Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County in case of In the Matter of the Employees of Student Services, Inc., Edinboro State College, Edinboro, Pennsylvania, No. 2138-A-75.
Angelo P. Arduini, of Shamp, Levin, Arduini & Hain, for appellants.
Christopher LePore, with him James L. Crawford, Susan Shinkman, Anthony C. Busillo, Mary T. Gavigan, Assistant Attorneys General, Daniel W. Cooper, of Cooper, LePore & Dreeland, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer, DiSalle, Craig and MacPhail. President Judge Bowman and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and Blatt did not participate. Opinion by Judge Mencer. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge DiSalle. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 221]
Student Services, Inc. (Employer) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County which affirmed a final order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board). We reverse.
Employer, a nonprofit organization, operates a bookstore, bowling alley, vending machines, and other services at Edinboro State College. On December 6, 1974, the Retail Clerks Union, Local 1538, filed a petition for representation with the Board and requested, pursuant to Section 603 of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA),*fn1 a hearing and an election. After several hearings, an election was held on March 4, 1976, at which time the union prevailed, following which the Board entered a nisi order of certification.
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 222]
Employer challenged both the jurisdiction of the Board and procedural deficiencies in the election process. The Board and the lower court rejected these arguments, and this appeal followed.
Employer's first argument is that it is not a public employer within the meaning of PERA and that, therefore, the Board was without jurisdiction. We agree. Section 301(1) of PERA, 43 P.S. § 1101.301(1), defines "public employer", in pertinent part, as "any nonprofit organization or institution and any charitable, religious, scientific, literary, recreational, health, educational or welfare institution receiving grants or appropriations from local, State or Federal governments." In Brownsville General Hospital v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 15 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 428, 325 A.2d 662 (1974), we interpreted this section to mean that a nonprofit organization must receive grants or appropriations from local, state, or federal governments in order to qualify as a public employer. Our rationale then was that if all nonprofit organizations were deemed public employers, such an interpretation would have "the unintended result of encompassing many private employers who have chosen the non-profit form of conducting their business and who receive no governmental support." Id. at 434, 325 A.2d at 665. We see no reason to depart from that rationale.*fn2
It is undisputed that Employer is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Employer is not a part of the organization of Edinboro State College, receives no contributions from the College or the State, and is not
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 223]
administered by the College. The bookstore, bowling alley, and other services provided by the employer, however, are housed in buildings owned by the Commonwealth, for the use of which Employer pays no rent. There is no written contract regarding rent. The issue, then, becomes whether this lack of rent constitutes a "grant ...