Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. General Braddock Area School District, No. S.A. 568 of 1975.
Emil E. Narick, with him Anderson, Moreland & Bush, for appellant.
Raymond W. Cromer and Ronald N. Watzman, with them Watzman, DeAngelis & Elovitz; James L. Crawford ; and Forest N. Myers, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
This is an appeal from an order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas dismissing an appeal
from a final order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), appellee, which found that appellant had committed unfair labor practices in violation of Section 1201(a)(1), (3), and (5) of the Public Employe Relations Act (Act), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.1201(a)(1), (3), and (5). We affirm.
The facts will require recitation at some length. Appellant was created by the merger of three adjacent school districts in 1971. In April 1973, pursuant to a joint request for certification by appellant and the General Braddock Area Schools Service Personnel Association/PSEA (Association), the PLRB certified the Association as the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit comprised of approximately 20 service personnel in specified occupational classifications. Negotiations between appellant and the Association on their first collective bargaining agreement began in September 1973. Substantial progress toward an agreement was made until late November 1973, after which an election of a new Board of School Directors (Board) was held. This election was followed by the dissolution of a Board of Control which had taken charge of appellant's operations since the district had been declared a financially distressed district shortly after its formation.
When negotiations resumed in January 1974, appellant's negotiating team, which included the new Board members, announced to the Association that negotiations were to start again from the beginning. One of the new Board members asked that each employee in the bargaining unit declare before the officers of the Board whether or not he or she wanted to be represented by the Association, and the same member wanted certain employees in the bargaining unit declared "confidential employees" and thus excluded
from the unit. The Board insisted on these points and, despite the efforts of a mediator, the Association went on strike from March 4, 1974 until April 16, 1974. During that period the Board filed a decertification petition which was withdrawn and followed by a unit clarification petition with the PLRB, which found that all members of the bargaining unit were to be included within it except one who was stipulated to be a "confidential employee." The strike ended with an agreement to submit the entire dispute to binding arbitration, pursuant to Section 804 of the Act, 43 P.S. § 1101.804. All negotiations were to cease until the arbitrator reached his decision.
In June 1974, before the arbitrator had ruled, appellant followed its apparent practice of prior years and notified its approximately 150 federally-funded employees that they would be terminated pending re-application and re-hiring decisions. This group included 8 full-time employees who were among the 19 members of the bargaining unit in question. Appellant declined to negotiate with the bargaining unit concerning the action, claiming that it was done for budgetary reasons within appellant's managerial prerogatives. The Association alleged that ...