Appeal from Award of arbitrator in case of Grievance of Richard Runyan, Case Number 14-30-0022-76-Q.
Louise O. Knight, with her Clement and Knight, for appellant.
William A. Hebe, with him Spencer, Gleason & Hebe, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 489]
The Lewisburg Area Board of School Directors (Board) has appealed an arbitrator's award which reassigned Richard Runyan, a school teacher and member of the Lewisburg Area Education Association (Association), to a pay class designated "Masters" instead of leaving him in a "Bachelors" class into which the Board had placed him. We hold that the award violated the essence of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Board and the Association and accordingly vacate it.
Runyan had taught for eight years with an earned Bachelor's Degree, and had been paid according to the Bachelor's Degree-holders' scale. In November 1974 he received a "Master's Degree Equivalency Certificate" from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and, on the next date for salary changes, received a $300.00 salary increase. He received no written notice of the pay increase nor any statement indicating a change in salary class. However, the $10,000.00 salary he received after the increase corresponded exactly to the yearly salary of members of the "Masters" class under the then-existing agreement.
In October, 1975, shortly after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (Agreement)*fn1 was signed, the Board's Payroll Department officially notified Runyan
[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 490]
as follows: "Please be advised that your salary for 1975-1976 is $11,000.00. This places you on Class I Step 9 M. EQ." Class I was the class for holders of Bachelor's Degrees and at Step 9 it indicated a salary of $10,700.00. The $300.00 increment brought Runyan's pay to $11,000.00 which, again, was the same salary paid to holders of Master's Degrees, at Class II, Step 9.
The 1975 Agreement contained the following "Note" in the section defining the salary classes:
Teachers, who, at the time of execution of this Agreement are being paid on the same basis as those having an earned Master's Degree, shall be deemed to have an earned Master's Degree for purposes of application of this Article XXV.
The arbitrator reasoned that since Runyan was receiving the same yearly salary as a Master's Degree holder at the time the Agreement was executed, he was "being paid on the same basis" as one having an earned Master's Degree and had to be treated as such for salary classification purposes. The Board argues that the correspondence in salary is pure coincidence, flowing from the fact that Runyan's salary was increased by $300.00 to comply with ...