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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. UNIONTOWN AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/04/77)

decided: January 4, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, APPELLANT
v.
UNIONTOWN AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD V. UNIONTOWN AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT. UNIONTOWN AREA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County in case of The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Uniontown Area School District, No. 737 June Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Raymond W. Cromer, Assistant Attorney General, with him James F. Wildeman, Assistant Attorney General, and Forest N. Myers, Assistant Attorney General, for Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

Ronald N. Watzman, for Uniontown Area Education Association.

Herbert Margolis, for Uniontown Area School District.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 62]

The relationship between the Public Employe Relations Act*fn1 (PERA) and the Public School Code of 1949*fn2 (Code) is once again at issue in these consolidated appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County.

The relevant facts are not in dispute. Warren G. Langley and Daniel F. Zack, professional employees of the Uniontown Area School District (District) determined that they no longer wished to be members of the Uniontown Area Education Association (Association), their certified bargaining representative. Accordingly, both men stopped paying their dues. At this time the collective bargaining agreement between the District and the Association contained a "maintenance of membership" clause which specified:

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 63]

The District agrees that all employees who are presently members of the Association or who join the Association during the term of this Agreement must remain members for the duration of this Agreement; provided, however, that any employee may resign from the Association during a period of fifteen (15) days prior to the expiration of this Agreement, all pursuant to Article III, subsection (18) of the Public Employe Relations Act.*fn3 (Footnote added.)

Langley and Zack did not make timely resignations. Representatives of the Association filed grievances against the men for failure to pay their dues.*fn4 The grievances were denied at all stages, and the parties then moved to arbitration under Section 903 of PERA, 43 P.S. § 1101.903.

The arbitrator upheld the Association's position and ordered Zack and Langley to pay their Association dues. In the event they failed to comply within 20 days, the Uniontown Area School Board (Board) was ordered to "terminate [their] employment forthwith."

When the Board learned that both employees had failed to comply with the arbitration award, it charged them with "persistent and wilful violation of the school laws," a valid cause for dismissal of professional employees under Section 1122 of the Code, 24 P.S. § 11-1122. After a hearing, ...


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