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PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. FICON (05/28/69)

decided: May 28, 1969.

PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, APPELLANT,
v.
FICON, INC.



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1966, No. 5240, in case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Ficon, Inc. trading as Ye Olde Ale House.

COUNSEL

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

Leonard M. Sagot, with him Ettinger, Poserina, Silverman, Dubin, Anapol & Sagot, for appellee.

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

Author: Eagen

[ 434 Pa. Page 385]

This is an appeal by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) from an order of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas reversing an order by the Board enjoining Ficon, Inc., trading as Ye Olde Ale House (Ficon), from interfering with its employees' right to self-organization and collective bargaining and their right to union membership, and directing the re-employment of two employees whom Ficon had discharged. The Board's order was based on a finding that Ficon had committed an unfair labor practice in firing two waitresses, allegedly because of their union activities.

The initial proceedings were instituted when Local 568 of the Hotel, Motel and Club Employees (Union) filed an unfair labor practices charge against Ficon charging violation of § 6, subsection 1, clauses (a) and

[ 434 Pa. Page 386]

(c) of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act (Act).*fn1 A hearing was held before a trial examiner of the Board on February 15, 1966. The Board issued its order on May 10, 1966. Upon Ficon's failure to comply with its order, the Board prepared a petition for enforcement of the order. Upon notification of the Board's intention to file the petition for enforcement, Ficon indicated that it would appeal the Board's order to the Court of Common Pleas, and both petitions were filed jointly.

The Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County (Spaeth, J.) reversed the Board's order and dismissed its petition for enforcement. The court held that the evidence was substantially insufficient either to prove that Ficon knew of the waitresses' union activities or to prove that the waitresses were fired because of their union activities; the court noted that the Board gave no reason in its opinion for disregarding the testimony of all of Ficon's witnesses and held that the Board's order was based on suspicion and conjecture rather than substantive proof. The present appeal challenges the correctness of the court's order. We reverse.

The lower court obviously concluded that the Board's findings should not be sustained unless they were supported by substantial and legally credible evidence. Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act, Act of 1937, supra, specifies the scope of review permissible by the Common Pleas Court in cases instituted under the statute. Under § 9(b), when any person

[ 434 Pa. Page 387]

    aggrieved by a final order of the Board petitions the court for review of the Board's action, the court is authorized to determine the substantiality of the evidence to support the Board's order. For § 9(b) provides that "the findings of the Board as to the facts, if supported by substantial and legally credible evidence, shall in like manner be conclusive." However, § 9(a), which controls in instances where the Board petitions the Common Pleas Court for the enforcement of a Board order, provides that "the findings of the Board as to the facts, if supported by evidence, shall be conclusive." A mere reading of §§ 9(a) and 9(b) indicates an obvious difference with respect ...


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