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PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. UNIONTOWN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION (ET AL. (11/12/68)

decided: November 12, 1968.

PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
v.
UNIONTOWN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION (ET AL., APPELLANT)



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, June T., 1967, No. 1152, in case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Uniontown Hospital Association.

COUNSEL

Henry R. Beeson, for appellant.

John G. Wayman, with him Donald B. Heard, and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellee.

James F. Wildeman, Assistant Attorney General, for Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Musmanno did not participate in the decision of this case.

Author: Jones

[ 432 Pa. Page 147]

Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers Local Union No. 491 (Union), claiming to represent the nonprofessional employees of Uniontown Hospital Association (Hospital), a charitable nonprofit hospital, petitioned the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board), for certification as the collective bargaining agent of the nonprofessional Hospital employees.

Shortly thereafter, N. L. Johnson, a Hospital nonprofessional employee, filed a complaint with the Board charging the Hospital with an unfair labor act in discharging him for engaging in union activities.

Both matters were consolidated for hearing and the Board dismissed both proceedings for want of jurisdiction. On appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, that court upheld the Board. The present appeal by the Union followed.

[ 432 Pa. Page 148]

The parties have stipulated: (a) the Hospital is a charitable nonprofit hospital and exempt from taxation; (b) the Hospital's funds are derived from Blue Cross, Medicare, the Commonwealth, United Miners Welfare Fund, the Union's Insurance Fund, private patients, private insurance companies and private contributions; (c) Johnson was a Union member and until his discharge, a nonprofessional Hospital employee; (d) the Hospital is operated by professional and nonprofessional employees whom it pays.

We have before us a very narrow issue: did the Board have jurisdiction, under the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act (Act of June 1, 1937, P. L. 1168, 43 P.S. ยงยง 211.1 et seq.) to entertain a labor dispute between the Union, its members and this charitable nonprofit Hospital?

The identical issue has been twice previously considered by this Court in Western Pennsylvania Hospital v. Lichliter, 340 Pa. 382, 17 A.2d 206 (1941) and Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Mid-Valley Hospital Association, 385 Pa. 344, 124 A.2d 108 (1956). In both decisions, we held that a charitable nonprofit hospital was not an "employer" subject to the Act and that the Act did not confer upon the Board jurisdiction to entertain a labor dispute between a charitable nonprofit hospital and its nonprofessional employees. As Mr. Chief Justice Stern said in Mid-Valley, supra: "The basis for the decision [in Lichliter ] was, in brief, that such hospitals, being nonprofit corporations ...


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