Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County in case of Rodney Alliston et al. v. The City of Allentown, Pennsylvania, No. 80-E-45.
Thomas J. Calnan, Jr., Stanberg, Caplan & Calnan, for appellants.
Jack I. Kaufman, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 322]
Rodney Alliston, with other former employees*fn1 of the City of Allentown, appeals a Lehigh County Common Pleas Court order remanding an arbitration award for clarification. We affirm in part and reverse in part.*fn2
The City of Allentown and appellants voluntarily submitted a "cost-of-living payment to terminated employees" dispute to arbitration. His award, favoring the employees, included a finding that, when they terminated their employment prior to the quarterly cost-of-living payment, the City was required to make a final payment to them even though they were not in payroll status at the time of the adjustment.
The award was entered on October 30, 1979; when the City failed to appeal the arbitration award, appellants sought confirmation under the Uniform Arbitration Act (Act).*fn3 The trial court, characterizing the City's failure to comply with the arbitration award as an unfair labor practice, held that it had no jurisdiction to prevent unfair labor practices, it being vested exclusively in the PLRB under the provisions of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA).*fn4 The terminated
[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 323]
employees appealed the remand order, asserting that the common pleas court did indeed have jurisdiction.
Thus, the narrow issue presented for our determination is:
When a party against whom a binding arbitration award*fn5 is entered fails to comply, may the awardee so favored confirm the award under the Act or does exclusive jurisdiction for enforcement rest with the PLRB?
Section 9 of the Act*fn6 provides:
At any time within one year after the award is made any party to the arbitration may apply to the court having jurisdiction for an order confirming the award, and thereupon the court shall grant such an order, ...