Appeal, No. 134, Jan. T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1958, No. 72, in case of The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, AFL-CIO et al. v. Philadelphia Daily News, Inc. Judgment affirmed.
J. Dress Pannell, with him Lawrence D. Biele, for appellant.
M. H. Goldstein, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN
This is an appeal from a judgment on the pleadings in favor of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, AFL-CIO (Guild), the representative of certain employees of appellant, by David F. Schick, trustee ad litem. The appellee Guild brought this action in assumpsit seeking to enforce against the appellant Philadelphia Daily News, Inc. (News) an award of an arbitrator under a collective bargaining agreement in effect between the parties for the period from August 1, 1955 to April 30, 1958, and to recover from the News the amount averred to be due and owing under such award. The agreement between appellee Guild and appellant News provided in section VI, entitled "Grievance Procedure", that contract or affecting the from the application of this contract or affecting the relations of the Guild or any employee with the Publisher ... (except the terms of a renewal of, or a modification of, or of a substitute for this contract) not settled to the satisfaction of both" parties within a certain time period, "may be submitted by either party for final and binding arbitration" to one of four listed possible arbitrators who "shall render a decision in writing which shall be final and binding" upon the parties. A special provision dealing with employee wages, Article XVII, provided for an automatic increase in the salaries or minimum weekly salaries for the employees of the News in any of the designated job classifications or in any of the rates within such classifications during the years 1956 and 1957, in the event the Guild and the Philadelphia Inquirer should agree on a subsequent collective bargaining agreement between
themselves for an increase in the salaries of the employees of the Inquirer in the same job classification.
On October 2, 1956, a collective bargaining agreement was entered into by the Guild and the Philadelphia Inquirer providing, effective on June 1, 1957, for certain increases of $2.50 in the minimum rates of salaries of its employees in designated job classifications and for the making of a contribution to a pension fund for Inquirer employees, based upon the time worked by each employee, of the sum of forty cents for each day, not exceeding five days a week, in which each employee covered by the agreement works or a proportionate part thereof. Pursuant to Article XVII of its agreement, the News, beginning June 1, 1957, paid to its employees in the corresponding job classifications an increase in their minimum salaries equal to the increase granted by the Inquirer ($2.50). In addition, however, the Guild took the position that the contribution to the pension fund agreed to between the Inquirer and the Guild was the equivalent of an additional increase in salaries for all the classifications of employees represented by the Guild and accordingly made demand upon the News that it grant to all classifications of its employees covered by their agreement additional salary increases equal to the pension fund contribution agreed to by the Inquirer. The News refused such a demand. After the expiration of the requisite negotiating period, the Guild demanded arbitration pursuant to Article VI of their agreement.
The parties selected by lot from among the four names listed in the agreement an arbitrator to determine the Guild's claim. A hearing was held on the claim at which both the Guild and the News were represented by counsel, presented documentary and oral proofs and filed briefs with the arbitrator. At the
outset of the hearing, the appellant notified the arbitrator that it was appearing specially and without waiver or prejudice to any of its rights and that any participation at the hearing would be with full reservation of the right to interpose objections and take exceptions to any action. The News then took the position that the Inquirer's agreement to make the pension fund contribution as set forth in the Guild-Inquirer contract did not constitute an increase in salaries as the parties used that term in Article XVII of their contract. In justification of this position the News argued that it had not agreed to a pension fund for News employees and that the Inquirer's agreement to pay into the pension fund an amount of money based on the hours worked by each employee could not be equated with a salary increase. The arbitrator's award rejected this contention. The arbitrator held, consistent with a great deal of precedent in this area, that an employer's agreement to compensate employees for labor in the form of payments to a pension fund constitutes an agreement to increase their salaries or wages, even though immediate enjoyment of the monies is deferred. He ruled that the Inquirer's agreement to make pension fund contributions obligated the News, pursuant ...