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AMERICAN FEDERATION STATE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA ET AL. (08/11/80)

decided: August 11, 1980.

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, BY ITS TRUSTEE AD LITEM, GERALD W. MCENTEE, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA ET AL., RESPONDENTS. JOINT BARGAINING COMMITTEE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA EMPLOYMENT SECURITY EMPLOYEES' ASSOCIATION AND THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL SERVICES UNION, AFL-CIO, BY ITS TRUSTEE AD LITEM, ANDREW STERN, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in case of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, by its Trustee ad Litem, Gerald W. McEntee v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al., and No. 1920 C.D. 1979, in case of Joint Bargaining Committee of the Pennsylvania Employment Security Employees' Association and The Pennsylvania Social Services Union, AFL-CIO, by its Trustee ad Litem, Andrew Stern v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al.

COUNSEL

Richard Kirschner, with him Deborah R. Willig, Kirschner, Walters & Willig, for petitioner, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees et al.

Stephen A. Sheller, P.C., by Bruce M. Ludwig, for petitioner, Joint Bargaining Committee of the Pennsylvania Employment Security Employees' Association et al.

John G. Knorr, III, Deputy Attorney General, with him Richard Kirschner, Louis G. F. Retacco, John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Attorney General, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondents.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 417]

By petitions for review, consolidated for consideration here, the collective bargaining representatives*fn1 of three major groups of state employees (unions) have addressed our original jurisdiction with a request that we enjoin the Commonwealth from applying the Act of July 20, 1979, P.L. 156, ยง 1, 65 P.S. 371 (Act 51), so as to limit the reimbursement to be received by those groups of state employees for personal auto mileage, on official business, to 17 cents per mile, contrary to collective bargaining agreements executed a year earlier, in July 1978, which provide for such reimbursement at the rate of 18.5 cents per mile (for the first 1300 miles driven each month).*fn2

Because the pleadings have confirmed the facts to be undisputed, the parties on both sides have filed cross motions for summary judgment, presenting us with questions of statutory interpretation and constitutionality as follows:

1. Is Act 51, read with Section 703 of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA),*fn3 to be interpreted as imposing a per-mile maximum of 17 cents upon the mileage reimbursement payable to state employees under pre-existing collective bargaining agreements?

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 4182]

. If such an interpretation results, is the applicable legislation unconstitutional as impairing the obligation of contract or as violative of due process or equal protection of laws?

Because of the collective bargaining provisions in this situation, we are involved with Section 703 of PERA, which provides:

The parties to the collective bargaining process shall not effect or implement a provision in the collective bargaining agreement if the implementation of that provision would be in violation of, or inconsistent with, or in conflict with any statute or statutes enacted by the General Assembly of the ...


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