Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Case No. PERA-C-3539-C.
Robert Chanin, with him Robert W. Barton, and Killian & Gephart, for appellants.
Forest N. Myers, Assistant Attorney General, with him James F. Wildeman, Assistant Attorney General, Raymond W. Cromer, Assistant Attorney General, and James L. Crawford, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Crumlish, Jr., did not participate. Opinion by Judge Kramer.
[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 338]
This is an appeal by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties/Pennsylvania Association of Higher Education (APSCUF/PAHE) from a final order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB)*fn1 dated July 11, 1975, which affirmed a nisi order of dismissal in which the PLRB concluded that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was not guilty of an unfair labor practice. The sole issue involves the legal question of whether a public employer is required to "meet and discuss" in good faith under the provisions of Section 702 of the Public Employe Relations Act, Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, (Act No. 195), 43 P.S. § 1101.702 (PERA). We will affirm the dismissal of the charges by the PLRB.
APSCUF does not challenge any of the findings of fact of the PLRB, which disclose the following pertinent information. APSCUF is an "employe organization" or union under the provisions of PERA and recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative for all faculty members employed by the Commonwealth in its institutions
[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 339]
of higher learning, including Indiana University of Pennsylvania. APSCUF and the Commonwealth entered into a collective bargaining agreement on September 5, 1972, to be effective November 2, 1971, through August 31, 1974. The agreement contained the following provision:
"The President or his designee shall meet monthly with a committee appointed by APSCUF/PAHE for the purpose of discussing matters of educational policy and development as well as matters related to the implementation of this Agreement."
At Indiana University both APSCUF and the University selected teams to represent their respective positions for "meet and discuss" purposes. During 1973, the University experienced a budgetary crisis in that its anticipated income was more than a million dollars less than its anticipated expenses and, therefore, at a February 23, 1973, meet and discuss session, it was disclosed by the University's team that a University Committee was studying reallocation of the faculty after which it would make a report and recommendations on certain subjects including one pertinent to this decision, i.e., sabbatical replacements. Under the previous University policy when a teacher left his or her post on a sabbatical leave another individual with similar qualifications was hired or transferred to teach the same courses in the same department.
There followed several meet and discuss sessions of the two groups and, although it is quite clear that APSCUF presented some suggestions on budget cutting and made inquiries about the subject of sabbatical leave, the budget committee of the University (on which the President of APSCUF had placed a nonvoting observer) recommended a freeze on sabbatical replacements. At the April 17, 1973, meet and discuss session, APSCUF ...