Appeal of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania and International Union, United Plant Guard Workers of America.
James L. Crawford, Frayda Kamber, Harrisburg, for appellee Pa. Labor Relations Bd.
Gary M. Lightman, Harrisburg, for Fraternal Order of Police.
Lynne M. Mountz, Dep. Chief Counsel, John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, Jay C. Waldman, Gen. Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellant Com. of Pa.
Michael H. Small, Harrisburg, M. Glen Jeakle, II, pro hoc vice, for appellant U.P.G.W.A.
Roberts, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, and Zappala, JJ. Roberts, C.j., files a dissenting opinion. Nix and Hutchinson, JJ., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
This is an appeal from an order of the Commonwealth Court*fn1 which affirmed a decision of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board). The Board had certified the Fraternal Order of Police, Local 85, (FOP) as the collective bargaining representative of the Capitol Police. The issue to be addressed is whether the determination by the Board, that Capitol Police employed in Harrisburg and in state office buildings in Scranton, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh are "policemen" within the meaning of Act 111, the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237, No. 111, § 1 et seq., 43 P.S. § 217.1 et seq. (Act 111), is supported by substantial evidence. Act 111, enacted in 1968, encompasses policemen and firemen and provides for binding arbitration in the event of impasse during bargaining for which the covered employes relinquish the prerogative to strike the employer. Appellants contend that the Board conclusion is erroneous in that the employes are "guards" within the meaning of the Public Employe Relations Act, Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, No. 195, § 101 et seq., as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.101 et seq., (PERA). PERA, enacted in 1970, encompasses public employes generally, including "guards," and retains the employe prerogative to strike.
This case arose on the petition of the FOP filed with the Board on March 14, 1977 seeking to represent the Capitol Police for purposes of collective bargaining pursuant to Act 111. In 1973, under PERA and not Act 111 and pursuant to a stipulation that the employes were not "policemen," the Board had previously certified the International Union, United Plant Guard Workers of America (Plant Guards) as the bargaining representative of all Police Officers I and II
and as the exclusive "meet and discuss" representative of all Police Officers III and IV, employed by various agencies throughout the Commonwealth, some of which are Capitol Police. Because the prior certification under PERA evolved from a stipulation of the status of Capitol Police, the instant FOP petition presented the first opportunity of the Board to take evidence on the issue.
A series of hearings was held on the FOP petition before a designated hearing examiner of the Board at which time all parties in interest were afforded a full opportunity to examine and cross-examine witnesses, present testimony and furnish documentary evidence. Findings of fact and conclusions of law were filed. The Board concluded that the officers of the Capitol Police are "policemen" within the meaning of Act 111 and that the unit appropriate for collective bargaining is a subdivision of the employer unit comprising all full-time and regular part-time Capitol Police, including Police Officers IV (Lieutenants), Police Officers III (Sergeants), Police Officers II, Police Officers I, and excluding the Superintendent and Captain. The Board ordered an election which rendered a majority vote by the members of the defined appropriate unit in favor of representation by the FOP, whereupon the FOP was certified by the Board as the exclusive bargaining representative. Exceptions were filed by the Plant Guards and the Commonwealth, resulting in Board modification and vacation of some findings of fact but in the entry of a final order certifying the FOP ...