Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in case of In the Matter of the Employes of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Unit Clarification Regarding Automotive Equipment Mechanic II), Case No. PERA -- U -- 2682-C.
Neal Goldstein, with him Richard Kirschner, and Markowitz & Kirschner, for appellants.
James L. Crawford, Assistant Attorney General, with him James F. Wildeman, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Miles J. Gibbons, Jr., with him Thomas H. Lane, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for intervening appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
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This is an appeal by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (the union) from a final order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board which dismissed its exceptions to a nisi order denying the union's petition for a unit clarification to remove the job title of Automotive Equipment Mechanic II from a previously certified state-wide unit of first level supervisors to the rank and file Maintenance and Trade Employees unit. The practical significance of this removal would be to require the public employer, the Commonwealth, to bargain collectively with automotive mechanic II's as members of a rank and file unit,*fn1 whereas previously the public employer was only under an obligation to "meet and discuss" with first level supervisors concerning wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.*fn2 We must determine whether the findings of the Board that an automotive mechanic II functions as a first level supervisor within the meaning of the Public Employe Relations Act is supported by substantial
[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 574]
and legally credible evidence, and whether the conclusions based thereon are reasonable and not arbitrary or capricious.
In addressing this question, we cannot overlook the fact that the instant petition is a companion proceeding to the Commonwealth's petition to remove the job title of Automotive Equipment Foreman, the immediate supervisors of Automotive Mechanic II's, from the previously certified unit of first level supervisors which encompassed both positions. The Board found that the garage foremen were within the statutory definition of management level employees as above the first level of supervision, Section 301(16), 43 P.S. § 1101.301(16) (Supp. 1974-1975), and thus exempted from the requirements of collective bargaining or "meet and discuss." On appeal, this Court affirmed the Board based, in part, upon evidence that these garage foremen responsibly direct the instant automotive mechanic II's who are certified as first level supervisors. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 83, 330 A.2d 300 (1975).
Section 301(19), 43 P.S. § 1101.301(19) (Supp. 1974-1975), defines a "first level supervisor" as "the lowest level at which an employe functions as a supervisor." A "supervisor," in turn, "means any individual having authority in the interests of the employer to hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward or discipline other employees or responsibly to direct them or adjust their grievances; or to a substantial degree effectively recommended such action, if in connection with the foregoing, the exercise of such authority is not merely routine or clerical in nature but calls for the use of independent judgment." Section 301(6), 43 P.S. § 1101.301(6) (Supp. 1974-1975).
The testimony of record in the instant case is extensive and can only be fairly characterized as contradictory regarding the ...