Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County in the case of West Shore School District v. The West Shore Education Association, No. 3405 Civil, 1980.
Betty F. Perry, Killian & Gephart, for appellant.
Jeffrey W. Davis, with him Thomas A. Beckley, Beckley & Madden, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 375]
This case comes to us on appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County vacating an arbitrator's award which ordered the reinstatement of Angelo Gallo to the position of athletic director at Cedar Cliff High School. We reverse.
Gallo is a teacher in the West Shore School District (Appellee or School District) which during the period at issue was a cosignatory to a collective bargaining agreement entered into with the West Shore Education Association (Appellant or Association). On June 13, 1979, the principal of Cedar Cliff High School informed Gallo by way of a memorandum of his intention to recommend to the School District that Gallo be removed from his extracurricular position as athletic director. In the memorandum, the principal outlined
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 376]
his reasons for that recommendation. Gallo thereafter filed a grievance, contending that the memorandum was a reprimand without just cause.*fn1 Gallo requested withdrawal of the memorandum and continuance in his position as athletic director. This grievance was taken through the procedure outlined in the contract, through the final step of arbitration. The arbitrator determined that the memorandum was a reprimand issued without just cause, that his removal as athletic director*fn2 was a direct result of this unjust reprimand and that said removal was lacking in good faith. The arbitrator ordered Gallo's reinstatement as athletic director.
On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas, relying greatly upon this Court's decision in Greater Johnstown Area Vocational-Technical School v. Greater Johnstown Area Vocational-Technical Education Association, 57 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 195, 426 A.2d 1203 (1981), held that the position of athletic director was not covered by the collective bargaining agreement and therefore Gallo's complaint was not arbitrable. The Court also determined that the "Employer's Rights" provision of the contract*fn3 exempted the assignment of
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 377]
teachers from arbitration and that the memorandum did not constitute a reprimand.
Our Supreme Court has consistently reminded us of the very narrow scope of review given to the judiciary over arbitration awards. The arbitrator's decision may not be overturned so long as it draws its "essence" from the collective bargaining agreement. Leechburg Area School District v. Dale, 492 Pa. 515, 517, 424 A.2d 1309, 1312 (1981). So long as the subject matter of the dispute is encompassed within the agreement, the validity of the arbitrator's interpretation is not a proper subject for review. Id. Furthermore, the broad deference given to the arbitrator's decision applies equally to his determinations regarding the arbitrability of the subject matter of the grievance. Scranton Federation of Teachers, Local 1147 ...