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LINDA ZICCARDI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/08/80)

decided: April 8, 1980.

LINDA ZICCARDI, PLAINTIFF
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES, BUREAU OF BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS ET AL., DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Linda Ziccardi, Plaintiff v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of General Services, Bureau of Buildings and Grounds et al., Defendants.

COUNSEL

Marjorie A. Janoski, with her Richard P. Perna, Terry L. Fromson and Louis S. Rulli, for plaintiff.

Jonathan K. Walters, with him, Richard Kirschner, of Kirschner, Walters & Willig, Robert J. Schwartz and John D. Raup, for defendants.

Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case. Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Craig

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 368]

Petitioner Linda Ziccardi initiated this action by filing in this court a complaint with counts in assumpsit, trespass, and equity against her former employer, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of General Services, Bureau of Buildings and Grounds (Commonwealth), and two counts in trespass against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 13, and its subsidiary District Council 88 (union), the exclusive representative and bargaining agent of plaintiff in her former employment. Respondents have entered preliminary objections to the complaint, which objections are now before us.

The basis of petitioner's claim, as stated in her complaint, is that she was in fact discharged November 23, 1972, because of her refusal to make political contributions as requested by her immediate supervisor, not for "unsatisfactory work habits," as alleged. Respondent union, upon petitioner's instigation, initiated grievance proceedings pursuant to the then effective collective bargaining agreement, asserting that her discharge was without just cause and seeking reinstatement and back pay. After achieving no success through four stages of the grievance procedure, respondent union gave notice of intent to arbitrate to the Commonwealth.

An initial arbitration was held solely on the "arbitrability" issue of whether petitioner, at the time of her dismissal, was a permanent employee entitled to the protections of the existing collective bargaining agreement. After a March 20, 1974 decision in favor of petitioner, an arbitration on the merits was scheduled for July 25, 1974. On petitioner's request, that hearing was rescheduled to August 9, 1974, and then, upon further request, was indefinitely postponed due

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 369]

    to an unrelated injury she had sustained, which would have prevented her attendance at the arbitration.

In July, 1975, petitioner informed the union that she was ready to continue with her arbitration for full retroactive pay. In discussing the rescheduling, respondent union inquired whether petitioner would settle for reinstatement and four months' back pay, to which petitioner responded that she would not, because she believed she was entitled to more than four months' back pay.

On October 7, 1975, respondent union, by notice to the Commonwealth, withdrew its request for arbitration of petitioner's grievance. Petitioner alleges that this action was a breach of the union's duty of fair representation because it was taken without authorization from, or notice to, her and because she was unaware of that action, despite intervening communication with the union, until an unspecified number of months after that date.

The respondents' preliminary objections are several: They address the jurisdiction of this court, the statute of limitation as to some of the counts of the complaint, petitioner's standing, and the ...


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