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PENNSYLVANIA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION WITH PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL/PSEA v. APPALACHIA INTERMEDIATE UNIT 08 (05/25/84)

decided: May 25, 1984.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION WITH PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL/PSEA, APPELLANTS,
v.
APPALACHIA INTERMEDIATE UNIT 08, APPELLEE



No. 70 W.D. Appeal Docket 1983, Appeal from Order of the Commonwealth Court docketed at No. 390 C.D. 1982, and entered June 10, 1983, which upheld that portion of an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County entered at No. 1980-3741, on February 11, 1982, disallowing the inclusion of interest by an Arbitrator, Pa. Commw. ; Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ.

Author: Zappala

[ 505 Pa. Page 3]

Opinion

Appellants are the Pennsylvania State Education Association and Pennsylvania School Service Personnel/PSEA (hereafter "Unions") which, pursuant to the Public Employee Relations Act, Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, No. 195, 43 P.S. § 1101.101 et seq., are the collective bargaining agents,

[ 505 Pa. Page 4]

    respectively, for professional and non-professional employees of Appellee, Appalachia Intermediate Unit 08, which operates in Cambria County and provides special education for students from thirty-five school districts in four counties. The Unions were on strike between November 7 and December 1, 1975. Employees lost between eleven and fourteen days of work. At the conclusion of the strike, the parties entered into two-year collective bargaining agreements retroactive to July 1, 1975.

The agreements provided for 185 days of work per school year for professional employees, and 180 days for non-professional employees. The employees did not work the contracted number of days during the 1975-76 school year because the days missed during the strike were not rescheduled. The Unions claimed that Appellee was required to provide the contracted number of work days by rescheduling the days missed or, failing that, to pay the employees for the days missed. They filed grievances asserting such claim. Appellee refused to arbitrate. The Unions filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, which found the refusal to arbitrate to constitute an unfair labor practice and ordered Appellee to proceed to arbitration. The order was appealed to Commonwealth Court and affirmed. Appalachia Intermediate Unit 08 v. Commonwealth, 45 Pa. Commw. 274, 406 A.2d 823 (1979). Subsequent to the Commonwealth Court's order and following an arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator ruled in favor of the Unions and ordered Appellee to pay the employees for days missed with interest at a rate of six (6%) percent, running from July 1, 1976*fn1 and compounded annually from that date. The Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County upheld the arbitration award insofar as it ordered payment for days missed, but disallowed the payment of interest. Commonwealth Court affirmed the order of the Court of Common Pleas, 75 Pa. Commw. 40, 460 A.2d 1234 (1983). We granted the Unions' petition for allowance of appeal.

[ 505 Pa. Page 5]

The issue before us is whether the arbitrator properly awarded interest. The arbitration was conducted pursuant to the Public Employee Relations Act, Art. IX, § 903, 43 P.S. § 1101.903, which provides that

Arbitration of disputes or grievances arising out of the interpretation of the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement is mandatory. The procedure to be adopted is a proper subject of bargaining with the proviso that the final step shall provide for a binding decision by an arbitrator or a tri-partite board of arbitrators as the parties may agree.

We set forth the standard of review for appeals of arbitrators' decisions under the Act in Community College of Beaver County v. Community College of Beaver County, Society of the Faculty (PSEA/NEA), 473 Pa. 576, 375 A.2d 1267 (1977). We held there that an arbitration award must be upheld if it can in any rational way be derived from the collective bargaining agreement in light of language, context and other indicia of the parties' intention. In so holding, we cited the Arbitration Act of April 5, 1927, P.L. 381, No. 248, § 11, 5 P.S. § 171, which provided that a court could modify or correct a statutory arbitration award

Subsequent to the decision of the arbitrator in the instant case, the Arbitration Act of 1927 was superseded by the Uniform Arbitration Act, Act of October 5, 1980, P.L. 693, No. 142, effective in sixty days, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7301 et seq. The new Act provides that

"A court in reviewing an arbitration award . . . shall . . . modify or correct the award where the award is contrary to law and is such that had it been a verdict of a jury the court would have entered a ...


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