Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in case of Cary J. Skiles and Charles W. Colson, Individually and on Behalf of All Similarly Situated Employees of the Fire Department of the City of Lancaster v. The City of Lancaster, Julia F. Brazil, Thomas P. McElwee, Benjamin H. High, Jack B. Metzger, Eugene W. Rhinier, Howard M. Sager, Kenneth I. Witmer, Richard M. Scott, Samuel Loss and Earl Schmuckler, No. 69 April Term, 1974.
Richard Kirschner, with him Richard H. Markowitz, Stephen C. Richman, Robert S. Pearlstein, and Markowitz & Kirschner, for appellants.
Stephen J. Weglarz, with him Michael J. Lotito, and Barley, Snyder, Cooper & Mueller, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Crumlish, Jr. did not participate. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Kramer did not participate in this decision in this case.
[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 581]
This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, dated July 11, 1975, which sustained the defendant's preliminary objections to the plaintiff's class action petition for a Writ of Mandamus and dismissed the petition. The City of Lancaster (City) and Local 319, International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO (Union) had entered into collective bargaining negotiations and, pursuant to Section 4 of Act 111,*fn1 had submitted the question of wage parity between
[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 582]
city firemen and city policemen to binding arbitration. The decision of the Board of Arbitrators, dated December 17, 1974, provided a salary schedule for firemen which was fifty dollars less per year than the equivalent classification for policemen with respect to longevity increments.*fn2
The appellants*fn3 here filed an action in mandamus to have the city equalize the salaries of firemen pursuant to City Ordinance 315-1/2, dated November 2, 1943, which provides, inter alia, that
"the compensation and salaries of employees of the Lancaster City Fire Department be equalized with the compensation and salaries of other civil service employees now employed by the City of Lancaster, Pa."*fn4
[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 583]
The court below, in a comprehensive opinion by Judge W. Hensel Brown, ruled that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction and sustained the preliminary objections, finding that the instant action was, in effect, an appeal from the Act 111 arbitration panel's award and that, therefore, the appeal procedure was governed by Pa. R.J.A. No. 2101, which provides as follows:
"(a) Review of an award of arbitrators appointed in conformity with an Act of Assembly to arbitrate a dispute between a public employer and employee shall be sought excusively in the Commonwealth Court. The application for review shall be filed within ...