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MATTER ARBITRATION BETWEEN JAMES SHOEMAKER AND CITY SCRANTON. CITY SCRANTON (05/04/81)

decided: May 4, 1981.

IN THE MATTER OF THE ARBITRATION BETWEEN JAMES SHOEMAKER AND THE CITY OF SCRANTON. CITY OF SCRANTON, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in the case of City of Scranton v. James Shoemaker, Nos. 12 and 14, 1980, in Equity, Case No. 14-30-1235-79H.

COUNSEL

Peter P. Tayoun, with him John J. Brazil, City Solicitor, and James A. Doherty, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, for appellant.

Sheldon Rosenberg, with him Nancy Abrams, Rosenberg & Ufberg, for appellee.

Judges Mencer, MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Macphail

[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 142]

The City of Scranton (Scranton) appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County dated April 25, 1980 that denied Scranton's appeal and application for review of an arbitration award and confirmed the award in favor of James Shoemaker (Shoemaker), the appellee. The

[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 143]

    award held that Shoemaker, a police officer, had been improperly removed from his post on the "K" Squad and ordered his restoration to the "K" Squad.

Shoemaker had been a uniformed police officer in the Scranton Police Department until 1972, when he became a member of the newly formed "K" Squad, a special undercover unit that dealt primarily with the fields of vice and narcotics. He served in the "K" Squad for 7 1/2 years, during which time his conduct and disciplinary record was never called into question. In June 1979, Shoemaker was notified he was being reassigned to uniform duty.

On August 8, 1979, Shoemaker filed a complaint in equity with the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County seeking reinstatement to the "K" Squad. Prior to the hearing he withdrew the action pursuant to an agreement with Scranton to submit the dispute to the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The arbitrator found that Scranton had violated its collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) dated December 20, 1971.*fn1 The arbitrator ordered Shoemaker's restoration to the "K" Squad.

On January 30, 1980, Shoemaker petitioned the lower court to confirm the arbitration award pursuant to Section 9 of the Act of April 25, 1927, P.L. 381, as amended, 5 P.S. ยง 169 (Arbitration Act). Scranton filed an appeal and application for review with the lower court on January 31, 1980. The cases were consolidated and argued in April 1980. On April 25, 1980, the lower court en banc denied Scranton's appeal and application for review and sustained Shoemaker's

[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 144]

    motion to confirm the award. Scranton appealed to this Court.

Our scope of review in arbitration cases is narrow. The award of an arbitrator will be sustained "so long as it draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement." United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel and Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593, 597 (1960). An award draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement if the interpretation can in any rational way be derived from the agreement, viewed in the light of its language, its context, and any other indicia of the parties' intention. Leechburg Area School District v. Dale, Pa. , 424 A.2d 1309 (1981); Community College of Beaver County v. Society of Faculty, 473 Pa. 576, 375 A.2d 1267 (1977) and Brownsville Area School District v. Brownsville Education Association, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 241, 363 A.2d 860 (1976).

I

Scranton first argues that the award was not drawn from the "essence of the collective bargaining agreement." We disagree.

In examining the collective bargaining agreement (Agreement) between Scranton and the FOP, the arbitrator and the lower court focused on the Seniority Agreement. It reads in pertinent part as follows:

1. The seniority principle shall be applied in the Scranton City Police Department on a departmentwide basis and shall include every position in the Scranton City Police ...


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