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JOHN PRONKO v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/31/79)

decided: July 31, 1979.

JOHN PRONKO, JR., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, MILTON J. SHAPP ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in case of John Pronko, Jr. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Milton J. Shapp, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, James B. Wilson, William Sherlock, John M. Finn, Thomas J. Harrington, Angelo D. Sellano, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME), and Gerald W. McEntee.

COUNSEL

Robert Ufberg, with him Sheldon Rosenberg, and Rosenberg & Ufberg, for petitioner.

Robert F. Beck, Assistant Attorney General, and Jonathan Walters, with them Richard Kirschner, and Markowitz & Kirschner, for respondents.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 542]

John Pronko, Jr. held the position of "Surveyor Technician III" in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and as such belonged to a supervisory unit of employees as defined by Section 301(6)(19) of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA).*fn1 The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is the exclusive labor representative for this group of first level supervisors, an

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 543]

    arrangement as to which the Commonwealth, the Department and AFSCME entered into an agreement, i.e., a Memorandum of Understanding.*fn2

The Department furloughed Pronko, among others, on March 31, 1976. He attempted to "bump" into civil service classifications he had held earlier, but the Department rejected his request on the basis that the applicable seniority was limited by the terms of the agreement.*fn3 He then filed a grievance under the agreement,

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 544]

    questioning the furlough. The Commonwealth denied the grievance and also refused AFSCME's subsequent request to submit it to arbitration, on the ground that the agreement did not provide for arbiration of the matter.

There is now no dispute that arbitration was not an available sequel in the grievance procedure as to a furlough question. The brief for Pronko agrees with the Department and AFSCME that Article XXXVIII of the agreement makes a furlough issue non-arbitrable.

Pronko then filed this complaint in equity within our original jurisdiction alleging that his furlough violated the terms of the agreement,*fn4 that the denial of his full seniority rights constituted a tortious interference with his employment relationship, that the furlough violated the Civil Service Act, and that the agreement itself was ...


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