Appeal from award of labor arbitrator in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare and American Federation of Teachers/Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, Local 1830 AFT, AFL-CIO, Grievances Nos. 79-2721, 80-548 and 80-997.
Steven O. Newhouse, Assistant Counsel, with him, John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, for petitioner.
Sandra R. Kushner, with her, Louis B. Kushner, Rothman, Gordon, Foreman and Groudine, P.A., for respondent.
Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appeals from a labor arbitrator's award sustaining grievances which the State School and Hospitals Federation of Teachers, Local 1830, Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO had filed on behalf of several former employees whom the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) had furloughed.
We must determine whether the award drew its essence from the parties' collective bargaining agreement with respect to the arbitrator's conclusions that (1) the award incorporated by reference the terms of an extrinsic document and (2) DPW's action in contracting out the bargaining unit's work violated the agreement. We must also determine whether the arbitrator exceeded his authority or erroneously refused to receive evidence which the Commonwealth offered.
In 1979, DPW transferred the educational responsibility of mentally handicapped persons to the Department of Education; in conjunction with the transfer, DPW furloughed a number of employees who had been providing that educational service. The union grieved the furloughing of the employees, and failing to resolve the issue, the parties submitted the case to arbitration. The arbitrator sustained the union's grievances on February 19, 1981, and on appeal, this court remanded the case for the resolution of two specific questions.*fn1 After an additional hearing, the arbitrator issued a supplemental award, answering the court's questions and again sustaining the grievances.
Initially, the Commonwealth contends that the arbitrator's award, which concluded that the parties' collective bargaining agreement had incorporated by reference a document known as the "Guidelines", did not draw its essence from the agreement. The arbitrator concluded that because DPW did not follow the procedure of the Guidelines when it furloughed
the grievants, that action violated the bargaining agreement.
The Guidelines were part of a 1973 consent agreement settling a federal case which the Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Children had instituted against the Commonwealth. Formally titled "General Guidelines for Transferring State School Education Programs to Intermediate Units", the document addressed the transfer of DPW's education programs into intermediate units under the Department of Education, and provided that DPW would offer employees whom it transferred to the intermediate units the choice of which of two "options" would govern that move.*fn2 The terms of the Guidelines extended only to former ...