Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Eastern Lancaster County School District, Trust Book 42, page 286.
James L. Crawford, Assistant Attorney General, with him James F. Wildeman, Assistant Attorney General, and Francis A. Zulli, Assistant Attorney General, for appellant.
Clarence C. Morrison, for intervening appellant.
John Paul Kershner, with him Martha A. Baum and Barley, Snyder, Cooper & Mueller, for appellee.
Jerome T. Foerster, with him William Fearen and Cleckner & Fearen, for amicus curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. President Judge Bowman did not participate. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
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Sometime after May 25, 1972, the Eastern Lancaster County School District sent to each of its department
[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 484]
heads a letter containing notice that continuation as a department head precluded membership in the Eastern Lancaster County Education Association (ELCEA), the exclusive bargaining representative of the professional employees of the School District. Each department head was given a choice of ceasing membership in the ELCEA or resigning as a department head. ELCEA filed a charge of unfair practices with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, which found that the School District had engaged in an unfair practice and further decided that department heads, as first level supervisors, may continue as department heads and may also retain their membership in ELCEA. The School District appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, which set aside the order of the Board and ruled that department heads, in hearing grievances, are engaged in the collective bargaining process, and that their membership in ELCEA is prohibited by Section 1801 of the Public Employe Relations Act, Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, 43 P.S. § 1101.1801. This appeal followed. We must reverse the lower court.
There is no dispute of fact. The School District and ELCEA filed, in lieu of a hearing, a six-point stipulation of facts: department heads are supervisors as defined in Section 301(6) of the Act, 43 P.S. § 1101.301(6); the parties entered into a contract which contains a grievance procedure whereby Level I is discussion of a grievance with the immediate supervisor, i.e., the department head; the School District sent to each department head the aforementioned letter; all department heads chose to continue as department heads; some department heads withdrew from ELCEA as a result of the letter; and failure to belong to ELCEA operates to prevent membership in the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the National Education Association.
[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 485]
The facts and issues here are strikingly similar to those in Ellwood City Area School District v. Secretary of Education, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 477, 308 A.2d 635 (1973), wherein an assistant principal was dismissed by the School District because of his membership in the employe organization. The appellant in Ellwood City and the appellee here argue: "that being a member of an employe association that is bargaining with the employer is inconsistent and incompatible with being a first level supervisor who handles confidential files, and who should be available to the employer to handle grievances and give advice on collective bargaining with the employe ...