Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, in case of Lebanon Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, No. 42, by Bernard P. Reilly, President and Trustee Ad Litem v. John Worrilow, Russell Darkes, George Heverling, John M. Brightbill, James T. Reilly and City of Lebanon, No. 503, March Term, 1971.
R. Hart Beaver, with him Beaver & Wolf, for appellants.
George E. Christianson, with him Lewis, Brubaker, Whitman & Christianson, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
The Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County directed the City of Lebanon to appoint an arbitration panel representative for the purpose of settling contract disputes between the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) and the City. The F.O.P. had originally proceeded in mandamus under the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. , No. 111, §§ 1-4, 43 P.S. §§ 217.1-217.4 in which it sought to compel the City to appoint an arbitrator pursuant to the provisions of the Act. The legislation gives to policemen and firemen employed by a political subdivision of the Commonwealth the right to bargain collectively. Section 4 of the Act, 43 P.S. § 217.4, provides that in the case of an impasse, either party to the dispute may request the appointment of a board of arbitration.
This dispute arose in August and September of 1968 when in response to a request by the F.O.P., agents of the City of Lebanon met with the representative of the police to discuss terms of a new contract. Negotiations were conducted and tentative agreements were reached subject to approval by the police members and the City Council. The proposals were approved by the members of the F.O.P. including, among other things, an eight-year contractual term. A copy of the minutes of the F.O.P. meeting at which the proposals were approved was delivered to the Mayor of Lebanon.
At that time the Mayor reiterated the specific proposals and told the F.O.P. representative that the entire agreement would be formally prepared in greater detail and refined in a draft. Subsequently, without formally accepting the agreement as approved by the F.O.P. membership, Council enacted an ordinance providing appropriations for the police for the following year, 1969, which differed from the proposals approved by the F.O.P. membership and which did not include several
agreed terms, for example, insurance coverage and pension benefits.
In April of 1971 the F.O.P. notified the City of its desire to enter into contract negotiations. The City maintained that there was in existence a valid binding contract (by virtue of the 1968 ordinance) which had several years to run. It refused to negotiate or to appoint an arbitrator.
Summary judgment in Mandamus was ordered for the plaintiffs and the City was directed to appoint an arbitrator.
Although we are of the opinion that the lower court correctly found that the fault for the dispute lodged in the City, we hold that the order directing the City to appoint an arbitrator should be ...