demanded arbitration, which was refused by the Company. Thereupon the Union filed its petition in the court below asking enforcement of the provision to submit to arbitration, either under the Act of 1927, P.L. 381, 5 PS ยง 161, et seq. or under the common law. The court thereafter entered an order requiring arbitration, and defendant appeals, contending that the court was powerless so to act.

Our arbitration act provides, inter alis: (1) "A provision in any written contract, except a contract for personal services, to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract, or out of the refusal to perform ... any part thereof, ... shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract"; (2) "The party aggrieved ... may petition the court of common pleas of the county ... for an order to show cause why such arbitration should not proceed ... The court, upon being satisfied that the making of the agreement for arbitration or the failure to comply therewith is not at issue, ... shall make an order directing the parties to proceed to arbitration ..."

There is no question that the agreement to submit to arbitration was made, nor is there any doubt that the Company failed ...


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