Nos. 65 and 66 May Term, 1979, Appeal from the Opinion and Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania entered August 31, 1979 at No. 907 C.D. 1978 reversing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, entered April 5, 1978 dismissing the appeal of Franklin County Prison Board from Final Order of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board entered June 29, 1977 at Case No. PERA-C-8361-C
James L. Crawford, Mary Teresa Gavigan, Donald A. Wallace, Harrisburg, for P.L.R.B.
Jay R. Braderman, Harrisburg, for Franklin County Prison Bd.
Jonathan K. Walters, Richard Kirschner, Philadelphia, for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Emp., Council 89.
Larsen, Justice. Nix, J., filed a concurring opinion. Roberts, J., concurred in the result.
The sole issue in these appeals is the meaning of section 805 of the Public Employe Relations Act, Act 195 of 1970, 43 P.S. §§ 1101.101-1101.2301, § 1101.805 (supp. 1979-80) (Act 195), which provides as follows:
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this act where representatives of units of guards at prisons or mental hospitals or units of employes directly involved with and necessary to the functioning of the courts of this Commonwealth have reached an impasse in collective bargaining and mediation as required in section 801 of this article has not resolved the dispute, the impasse shall be submitted to a panel of arbitrators whose decision shall be final and binding upon both parties with the proviso that the decisions of the arbitrators which would require legislative enactment to be effective shall be considered advisory only. (emphasis added).
Collective bargaining negotiations in 1976 between the representatives of Franklin County Prison guards, District Council 89, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and their public employer, Franklin County Prison Board*fn1 (the Prison Board), reached
an impasse over several bargaining issues. The impasse was submitted to a collective bargaining arbitration (interest arbitration) panel which issued an arbitration award on March 31, 1976. The award resolved disputed issues regarding wages, job titles, vacation and funeral leave, union visitation on premises, health and welfare benefits and life insurance.
The Prison Board refused to implement any of the provisions of the arbitration award. Consequently, AFSCME,*fn2 filed unfair labor practice charges with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB),*fn3 against the Prison Board, asserting violations of section 1201(a)(1) and (8) of Act 195.*fn4 The Prison Board presented a strictly legal defense to the unfair labor practices charged, arguing that under section 1620 of the County Code, 16 P.S. § 1620, as amended (supp. 1979-80), only the Franklin County Salary Board (the Salary Board) had authority to fix salaries and compensation of the prison guards and that "the vote of a county salary board is a legislative action." (Answer to Unfair Labor Practice Complaint, R. 7a). Accordingly, the Prison Board asserted
this "legislative action" rendered the arbitration award advisory only under the proviso of section 805 of Act 195, and thus asserted its ...