Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in the case of In the Matter of: Grievance of William T. Early and the City of Beaver Falls, No. 1794 of 1981.
Jonathan Walters, with him Alaine S. Williams, Kirschner, Walters & Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for appellant.
Edward S. Young, for appellee.
Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barbieri. Judge Williams, Jr. concurs in the result only.
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 137]
The present case comes before this Court on appeal by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 84, AFL-CIO (Union), from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County which set aside an arbitrator's award reinstating William T. Early to his former position as a custodial employe of the City of Beaver Falls (City).
The factual background is concisely and fairly stated in the opinion of the common pleas court as follows:
On February 8, 1980 the Council of the City of Beaver Falls held an administrative hearing under the provisions of the Local Agency Law, Act of April 28, 1978, P.L. 202, No. 53, § 5 (effective June 17, 1978), 2 Pa. C.S.A. § 551, et seq., on charges brought against Early which resulted in his discharge. Said hearing was held to determine whether there was just cause for him to be terminated. Early was charged with (1) threatening
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 138]
and confronting a city employee with a weapon and (2) two incidents of leaving his work station without permission. The dates on which these three incidents were alleged to have occurred were December 17 and 20, 1979, and January 3, 1980, respectively. Mr. Early was given notice of hearing and his right to be represented by Counsel (in accordance with the Local Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S.A. § 553) by the City Council in a letter dated January 28, 1980. At the hearing, which was conducted by an impartial hearing examiner, Early appeared with his private Counsel. Through his Counsel, Early offered testimony, presented a witness and cross-examined opposing witnesses. On February 12, 1980, the City issued its adjudication terminating Early's employment.
Early filed a grievance with the City of Beaver Falls on February 13, 1980, pursuant to the Public Employee Relations Act and the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), District Council 84. Early contended that he had been terminated for "unjust cause."
An examiner for the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, after proceedings before that Board, made a ruling, accepted by City, directing that the grievance be submitted to arbitration. A hearing was held on July 27, 1981, followed by an adjudication of the arbitrator, dated August 19, 1981 which in effect found favorably to the City, but holding that the discharge was not for just cause, because notice of discipline was not timely; that the time span between December 17, 1979, the incident involving ...