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PENNSYLVANIA FEDERATION TEACHERS ET AL. v. SCHOOL DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA ET AL. (03/07/84)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 7, 1984.

THE PENNSYLVANIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA ET AL., RESPONDENTS. PENNSYLVANIA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION ET AL., PETITIONERS V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, THE HONORABLE RICHARD THORNBURGH, GOVERNOR, ET AL., RESPONDENTS

Original jurisdiction in the cases of The Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, et al. v. The School District of Philadelphia, et al. and Pennsylvania State Education Association, et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Honorable Richard Thornburgh, et al.

COUNSEL

Elliot A. Strokoff, with him, Jerome H. Gerber, Handler, Gerber, Johnston, Strokoff & Cowden, for petitioners, The Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers et al.

Anthony D. Newman, with him Lynne L. Wilson, for petitioners, Pennsylvania State Education Association et al.

James J. Kutz, Deputy Attorney General, with him Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondents.

Richard Kirschner, with him, Stuart W. Davidson, Kirschner, Walters, Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for Amicus Curiae, Council 13, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail, Doyle and Barry. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 609]

The petitioners and respondents*fn1 in these two consolidated cases have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Petitioners seek a permanent injunction of Section 2 of Act 31 of 1983, 24 Pa. C.S. § 8102, which requires them, as members of the Public School Employes' Retirement System*fn2 to contribute an additional 1% of their salary to the Public School Employes'

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 610]

Retirement Fund. Section 2 of Act 31,*fn3 signed into law by Governor Thornburgh on July 22, 1983, purported to raise the basic contribution rate under the Public School Employes' Retirement Code*fn4 from 5 1/4% to 6 1/4%. Respondents seek to have Section 2 of Act 31 constitutionally upheld. We grant petitioners' motion for summary judgment and deny respondents' motion for summary judgment for the reasons set forth in AFSCME v. Commonwealth, 80 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 611, 472 A.2d 746 (1984). We also order the Commonwealth to refund immediately all employee contributions in excess of the 5 1/4% basic contribution rate heretofore collected.*fn5

Order

Upon consideration of the cross-motions for summary judgment of petitioners and respondents, the petitioners' motion for summary judgment is granted and the respondents' motion for summary judgment is denied. Further, IT IS ORDERED that:

(1) Respondents, jointly and severally, together with their agents and representatives, are hereby permanently enjoined from collecting pension contributions from employees who were members of the Public School Employes' Retirement System prior to the enactment of Act 31 of 1983, in excess of the five and one-quarter (5 1/4%) percent basic contribution rate; and

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 611]

(2) Respondents, jointly and severally, together with their agents and representatives, are hereby directed to return, immediately, all monies collected from employees who were members of the Public School Employes' Retirement System prior to the enactment of Act 31 of 1983, in excess of the five and one-quarter (5 1/4%) percent basic contribution rate, and to return any accrued interest from all monies collected at the rate of four (4%) percent as set forth in Section 8102 of the Public School Employe' Retirement Code, 24 Pa. C.S. § 8102.

Disposition

Summary judgment awarded petitioners.


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