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GATEWAY SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/12/84)

decided: January 12, 1984.

GATEWAY SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Gateway School District v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, No. SA 92 of 1982.

COUNSEL

Thomas H. M. Hough, with him Gregory Gleason, Thomas H. M. Hough, P.C., for appellant.

James L. Crawford, with him Frayda Kamber, for appellee.

Judges Williams, Jr., MacPhail and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 507]

The Gateway School District (District) appeals here a final order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County affirming an order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) which held that the position of the secretary to the head of its Food Service Department was includable in the collective bargaining unit certified at Case No. PERAR-2789.

On July 5, 1979, Gateway Secretarial School Service Personnel Association, PSSPA/PSEA (Union) filed a petition for unit clarification pursuant to the Board's statutory duty to determine the appropriateness

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 508]

    of a public employer unit. Section 604 of the Public Employe Relations Act (Act 195), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.604.*fn1 It requested that a unit of clerical employees be amended to include six (6) positions which had been excluded previously during 1973 certification proceedings. Following a hearing held on October 3-4, 1979, the Board's duly designated hearing examiner issued a nisi order which found four of the six positions*fn2 to be non-confidential and, therefore, includable in the unit of clerical employees. The District filed timely exceptions, contending that the Union had failed to show any change in the duties of the four positions between the 1973 certification proceedings and the 1979 unit clarification request. On December 18, 1981, the Board issued a final order which found the position of secretary to the head of the Food Service Department to be includable in the unit but excluded the other three positions. The District appealed the decision to include the secretary to the head of the Food Service Department in the unit to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which, in turn, affirmed the Board. The present appeal followed.

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 509]

Our scope of review is limited to determining whether or not substantial evidence supports the findings of fact and whether or not conclusions based on these findings are reasonable and not arbitrary, capricious or incorrect as a matter of law. Pennsylvania Page 509} Social Services Union v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 68 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 307, 449 A.2d 96 (1982). And we must accept the Board's findings of fact as conclusive if they are supported by substantial evidence in the record. Section 1501 of Act 195, 43 P.S. § 1101.1501.

The District argues first that the Board abused its discretion when it arbitrarily and capriciously ignored the record of the 1973 certification proceedings in deciding the merits of the 1979 petition for unit clarification. More specifically, the District contends that a petition for unit clarification of a previously certified bargaining unit is, in essence, a request to reopen the original proceeding and that, therefore, the hearing body must review all past proceedings dealing with the composition of the unit.

Section 1501 of Act 195, 43 P.S. § 1101.1501 prohibits a reviewing court from considering an objection which has not been raised before the Board absent "extraordinary circumstances". Inasmuch as the District failed to raise the above objections before the Board, therefore, and has not presented us with any reason for this oversight, we are unable to address this contention. Richland Education ...


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