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LEGMAN v. SCRANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT (03/20/70)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 20, 1970.

LEGMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
SCRANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT

Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Jan. T., 1968, No. 2, in case of Emil M. Legman v. School District of City of Scranton et al.

COUNSEL

Robert T. Gownley, for appellant.

James A. Kelly, Solicitor, with him Kelly & Walker, for school district, appellee.

M. H. Goldstein, with him Carl Carey and Brigid E. Carey, for federation, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Roberts

[ 438 Pa. Page 158]

Climaxing a long simmering labor dispute, a majority of the teachers in the Scranton School District staged a four day strike in December of 1967. After intensive negotiations, the teachers returned to their posts and the School Board approved a 1968 budget which provided raises for all teachers in the district, including those who had participated in the strike.

Shortly thereafter, appellant filed this suit, challenging the power of the School Board to increase the salaries of those teachers who had participated in the strike. He based his suit on the Public Employees Anti-Strike Act of 1947, Act of June 30, 1947, P. L. 1183, 43 P.S. §§ 215.1-215.5, which provides, inter alia, that striking public employees may be rehired, but that for a period of three years thereafter they may not receive compensation higher than that which they received at the time they left, and that they must be put on probation for five years.*fn1

[ 438 Pa. Page 159]

The School Board and two other intervening defendants filed preliminary objections based on arguments which are now irrelevant. The objections were dismissed and the dismissal affirmed by this Court. Legman v. Scranton School District, 432 Pa. 342, 247 A.2d 566 (1968). Appellant then applied for and received court permission to file an amended complaint. Appellees again filed preliminary objections, this time arguing only that a new amendatory law, the Act of December 20, 1968, P. L. [ILLEGIBLE WORD], 5 Pa. Leg. Serv. 1069 (1968), amending 24 P.S. § 11-1152,*fn2 gave the School

[ 438 Pa. Page 160]

District the authority to pay the increased salaries despite the provisions of the Anti-Strike Act of 1947. The trial court agreed, sustained the preliminary objections and dismissed the complaint. We affirm.

The amendment simply states that "any contracts, rights, tenure rights, or other privileges or terms of employment heretofore in effect in any school district . . . are hereby ratified, confirmed and made valid, notwithstanding the terms or provisions of any other act or that the same may have been done without previous authority of law."

We hold that the amendment effectively ratified the actions of the Scranton School Board, regardless of their legality at the time they were undertaken. The language will bear no other interpretation.

Decree affirmed. Each party to pay own costs.

Disposition

Decree affirmed.


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