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WESTERN PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE AND CLINIC UNIVERSITY PITTSBURGH COMMONWEALTH SYSTEM HIGHER EDUCATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/20/74)

decided: December 20, 1974.

WESTERN PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE AND CLINIC OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH OF THE COMMONWEALTH SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, APPELLEE (FIRST CASE)



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in cases of In the Matter of the Employes of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education, No. PERA-R-2281-W, and Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Local 1199P, National Union of Hospital and Nursing Home Employees, Division RWDSU, AFLCIO, No. PERA-C-3286-W.

COUNSEL

James Q. Harty, with him John T. Tierney, III, Robert W. Watson, Jr. and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellant.

James W. Wildeman, with him James L. Crawford, Roger M. Simon, Anthony J. Molloy and Forest N. Myers, for appellees.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Kramer did not participate. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 206]

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education (WPIC) has appealed from two orders of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board): the first, made January 12, 1973, which determined that a bargaining unit of WPIC's employees proposed by Local 1199P, National Union of Hospital and Nursing Home Employees, Division RWDSU, AFLCIO (Union) was appropriate and ordering an election, and the second, made July 24, 1973, which dismissed WPIC's charges of unfair labor practices by the Union and its organizers in the election.

WPIC is a state owned mental hospital,*fn1 managed and operated by the University of Pittsburgh. WPIC has between 400 and 450 employees, of which about 150 are professional and the rest nonprofessional. After an organizing campaign, the Union filed its petition for Board approval of a bargaining unit of "[a]ll full time and regular part-time service and maintenance employees excluding all other employees and employees excluded under the Act." At the hearing upon this petition, the Union refined its application to a request that the bargaining unit consist of the following categories of nonprofessional employees: psychiatric aides, ward clerks, dietary employees, housekeeping workers, maintenance workers, stores clerks, research animal caretakers, research animal technicians, occupational therapy assistants, therapeutic recreation assistants, and therapeutic recreation technicians. Each of these

[ 16 Pa. Commw. Page 207]

    categories of workers was included in the University of Pittsburgh's Employee Pay Plan and Index To Occupational Classes with a distinct class code number and class title and each had its own job description, with two exceptions: the category of ward clerk is not distinguished on the Plan and Index from the position of clerk generally and has no job description as such, and the position of therapeutic recreation technician has no job description. With respect to the exceptions, we note in the testimony that the term "ward clerk" is used in practice at the hospital to describe a person stationed at the nurse's station on the wards who maintains patients' files and records as they are there developed and who performs little, if any, typewriting; and that the therapeutic recreation technician performs substantially the same duties as are described for the position of therapeutic recreation assistant.

About 150 of the total of 250 to 300 nonprofessional employees would be included in the bargaining unit proposed by the Union. Before the Board and in this court, WPIC contends that the unit proposed is unlawful and that the only proper organizations would be either one unit of all its employees, if a majority of the professionals vote to be included in such a unit or, in the alternative, two units, one consisting of all nonprofessionals and the other of all professionals.

Section 604 of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, 43 P.S. ยง 1101.604 (Supp. 1974-1975) reads, pertinently:

" The board shall determine the appropriateness of a unit which shall be the public employer unit or a subdivision thereof. In determining the appropriateness of the unit, the board shall:

"(1) Take into consideration but shall not be limited to the following: (i) public employes must have an identifiable community of interest, and ...


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