Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in case of County of Berks v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 88, AFL-CIO, No. 381 August Term, 1982.
Stuart W. Davidson, with him, Lee W. Jackson, Kirschner, Walters, Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for appellant.
Alan S. Readinger, First Assistant County Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges Doyle, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
This is an appeal by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) of an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County overturning an arbitrator's decision which found that fourteen of nineteen employees who had resigned from the union had failed to effectively revoke the deduction of dues from their paychecks.
In April, 1982, a number of Berks County employees sought to resign from AFSCME. The union considered nineteen of the resignations to be ineffective because they failed to specifically revoke dues deduction authorizations and resign from participation in the union as required under the collective bargaining agreement. The County nevertheless honored the resignations and ceased deducting dues from the employees' pay.
AFSCME filed a grievance against the County and the matter went to arbitration. The arbitrator determined that the collective bargaining agreement required two distinct acts, resignation from the union and express revocation of dues check-off authorization. Citing Burse v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 56 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 555, 425 A.2d 1182 (1981), the arbitrator then analyzed the resignation notices sent by each employee and determined that five employees had satisfied the two-fold requirement under the bargaining agreement and Burse, and that
the fourteen remaining employees had not. The arbitrator therefore found the collective bargaining agreement to have been violated and directed the County to reinstate the dues deduction for the fourteen employees and to recover the amount in arrears.
The County appealed the arbitrator's award, as applied to ten of the employees,*fn1 to the court of common pleas. The court of common pleas acknowledged the deference due the arbitrator's decision, and recognized the applicability of the principles articulated in Burse. The court, however, found that the requirement of separate resignations under Burse was satisfied. The arbitrator's award was consequently overturned. Appeal to this court followed.
The resignation letters under consideration here fall into three categories. Four stated:
This is to inform you that I am resigning from AFSCME Local 462 effective immediately. I am forwarding a copy of this ...