No. 81-2-259, Appeal from the Order of Commonwealth Court at No. 1284 C.D. 1978, granting Petitioner's Motion for Summary Judgment.
David H. Allshouse, Deputy Atty. Gen., Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Atty. Gen., LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Atty. Gen., Harrisburg, for appellants.
Jerome H. Gerber, Elliott A. Strokoff, Harrisburg, for appellee.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, and Kauffman, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Nix, J., joins. Wilkinson, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
This is an appeal from an order of the Commonwealth Court*fn1 which confirmed an arbitration award issued in connection with a salary dispute between the Commonwealth and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (hereinafter APSCUF). APSCUF, the certified collective bargaining representative for faculty members of the Pennsylvania State Colleges and Indiana University, and the Commonwealth are parties to a collective bargaining agreement containing a wage reopener clause that permits the negotiation of annual salary increases for faculty members. The agreement provides that, in the event negotiations fail to produce an agreement concerning the annual salary increase, the matter of the increase is to be submitted to binding arbitration. For the academic year commencing September 1, 1977, APSCUF and the Commonwealth were unable, through negotiations, to agree on the amount of the increase payable. Hence, on March 24, 1978, an arbitration panel was convened, and the employees represented by APSCUF were awarded a 4.5% salary increase retroactive to September 1, 1977.
No appeal was taken from the arbitration award, but the Commonwealth has refused to pay increases applicable to the period from September 1, 1977 through June 30, 1978. Asserted as the basis for this refusal is the following provision in the Appropriations Act of 1977 (hereinafter Act 11A):
"The funds appropriated herein for the operation, maintenance, and administration of the State Colleges and University are not sufficient to provide for any negotiated compensation increases after the effective date of this act, therefore no funds appropriated herein shall be used for such negotiated compensation increases.
No funds received from any other source by the State Colleges and University shall be used for negotiated compensation increases . . ." (Emphasis added.)
Act of August 20, 1977, No. 11A, P.L. 420.*fn2 By disallowing the application of funds to the payment of negotiated salary increases, the legislature has, in the Commonwealth's view, also proscribed the use of funds for the payment of increases imposed by binding arbitration. Such a position is unconvincing however for it ignores the plain language of the statute. In effect, if arbitrated pay raises were regarded as being within the purview of the statutory proscription, then the provision in question would constitute a ban on all compensation increases. If the legislature had intended so comprehensive an interdiction, it would not have employed the limiting term, "negotiated", to define the compensation increases to which the statutory restriction applied.
Negotiation and arbitration are two entirely distinct and dissimilar processes for the resolution of disputes, and to no extent is the concept of arbitration encompassed by the term "negotiation" so as to bring arbitrated salary raises within the ambit of the funding restrictions imposed by Act 11A. Furthermore, we reject the Commonwealth's assertions that arbitration constitutes merely the final step in the negotiation process and that, when a collective bargaining agreement provides for resort to an ...