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SCHOOL DISTRICT PENN HILLS v. PENN HILLS EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION (03/31/78)

decided: March 31, 1978.

SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PENN HILLS
v.
PENN HILLS EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of School District of Penn Hills v. Penn Hills Educational Association, No. GD 76-25724.

COUNSEL

Ronald N. Watzman, for appellant.

John M. Tighe, with him Hickton, Dean, Litman and Tighe, for appellee.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 508]

The Penn Hills Educational Association (Association) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which enjoined the arbitration of a grievance filed by the Association against the School District of Penn Hills (District).

The grievance was filed on June 8, 1976 and alleged that the District had violated provisions of the collective bargaining agreement (Agreement) then in effect between the Association and the District. The grievance arose from an incident at a public meeting of the District's School Board (Board) during which a Board member commented on the use of tax dollars to pay the Association's president for the conduct of Association business during school hours, apparently referring to a provision of the Agreement which specifically gives the Association's president "released time" for the administration of the contract

[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 509]

    and provides that she be assigned "a 4/7 daily instructional day." Objection was also made to a subsequent newspaper article which reported the incident, and a public retraction and apology were the requested remedies. It was contended that the Board member's action constituted discrimination against a professional employee who was exercising rights guaranteed in the Public Employe Relations Act*fn1 (Act), and that such discrimination was prohibited by Article VIII, Section B of the Agreement. It was also contended that this action involved a discrimination on the basis of membership in the Association which was prohibited by the Agreement's Article VIII, Section C. In addition, the Association claimed that the action violated Article VI of the Agreement which provides that "[n]o Professional Employe shall be disciplined, publicly reprimanded, discharged or reduced in rank or compensation without just cause."

When the grievance could not be resolved through the first three steps of the Grievance Procedure provided in Article V of the Agreement, the Association informed the District Superintendent on July 14, 1976 of its intention to arbitrate the grievance according to the fourth step of the procedure, and a request for arbitration was later submitted by the Association to the American Arbitration Association on October 22, 1976.

Separate charges of unfair practices were also filed by the Association in August, 1976 with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), which alleged that the District had violated Section 1201(a)(5) of the Act, 43 P.S. § 1101.1201(a)(5) by refusing

[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 510]

    to submit its grievance to arbitration, and by the District, which charged the Association with violation of Section 1201(b)(3), 43 P.S. § 1101.1201(b)(3), by attempting to arbitrate a complaint which was not a "grievance" and doing so for the purpose of annoying and disrupting the District rather than for a ...


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