Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County, in case of The Armstrong School District v. The Armstrong Education Association, an Unincorporated Association, Frank Soloski, President of the Armstrong Education Association, as Trustee ad Litem for Said Association and Individually as a Member of Said Association, and all Members of the Armstrong Education Association, No. 226 June Term, 1971.
William K. Eckel, with him Caram J. Abood and Green, Gibson & Abood, for appellants.
Robert E. Pryde, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
This is an appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County enjoining the appellant, the Armstrong Education Association ("Association"), from continuing to engage in a strike against the appellee, the Armstrong School District ("District"). The District has approximately 12,000 students, and it employs approximately 550 teachers, for whom the Association is the certified bargaining agent. Since December, 1970, the District and the Association have been engaged in negotiations in an effort
to arrive at a collective bargaining agreement for the 1971-1972 school year.
In their negotiations, the parties followed the procedures outlined in the Public Employe Relations Act, Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, No. 195, 43 P.S. § 1101.101, et seq. (hereinafter "Act No. 195"), but they reached an impasse. In an effort to resolve this impasse, Association members began a strike against the District on April 27, 1971, and, in response to a complaint in equity filed on behalf of the District, the Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County enjoined the strike on May 11, 1971, and ordered the teachers back to work. The teachers obeyed this Order and returned to work, finishing out the school year of 1970-1971.
Although negotiations continued, no agreement was reached and the teachers went out on strike again on August 30, 1971, just as the 1971-1972 school year was about to begin. Another complaint in equity was filed on behalf of the District, contending that the strike created "a clear and present danger or threat to the health, safety or welfare of the public," thus bringing the matter within the provisions of Section 1003 of Act No. 195, 43 P.S. § 1101.1003, and making it ripe for injunctive relief. Hearings were held by the Court of Common Pleas on September 1 and September 14, 1971, and the testimony at these hearings was substantially as follows:
The District Superintendent testified that the District was required to supply 180 instructional days prior to June 30, 1972 or be in danger of losing state subsidies, and that, with the school year scheduled to end on June 2, 1972, there might not be enough days remaining before June 30 to make up the time lost because of the strike.
The Assistant Superintendent testified that the strike had caused the cancellation ...