Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Montour School District v. Montour Education Association, No. SA 463 of 1977.
Peter J. King, Tucker, Arensberg, Very & Ferguson, for appellant.
Ronald N. Watzman, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Craig and Williams, Jr. Judge MacPhail did not participate. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 464]
Montour School District (appellant) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County affirming an arbitrator's decision which ordered appellant to pay its teachers for days missed as a result of the inclement weather and concomitant gas shortage during the winter of 1977. We affirm.
This problem stems from two strikes which occurred in the fall of 1976 after appellant and the appellee, Montour Education Association (association), the bargaining agent for appellant's teachers, were unable to agree upon a collective bargaining contract for the 1976-77 school year. The first strike began on September 7, 1976 and ended in agreement on September 10, 1976. Appellant subsequently decided that this agreement did not adequately represent its intentions and thereafter refused to comply with the provisions thereof, precipitating another strike which lasted from October 1 until November 12, 1976. This strike ended when the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County concluded that the September 10 agreement was a valid contract which should be honored by the parties and issued an injunction against further work stoppage.
Following the second strike, appellant adopted a revised school calendar, rescheduling all but five of the days lost because of the strike. Since these last five days could not be rescheduled without illegally extending
[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 465]
the calendar beyond June 30,*fn1 the teachers agreed to a proportionate reduction in salary.
When the fuel shortage occurred in January and February of 1977, twelve more days of classes were missed. Again, these days could not legally be rescheduled. Consequently, appellant refused to pay the teachers' salaries for each of the twelve days. A grievance claiming entitlement to salaries for the twelve days was submitted to arbitration and decided in favor of the association. This award was upheld by the lower court; appeal to this court followed.
Appellant argues that this arbitration award cannot be enforced because it would require appellant to violate Section 1006 of the Public Employe Relations Act (Act), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.1006, which reads as follows: "No public employe shall be entitled to pay or compensation from the public employer for the period engaged in any strike." Since the days missed as a result of the gas shortage could have been rescheduled but for the strikes in 1976, appellant claims that the days missed should be considered a "period engaged in any strike." While we might find this argument persuasive in a different factual matrix, we believe that, in this case, both the contractual provisions of the agreement under consideration and the ...