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SHALER AREA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION v. SHALER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (08/07/81)

decided: August 7, 1981.

SHALER AREA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT
v.
SHALER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Shaler Area School District v. Shaler Area Education Association, No. SA No. 176 of 1980.

COUNSEL

Ronald N. Watzman, Watzman & Elovitz, for appellant.

James D. Zimmer, Zimmer and Dice, for appellee.

William Fearen, with him Michael I. Levin and John DiClemente, Cleckner and Fearen, for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Judges Mencer, MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 212]

The Shaler Area Education Association (Union) has appealed from the partial vacation of an arbitration award by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

The Shaler Area School District (District) and the Union entered into a collective bargaining agreement, effective July 1, 1977 through June 30, 1980. The agreement provided for a three-step grievance procedure, culminating in binding arbitration.

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 213]

At the time the agreement went into effect, the District was operating under an "extended school day" schedule because of overcrowding in the schools. This schedule created a shortened school day with staggered starting times for the teachers and students. Two years later, the overcrowding was eliminated by the completion of a new senior high school building. The District then discontinued the "extended school day" schedule and instituted a standardized 7 1/2-hour work day for senior high, junior high, and elementary school teachers. As a result, all of the teachers were required to work longer each day.

On June 20, 1979, the elementary and junior high school teachers filed a written grievance protesting the alteration of the school day and seeking additional compensation. After the dispute was processed without resolution through the three grievance-procedure steps established in the collective bargaining agreement, the matter was referred to arbitration. The Union then introduced before the arbitrator an additional oral grievance on behalf of the senior high school teachers. The District objected to the lack of timeliness in the filing of the grievance, on the basis that the Union had failed to follow the first three grievance steps. The arbitrator allowed the oral amendment and ultimately awarded relief to all of the grievants, including the senior high school teachers. On appeal, the lower court affirmed the award to the elementary and junior high school teachers but vacated the award to the senior high school teachers. The Union has now appealed the partial vacation of the award to this Court. We reverse the order of the lower court and reinstate the arbitration award.

The District argues that the arbitrator improperly enlarged the scope of his jurisdiction by considering the grievance of the senior high school teachers, where those ...


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