Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in case of School District of the Borough of Aliquippa v. Aliquippa Education Association and Dolores B. Vrabel, No. 1030 of 1980.
Daniel R. Delaney, Delaney and Evans, for appellants.
John A. Havey, Havey, Neff and Salopek, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. President Judge Crumlish dissents.
Aliquippa Education Association (association) and Dolores B. Vrabel, a tenured teacher in the Borough of Aliquippa School District (district) and a member of the bargaining unit represented by the association, appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County which reversed an arbitrator's decision favorable to Vrabel.
On September 11, 1979, the association filed a contract grievance against the district on behalf of Vrabel, alleging that the district violated the statutory savings clause of the collective bargaining agreement by failing to grant Vrabel a sabbatical leave for the second semester of the 1979-80 school year and the first semester of the 1980-81 school year. Following an arbitration hearing before Arbitrator Patrick J. Basial, the arbitrator found the grievance to be arbitrable and issued an opinion and award which sustained the grievance.
Upon appeal, the common pleas court rejected the award because it found the dispute not to be substantively arbitrable; the labor contract between the parties was devoid of any specific reference to sabbatical leaves. Hence the common pleas court decided that the arbitrator exceeded his power by interpreting the agreement's definition of grievance*fn1 together with its statutory savings clause*fn2 so as to conclude that the parties intended, by reference, to incorporate into their agreement rights granted as to sabbatical leaves to professional employees under the Public School Code of 1949*fn3 (School Code). We cannot agree with the common pleas court.
Where an arbitrator's interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement can be in any way rationally derived from that agreement, the arbitrator's decision
draws its essence from the agreement and shall not be disturbed by a reviewing court. Teamsters Local Union No. 77 v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 238, 331 A.2d 588 (1975). A reviewing court may disturb the award only where there is a manifest disregard of the agreement, completely unsupported by principles of contract construction. County of Lackawanna v. Service Employees' International Union, 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 531, 387 A.2d 161 (1978).
In the absence of express provision to the contrary, an arbitrator properly exercises his discretion by basing his conclusion on the implications of the agreement. Leechberg Area School District v. Dale, Pa. , 424 A.2d 1309 (1981). American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees v. ...