Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County in the case of Williamsport Area Community College Education Association v. Williamsport Area Community College, No. 74 3568, 1974.
Charles J. McKelvey, McNerney, Page, Vanderlin & Hall, for appellant.
William A. Hebe, Spencer, Gleason & Hebe, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers, Blatt, Craig, MacPhail and Williams, Jr. Judges Mencer and Palladino did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 257]
An action for specific performance of an agreement to arbitrate a dispute arising out of a collective bargaining agreement entered into under the Pennsylvania Employe Relations Act (PERA) triggered this appeal.*fn1 We, in Williamsport Area Community College Education Association v. Williamsport Area Community College, 43 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 270, 402 A.2d 1102 (1979), held that the grievance was arbitrable and remanded the matter to the trial court for the purpose of determining whether a provision in the agreement which prohibited the arbitrator from deciding legal issues was violative of PERA. The lower
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 258]
court concluded that the provision violated the Act. We affirm.
Williamsport Area Community College Education Association (Association) and Williamsport Area Community College (College) entered into a collective bargaining agreement which provided in pertinent part:
F. The award of the arbitrator shall be final, binding and conclusive upon all parties to the proceedings and on all employees; provided, however, that the arbitrator's jurisdiction shall be limited solely to the application and interpretation of this Agreement. He shall have no power to add to, modify, or amend in any respect to any provisions of this Agreement; Provided, further, that the arbitrator shall have no power to determine any question of law but that only a court of competent jurisdiction shall resolve any legal issue or question which arises in the course of the arbitration proceeding or on which the grievance is based. (Emphasis added.)
The College argues that the provision of the agreement reserving determination of legal questions to the Courts is in keeping with Section 17 of the Arbitration Act of 1927,*fn2 5 Pa. C.S.A. § 177:
The arbitrators, or the parties to the arbitration with the approval of the arbitrators, shall have the right to apply to the court, at any time during the arbitration proceedings, for the determination of any legal question in accordance with the terms of the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act. ...