Appeal from an arbitrator's award in case of In Re: Appeal of the School District of the City of Allentown.
William G. Malkames, with him Hayes & Feege, P.C., for appellant.
Joseph L. Rosenfeld, Rosenfeld Law Offices, P.C., for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer. President Judge Bowman dissents.
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 225]
This case involves an appeal from a single arbitrator's award in favor of the Allentown Education Association (Association) entered against the School District of the City of Allentown (District). At the center of this controversy is the arbitrator's interpretation of note 13 contained in the collective bargaining agreement between the Association and the District. That provision reads in full:
"Note 13. The sum of $10,000 shall be assigned to the Extra Pay for Extra Duty Schedule for the 1973-74 school term. Allocation of these monies shall be made after consultation between the Superintendent of Schools, or his designees, and representatives of the Association and representatives of the employees receiving remuneration under said categories.
In September, 1974, the sum of $10,000 shall be assigned to the Extra Pay for Extra Duty
[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 226]
Schedule. Allocation of these monies shall be made after consultation between the Superintendent of Schools, or his designees, and representatives of the Association and representatives of the employees receiving remuneration under said categories."
To summarize the positions of the parties briefly, the District contends that the proper interpretation of this provision is that $10,000 is to be made available in each of the school terms 1973-74 and 1974-75 for extra pay for extra duty; the Association contends that this language means that a total of $20,000 over and above the amount available prior to the 1973-74 term is to be supplied for extra pay for extra duty in 1974-75. In short, the question facing the arbitrator was whether the $10,000 provided in September 1974 should be interpreted as a continuation of or an addition to the amount provided for 1973-74.
The exclusive jurisdiction of this Court to review awards under the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA)*fn1 following arbitration arising from disputes or grievances over the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements in force is based on Pa. R.J.A. No. 2101. Community College of Beaver County v. Community College of Beaver County, Society of the Faculty (PSEA/NEA), 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 231, 331 A.2d 921 (1975).
The District contends first that the arbitrator erred in concluding that note 13 requires interpretation at all. However, the arbitrator reasoned that "[e]ach side has contended that the language is clear and supports its position. This is perhaps the best evidence that the language is, in fact, ambiguous." Although we do not adopt this rationale, we do ...