Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County in the case of Hollidaysburg Area School District v. District Council 83, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, No. 602 June Term, 1978.
Alaine S. Williams, with her Jonathan Walters, Kirschner, Walters & Willig, for appellant.
David P. Andrews, with him J. Michael Dorezas, Patterson, Evey, Routch, Black & Behrens, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers, Blatt, Craig, Williams, Jr. and Palladino. President Judge Crumlish and Judges Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Williams, Jr., Craig and MacPhail. Opinion by Judge Craig. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Mencer. President Judge Crumlish and Judge MacPhail join in this dissent.
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 618]
With respect to this appeal from a court order vacating an arbitrator's award, the opinion of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County states the facts as follows:
On December 7, 1977, . . . local union number 2952H of District Council 83 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO, filed a contract grievance against the employer and petitioner, Hollidaysburg Area School District, on behalf of the two senior low in overtime hours employees of the maintenance and custodial workers included in the bargaining unit. This grievance alleged that on December 5 and 6, 1977
'Superintendent of building and grounds, Robert Hampton, was observed plowing snow on school property at 8:00 P.M. -- 9:20 P.M. -- 10:35 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. Mr. Hampton made no attempt to call a bargaining unit employee to perform this bargaining unit work in violation of the above designated article (Article 5, Paragraph G) of the Union Agreement.'
In accordance with the terms of the labor contract, the matter was submitted to arbitration and an arbitration hearing was held before
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 619]
Arbitrator Raymond F. Crawford on July 17, 1978. On August 17, 1978, the Arbitrator issued an Opinion and Award sustaining the grievance, as follows:
'The grievance is sustained. The School District is required to pay two (2) employees in the custodial and maintenance bargaining unit, five and one-half hours each, at time and one-half their regular rate of pay at the time of the incident, and who were qualified to plow snow on December 5, 1977 and whose cumulative overtime were the lowest among the qualified.'
Subsequently, pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 247 and 5 P.S. Sec. 173, the School District petitioned this Court to modify, vacate, or set aside the arbitration award.
Because the common pleas court, for the reasons stated below, proceeded to vacate the arbitrator's decision, AFSCME has brought this appeal. The issue arises from the now-familiar principles governing arbitration awards under collective bargaining agreements, which the court below accurately stated as follows:
It is beyond dispute that in this Commonwealth:
'An arbitrator's award in a labor dispute is legitimate as long as it draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement.' Community College of Beaver County vs. Community College of Beaver County Society ...