Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County in case of In the Matter of the Arbitration Between The School District of the City of Erie and The Erie Education Association, No. 912-A-1981.
George Levin, for appellant.
John W. Beatty, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. concurs in the result only.
[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 384]
In this labor arbitration appeal, the Erie Education Association questions an order by the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County reversing an arbitrator's decision that a revision of the sabbatical leave policy of the Erie School District had violated its collective
[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 385]
bargaining agreement with the association. The reversal was on the basis that the decision "could not have been drawn from the essence" of the contract.
In its only reference to sabbatical leaves, the contract, which was effective from July 1, 1978 through June 30, 1980, stated:
Sabbatical leaves shall be granted to teachers in accordance with the School Code, Article XI, F. Sections 1166, 1167, 1168, 1169, 1170, 1171.*fn1
Since 1937, the district had used a sabbatical leave plan for professional employees which imposed certain conditions and restrictions on the granting of approved leaves.*fn2 In March of 1980, before the expiration of the contract, the district amended the plan without negotiation, apparently promulgating more restrictive regulations and limiting the number of sabbatical leaves which could be granted in a school year.*fn3
Following the association's unfair labor practice charge in May of 1980, alleging that the district violated
[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 386]
the Public Employee Relations Act*fn4 by unilaterally revising the regulations governing sabbatical leave, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board ordered the matter referred to arbitration through the grievance procedure outlined in the contract.
The arbitrator framed the issue as "whether the change in the administration of the sabbatical leave policy is in violation of the collective bargaining agreement."
After comprehensively reviewing the parties' positions, the evidence, and all the sections of the School Code cross-referenced by the contract, the arbitrator held that, once the bargaining had closed on the agreement, the district ...