Appeal from the Order of the Arbitrator in case of In the Matter of the arbitration between: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare and Pennsylvania Social Services Union, Grievance No. 79-1217 -- Class Action (Allegheny County Board of Assistance), dated February 2, 1982.
Frank A. Fisher, Jr., with him, Lynne M. Mountz, Deputy Chief Counsel, John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for petitioner.
Bruce M. Ludwig, Stephen A. Sheller & Associates, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, Craig and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 614]
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appeals a labor arbitrator's award, which sustained a grievance in favor of a group of employees whom Pennsylvania Social Services Union represents for collective bargaining purposes.
The issues for our resolution are (1) whether the arbitrator erred in determining that the grievance presented an arbitrable issue and (2) whether he grounded his award on an interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement.
Before securing employment with the Commonwealth, each of the grievants had participated in Project Hope, a career training program sponsored by the Allegheny County Welfare Rights Organization.
[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 615]
Project Hope, itself a private undertaking, was part of an affirmative action program to train welfare recipients toward a goal of civil service employment in the income maintenance worker classification series.
Following their successful completion of the nine-month Project Hope program, the Department of Public Welfare hired the participants, the majority of whom were black and female; they worked for three months as state work program trainees (SWPT's), at the highest possible SWPT salary, and then for six months as public service trainees (PST's), again receiving the maximum pay specified for PST's. Those positions, which are not within the state civil service system, were part of a unit which the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) represented in collective bargaining.
At the conclusion of their PST service, DPW promoted the trainees, without the otherwise mandatory examination, into income maintenance worker trainee (IMWT) positions, a classification which is part of the civil service and which the union (i.e., PSSU) represents for collective bargaining.
Nine months after the promotion of the last Project Hope graduates into IMWT positions, the union filed a class action grievance on behalf of all employees who had been Project participants. The grievance alleged that the Commonwealth had discriminated against the employees while they held SWPT and PST positions, and that the discrimination and its effect were of such a ...