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COUNTY BUCKS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/22/83)

decided: September 22, 1983.

COUNTY OF BUCKS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in the case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. County of Bucks (G. Roger Bowers, George M. Metzger, John Welsh, County Commissioners), Case Nos. PF-C-82-E and PF-C-87-E.

COUNSEL

David R. Keller, with him Anthony F. Visco, Jr., Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, for petitioner.

James L. Crawford, with him Anthony C. Busillo, II, for respondent.

Edward D. Foy, Jr., Liederbach, Rossi, Hahn, Casey & Foy, for Bucks County Rangers Benevolent Association.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr. and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Barbieri concurs in the result only.

Author: Crumlish

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 261]

Bucks County (County) appeals a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) determination that it committed unfair labor practices.*fn1 We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand.

The Bucks County Rangers Benevolent Association (Association)*fn2 filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Board when the County terminated its park ranger program following the rangers' certification as employees under the "Collective Bargaining By Policemen Or Firemen Act" (Act 111).*fn3 The Association also complained that the County stopped paying utility costs for the rangers' park residences and increased the rent thereon.*fn4 The Board concluded that the program's termination and the changes of the living accommodations constituted unfair labor practices under the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act (PLRA).*fn5 The County was then directed to reinstate the rangers, restore the original terms of the residential leases, and bargain in good faith with the Association.

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 262]

In reviewing Board decisions, we are limited to determining whether its findings are supported by substantial and legally credible evidence, and whether its conclusions are reasonable and not capricious, illegal, or arbitrary. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 64 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 525, 441 A.2d 470 (1982).

Initially, the County contends that the Board has no jurisdiction in unfair labor practice charges filed by Act 111 employee bargaining representatives. In our recent decision in City of Coatesville v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (No. 1950 C.D. 1981, filed September 22, 1983), we concluded that the Board does have jurisdiction.

The County attacks the Board's decision on three other grounds. The County contends first that the Board erroneously concluded that the park rangers were terminated for anti-union reasons. The record contains substantial credible evidence supporting the finding that "[t]he park rangers were terminated because of their attempt to gain recognition pursuant to Act 111." The County asserts that its opposition to the rangers' Act 111 status was motivated by economics rather than anti-unionism, citing its willingness to bargain ...


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