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MATTER ARBITRATION BETWEEN BOROUGH AMBRIDGE AND POLICE DEPARTMENT. BOROUGH AMBRIDGE (07/25/80)

decided: July 25, 1980.

IN RE: THE MATTER OF THE ARBITRATION BETWEEN THE BOROUGH OF AMBRIDGE AND THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. THE BOROUGH OF AMBRIDGE, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in case of In Re: In the Matter of the Arbitration Between the Borough of Ambridge and the Police Department, No. 737 of 1979.

COUNSEL

John F. Salopek, for appellant.

Craig E. Wynn, with him Arthur S. Herskovitz, for appellee.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 252]

This is an appeal by the Borough of Ambridge (Borough) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County that affirmed an award made by a Board of Arbitration (Board) to the police of the Borough.

Following unsuccessful collective bargaining negotiations between the Borough and its police, an arbitration hearing was held on March 16, 1979. On March 27, 1979 the Board entered an award pursuant to the provisions of the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237 (Act 111).*fn1 The Borough appealed that part of the award that guaranteed Borough patrolmen a minimum work week of five days a week and forty hours a week. The court below ruled that Act 111 empowered the Board to make an award affecting the work hours of the Borough patrolmen.

That part of the award is challenged in this Court as being beyond the lawful scope of arbitration under Act 111. The Borough contends that the award, in fixing the minimum weekly work hours and work days, interferes with the borough's inherent managerial right to schedule its police as it deems necessary to serve community safety and welfare. We reject that argument.

Section 1 of Act 111 gives policemen the right to bargain collectively with public employers concerning the terms and conditions of employment, including compensation, hours, working conditions and other benefits, as well as the right to settle their grievances

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 253]

    or disputes in accordance with the terms of the Act, which provides for arbitration.*fn2

Arbitrators have jurisdiction, under the Act, to enter an award as to a legitimate term or condition of employment falling within the statutorily permitted scope of collective bargaining. Jeske v. Upper Yoder Township, 44 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 13, 403 A.2d 1010 (1979); Cheltenham Township v. Cheltenham Police Department, 8 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 360, 301 A.2d 430 (1973). Section 1 of the Act expressly includes "hours" as a term or condition of employment. Therefore, the minimum number of weekly work hours, and the minimum distribution of those hours throughout the days of the week, are legitimate subjects of collective bargaining and of an arbitration award.

We recognize that an arbitration award has no validity where it would compel a public employer to perform an illegal act or commit the public employer to a duty exceeding its legal powers. Washington Arbitration Case, 436 Pa. 168, 259 A.2d 437 (1969); City of Reading v. Reading Lodge Fraternal Order of Police No. 9, 15 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 344, 325 A.2d 675 (1974); cf. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. State College Area School ...


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