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PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. ALTOONA AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT AND ALTOONA AREA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL ASSOCIATION (07/14/78)

decided: July 14, 1978.

PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, APPELLANT,
v.
ALTOONA AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT AND ALTOONA AREA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL ASSOCIATION, PSEA/NEA, APPELLEES



No. 143 March Term, 1976, Appeal from Decision and Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania dated February 24, 1976 at Nos. 136 & 161 C.D. 1975, affirming with modification final Order of Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Pennsylvania at No. 35 March Term 1974, which reversed the Final Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board dated February 28, 1974, Case No. PERA-U-2509-C

COUNSEL

Forest N. Myers, Asst. Atty. Gen., Raymond W. Cromer, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Thomas H. Lane, John D. Thrush, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Daniel R. Delaney, Pittsburgh, for Altoona Area School Service Personnel Association, PSEA/NEA.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Nix, J., concurred in the result.

Author: Manderino

[ 480 Pa. Page 151]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On October 1, 1971, appellant Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) certified the Altoona Area School Service

[ 480 Pa. Page 152]

Personnel Association (Association) as the exclusive representative of a unit comprised of appellee Altoona Area School District's secretarial, supportive, maintenance and cafeteria employes, excluding among others "all confidential employes." Approximately one year later, the Association requested the Board to clarify its description of the unit with regard to (1) four secretaries, the secretary to the high school principal and the secretaries to three junior high school principals; (2) the School District's payroll clerk; and (3) other employes whose status is no longer in question.

Following a hearing before a Board examiner, the Board determined that the four secretaries and the payroll clerk were not "confidential employes" as defined in section 301(13) of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA), 43 P.S. § 1101.301(13) (Supp. 1978-79). The Board therefore directed that the five employes be included in the bargaining unit.

The Court of Common Pleas of Blair County reversed the Board, ordering that secretaries to principals and the payroll clerk be excluded from the bargaining unit because these employes were confidential employes as defined by the PERA. The Commonwealth Court affirmed the Court of Common Pleas, agreeing with that court that the Board erred in adopting the National Labor Relations Board's definition of confidential employe when the PERA contained its own definition of this class of employe. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Altoona Area School District, 23 Pa. Commw. 445, 352 A.2d 560 (1976). We granted the Board's request for allocatur.

The Public Employe Relations Act, which grants public employes the right to organize and bargain with their public employer, defines "public employe" so as not to include "confidential employes." See 43 P.S. § 1101.301(2) (Supp.1978-79). The Act goes on to define confidential employe.

"'Confidential employe' shall mean any employe who works: (i) in the personnel offices of a public employer and has access to information subject to use by the public employer in collective bargaining; or (ii) in a close ...


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