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ALLEGHENY COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS v. ALLEGHENY COUNTY (01/11/73)

decided: January 11, 1973.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS, LOCAL 1038, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Allegheny County Firefighters, Local 1038, International Association of Firefighters, an unincorporated association v. County of Allegheny, Nos. 1362 and 1674, October Term, 1971.

COUNSEL

Joseph J. Pass, Jr., with him Jubelirer, McKay, Pass & Intrieri, for appellant.

Thomas H. M. Hough, Special Labor Counsel and Assistant County Solicitor, with him Francis A. Barry, County Solicitor, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.

Author: Bowman

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 83]

Two issues requiring further interpretation of the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. (Act No. 111), 43 P.S. § 217.1 et seq., are raised in this appeal.

Pursuant to this Act, collective bargaining was initiated between the firemen of Allegheny County through their representative and the County; this produced an impasse. As provided by the Act, the parties then entered into a binding arbitration procedure which resulted in a majority of the arbitrators making an award containing, among other subjects, a written grievance and a union security provision. The County refused to implement these two provisions which produced

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 84]

    mandamus and declaratory judgment actions to force the County to comply. The County filed preliminary objections in each case asserting these two provisions of the award to be beyond the authority of an arbitration board and, therefore, not binding upon the County. The lower court agreed and dismissed the complaints. This appeal followed.

This Act extends to policemen and firemen throughout the Commonwealth the right to bargain collectively with their government employer. It implements Article III, Section 31, of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968, which generally prohibits the delegation of legislative power. The 1967 amendment, however, further provides: "Notwithstanding the foregoing limitation or any other provision of the Constitution, the General Assembly may enact laws which provide that the findings of panels or commissions, selected and acting in accordance with law for the adjustment or settlement of grievances or disputes or for collective bargaining between policemen and firemen and their public employers shall be binding upon all parties and shall constitute a mandate to the head of the political subdivision which is the employer, or to the appropriate officer of the Commonwealth if the Commonwealth is the employer, with respect to matters which can be remedied by administrative action, and to the lawmaking body of such political subdivision or of the Commonwealth, with respect to matters which require legislative action, to take the action necessary to carry out such findings." Section 7 of the Act of June 24, 1968, 43 P.S. § 217.7, contains substantially identical language.

Thus, all political subdivisions of the Commonwealth are constitutionally and statutorily mandated to put into effect, to the extent possible under their delegated authority, an award of an arbitration panel. "As long as a political subdivision may legally perform a duty mandated by such award, it must perform such duty."

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 85]

    of the disputed provisions of the award would require the County to perform any duty or take some action which is impliedly or specifically prohibited by the statutory law governing its affairs. We shall consider them ...


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