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ROBERT N. MCGRATH v. MUNICIPALITY PENN HILLS (02/09/82)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: February 9, 1982.

ROBERT N. MCGRATH, APPELLANT
v.
MUNICIPALITY OF PENN HILLS, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Robert N. McGrath v. Municipality of Penn Hills, No. GD 80-22324.

COUNSEL

Patrick C. McGinley with him Robert J. Shostak and Gregg M. Rosen, for appellant.

Henry G. Beamer, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Palladino did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Crumlish

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 478]

Robert N. McGrath appeals from an Allegheny County Common Pleas Court order denying his petition to vacate an arbitrator's award. We affirm.

McGrath, a part-time Code Enforcement Officer for the Municipality of Penn Hills (Penn Hills) sought the best of both worlds. The collective bargaining agreement (agreement) entered into between Penn Hills and the Municipal Employees Organization

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 479]

(Union) provided a guarantee to him of 1,125 workhours per contract year. When his employment was terminated for economy reasons, McGrath filed a grievance pursuant to the negotiated grievance procedure.*fn1 Failing to resolve the dispute, the Union invoked arbitration, but the arbitrator denied the grievance.*fn2 McGrath petitioned the court below to vacate the decision and Penn Hills filed a motion to quash.*fn3 That court quashed, holding he lacked standing to challenge the arbitrator's decision.

The collective bargaining agreement is a contract, hence any rights and remedies must be derived solely from the agreement itself. Falsetti v. Local Union No. 2026, United Mine Workers of America, 400 Pa. 145, 167, 161 A.2d 882, 893 (1960). By its terms, the agreement provides that only the Union may process a grievance to arbitration.*fn4 It is well established that, when the agreement gives the Union the exclusive

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 480]

    right to pursue a dispute through arbitration, the individual employees have no standing to appeal the arbitrator's award. McCluskey v. Department of Transportation, 37 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 598, 603, 391 A.2d 45, 48 (1978).*fn5 McCluskey is legally indistinguishable and therefore is controlling.*fn6

We dismiss McGrath's thesis that he has standing under Section 606 of PERA*fn7 to appeal an arbitrator's award. Section 606 permits an employee to pursue a grievance individually only where the adjustment is not inconsistent with the agreement's terms. Arbitration comes under Section 903,*fn8 which provides that grievance procedure is a proper collective bargaining subject. Since the agreement specifically vests the Union with the exclusive responsibility to submit disputes to arbitration, an arbitration adjustment secured by an individual employee would be "inconsistent"

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 481]

    with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement within the meaning of Section 606.

McGrath's argument, that the trial court's refusal to grant time to brief the standing issue deprived him of a meaningful opportunity to be heard, is without merit. We have examined his contentions and find no prejudicial error.

Affirmed.

Order

The Allegheny County Common Pleas Court order, No. GD80-22324, dated October 28, 1980, is affirmed.

Judge Palladino did not participate in the decision in this case.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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