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ROBERT W. COSTIGAN v. PHILADELPHIA FINANCE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES LOCAL 696 (06/07/75)

decided: June 7, 1975.

ROBERT W. COSTIGAN, REGISTER OF WILLS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY AND CLERK OF THE ORPHANS' COURT DIVISION OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, APPELLANT,
v.
PHILADELPHIA FINANCE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES LOCAL 696, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO BY CHARLES SANTORE AND JOHN COSTA, TRUSTEES AD LITEM



COUNSEL

Nathan L. Posner, Herbert S. Levin, Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, Philadelphia, Howard R. Flaxman, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Leonard M. Sagot, Philadelphia, Randall J. Sommovilla, Thomas W. Jennings, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Edward H. Feege, Allentown, Charles N. Sweet, Morrisville, Stephen J. Cabot, Philadelphia, amicus curiae Counsel for the Pennsylvania State Association of County Commissioners; Curtin & Heefner, Morrisville, Hayes & Feege, P. C., Allentown, Pechner, Sacks, Dorfman, Rosen & Richardson, Philadelphia, of counsel.

Jones, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Eagen, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Pomeroy, J., joined the opinion of the Court and filed a concurring opinion.

Author: Roberts

[ 462 Pa. Page 428]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant Robert Costigan, Register of Wills of Philadelphia, brought this action in equity to enjoin arbitration under a collective bargaining agreement entered into by his predecessor, William King, and appellee Philadelphia Finance Department Employees Local 696, the collective bargaining agent of the employees of the Register of Wills.*fn1 Appellant contended that the collective bargaining agreement was void because 1) Register King was without power to enter into the agreement or to bind his successor to its terms and 2) the City of Philadelphia was a joint employer of the employees in question but not a party to the agreement.*fn2 The trial court

[ 462 Pa. Page 429]

    rejected both contentions, dismissed the complaint, and directed that the arbitration proceed. This appeal followed.*fn3 We conclude that the City of Philadelphia is a joint employer of the employees of the Register of Wills and therefore reverse.*fn4

Sometime prior to November, 1971, appellee notified Register King that 34 of the 38 employees in the office of the Register of Wills and 19 of the 20 employees in the office of the Clerk of the Orphans' Court had signed authorization cards designating appellee as their exclusive bargaining representative. Appellee therefore demanded that the Register recognize it as the collective bargaining agent for the employees. Several meetings were held relating to the demand and the terms of a possible collective bargaining agreement. While these negotiations

[ 462 Pa. Page 430]

    were in progress, an election for Register of Wills was held at which appellant was the victor.

Register King agreed to recognize appellee as the bargaining representative of the employees in the two offices and, on November 30, 1971, he joined with appellee in a joint petition to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) requesting certification of appellee as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of those employees. Appellant was advised of this development and, on November 29, 1971, filed with the Board a letter objecting to any action on the request for certification until appellant had taken office. The Board has taken no action on the joint petition for certification.*fn5

On December 29, 1971, Register King entered into a written collective bargaining agreement with appellee to take effect at noon on December 31, 1971, and expire at noon on June 30, 1973.*fn6 That ...


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