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APPEAL CITY BETHLEHEM v. CITY BETHLEHEM (12/17/76)

decided: December 17, 1976.

IN RE: APPEAL OF CITY OF BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA LOCAL 735 OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS (AFL-CIO)
v.
CITY OF BETHLEHEM, APPELLANT



Appeal from the award of arbitrator in case of In the Matter of: Arbitration between City of Bethlehem and Local 735 of the International Association of Firefighters (AFL-CIO).

COUNSEL

Edward H. Feege, with him Hayes and Feege, for appellant.

Stephen C. Richman, with him Markowitz & Kirschner, for appellee.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 593]

City of Bethlehem (Appellant) seeks review of an award of an arbitrator pursuant to Pa. R.J.A. No. 2101. Appellant alleges that it "does not possess the legal authority to include a provision in the collective bargaining agreement requiring that all unresolved disputes under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement be submitted to arbitration" and "[e]ven if the Arbitrator had jurisdiction to render his award, the same did not draw its essence from the basic agreement."

In Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission v. Sanders & Thomas, 461 Pa. 420, 426, 336 A.2d 609, 612-13 (1975), Justice Pomeroy wrote, in discussing a similar situation to Appellant's first contention, "the Commission so agreed [to arbitrate in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement], that it cooperated in the naming of arbitrators and that it participated fully in the arbitration hearings, all without any suggestion that the proceeding was in any way

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 594]

    questionable, it [the Commission] now seeks to vacate the award on the ground that the proceeding was a nullity and the award void. . . . [L]ike the Commonwealth Court, we reject it."*fn1

Justice Pomeroy later wrote in International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers, AFL-CIO Local 1201 v. School District of Philadelphia, Pa. , , 350 A.2d 804, 808 (1976):

Recently we held, construing this section, that the Act of 1927 is applicable to contracts to which the Commonwealth and its agencies, instrumentalities, and political subdivisions are parties and which contain general agreements to arbitrate disputes without reference to any statutory remedy. Since the School District is an agency of the Legislature, the collective bargaining agreement before us appears to qualify under this test.

While these cases are not direct precedent, their logic and course are unmistakable. In addition, far from forbidding arbitration, the General Assembly requires it. For Appellant now to argue that it does not possess the legal authority to arbitrate and ...


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