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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. AMERICAN FEDERATION STATE (12/16/75)

decided: December 16, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD AND CITY OF HARRISBURG, PARTY APPELLEE
v.
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. City of Harrisburg, No. 656 March Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Richard Kirschner, with him Neal Goldstein, and Markowitz & Kirschner, for appellant.

James L. Crawford, Assistant Attorney General, with him James F. Wildeman, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee, Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

Francis B. Haas, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellee, City of Harrisburg.

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

Author: Bowman

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 377]

Appellant, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), filed an unfair labor

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 378]

    practice charge with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) against the City of Harrisburg (City). The complaint alleged that the City had violated Sections 803, 1201(a)(1) and 1201(a)(5) of the Public Employe Relations Act, Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, 43 P.S. ยงยง 1101.803, 1101.1201(a)(1), 1101.1201(a)(5), (commonly known as Act No. 195), by unilaterally granting merit wage increases to two members of appellant bargaining unit without negotiating the same with appellant. The pay raises were effective January 29, 1973, during the existence of a collective bargaining agreement between AFSCME and the City which had become effective January 1, 1973. The City concedes that the increases had been granted but denied that such unilateral action constituted an unfair labor practice as defined in the Act.

After hearing, the Board dismissed AFSCME's complaint concluding that the City's action, based upon the Board's findings of fact, did not constitute an unfair labor practice. On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County concluding that the Board's critical findings of fact were supported by substantial and legally credible evidence, affirmed the Board's order. This appeal followed.

In appeals under the Act, we have said that our scope of review of findings of fact made by the Board is limited to whether they are supported by substantial and legally credible evidence. St. Joseph Hospital v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 16 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 533, 330 A.2d 561 (1974); Shive v. Bellefonte Area Board of School Directors, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 543, 317 A.2d 311 (1974). Further, Section 1502 of the Act*fn1 speaks to the role of a reviewing court in examining factual determinations of the Board in concluding that "findings of the board as to the facts, if supported by substantial and legally credible evidence shall in like manner be conclusive."

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 379]

A judicial construction of the substantial evidence requirement merited endorsement by our Supreme Court in a case involving similar provisions of ...


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