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NORTHERN TIOGA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. NORTHERN TIOGA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL ASSOCIATION (10/18/76)

decided: October 18, 1976.

NORTHERN TIOGA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
NORTHERN TIOGA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL ASSOCIATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the award of an arbitrator in case of In the Matter of Arbitration between Northern Tioga School District and Northern Tioga School Service Personnel Association.

COUNSEL

William R. Tait, Jr., with him McNerney, Page, Vanderlin & Hall, for appellant.

William A. Hebe, with him Spencer, Gleason & Hebe; Thomas A. Walrath ; and Walrath & Coolidge, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 577]

This is an appeal from the award of an arbitrator finding that appellant had instituted a lockout and awarded back wages to certain employes. There are two questions posed for resolution. (1) Is our scope of review of an arbitrator's award made pursuant to Section 903 of the Public Employe Relations Act, Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 1101.903, that of the extremely narrow common law rule of determining whether there has been fraud, corruption,

[ 26 Pa. Commw. Page 578]

    or other irregularity on the part of the arbitrator; or is it the somewhat broader "essence test" where our standard of judicial review is whether the award of the arbitrator is rationally derived from the agreement? (2) If our standard of review is the essence test, can the award in this case be justified as being in any way rationally derived from the agreement?

The first question has been repeatedly and recently answered by this Court -- the essence test applies. Brownsville Area School District v. Brownsville Education Association, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 241, 363 A.2d 860 (1976); County of Allegheny v. Allegheny County Prison Employes Independent Union, 20 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 173, 341 A.2d 578 (1975); Teamsters Local Union No. 77 v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 238, 331 A.2d 588 (1975). Our Supreme Court has reserved its decision on this matter. International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers, AFL-CIO Local 1201 v. School District of Philadelphia, 465 Pa. 356, 350 A.2d 804 (1976).

The second question we answer in the negative and, therefore, reverse.

The agreement here involved provided in relevant sections:

"V. Subject to the terms of the Agreement, the Association shall not cause or permit its members to cause or let any member of the Association to take part in any interferences, including work stoppage, with the operation of any school in the Northern Tioga School District. ...


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