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PORT AUTHORITY ALLEGHENY COUNTY v. AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION (07/10/81)

decided: July 10, 1981.

PORT AUTHORITY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, APPELLANT
v.
AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION, DIVISION 85, AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION, BY JAMES MCCARTHY, TRUSTEE AD LITEM, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 85, an unincorporated association, by James McCarthy, trustee ad litem v. Port Authority of Allegheny County, a municipal corporation, No. GD-79-11283.

COUNSEL

Jacques M. Wood, with him John F. Dugan, John P. Edgar, and Sidney Zonn, Berkman, Ruslander, Pohl, Lieber & Engel, for appellant.

Samuel J. Pasquarelli, Jubelirer, Pass & Intrieri, P.C., for appellee.

Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 469]

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) appeals as of right from a preliminary injunction of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County*fn1 that restrained PAT from implementing changes in the job classifications and the operation of its upholstery shop (Shop) pending a final arbitration decision.

This case is another in the continuing saga of conflicts between PAT and Division 85, Amalgamated Transit Union (Division 85). This appeal had its genesis in a labor dispute that arose when PAT unilaterally attempted to improve the operational efficiency of its Shop. PAT's plan included the elimination of the job classification of "Seat and Sign Repairmen," held at that time by seven employees, and the creation, in its place, of seven more specialized job classifications. Division 85 filed a grievance and requested arbitration to determine whether the elimination or modification of the job classification would violate the parties' Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Although PAT agreed to submit the issue to arbitration, PAT advised Division 85 that its plan to

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 470]

    restructure the Shop would be implemented immediately. On May 1, 1979, Division 85 filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County seeking a "status quo" injunction against PAT pending resolution of the dispute through arbitration.

An evidentiary hearing was held on May 2, 1979. A preliminary injunction was issued on May 3, 1979, restraining PAT from implementing the proposed changes. The order further directed that the arbitration decision be rendered within thirty days*fn2 and that the order become effective upon payment of bond by Division 85. On the same day PAT appealed the order to this Court.

Subsequent to the appeal, the following events occurred. The matter was heard by the arbitrators on May 15, 1979. At the request of both parties, the thirty day time limitation was suspended in order to afford the arbitrators additional time to examine the complex issues and render their decision. An interim decision denying Division 85's grievance was issued by the arbitrators on August 11, 1979. A full opinion and award were issued on November 4, 1979, which held that PAT had not violated the CBA by unilaterally deciding to restructure the job classifications in the Shop.

In this appeal PAT asserts that the trial court abused its discretion when it issued a "status quo" injunction against one party to a CBA pending arbitration of the underlying labor dispute between the parties to that CBA. Division 85, however, asserts that we should dismiss this appeal because subsequent events have rendered the appeal moot. PAT counters that we should decide the merits of the appeal, even though ...


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