Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Michael A. Della Vecchia, Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County and The County of Allegheny, No. S.A. 431 of 1983.
John B. Neurohr, with him, James L. Crawford and Kathryn Speaker McNett, for appellant.
Stanley B. Lederman, for appellee, Michael A. Della Vecchia, Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County.
Thomas H. M. Hough, Assistant County Solicitor, with him, James H. McLean, County Solicitor, for appellee, County of Allegheny.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Palladino. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. dissents.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 236]
The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) appeals from an order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas (court of common pleas) reversing an order of the PLRB which concluded that the Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds (Recorder) committed an unfair practice in violation of Sections 1201(a)(1)
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 237]
and (5) of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA)*fn1 by refusing to submit an employment dispute to binding arbitration pursuant to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (memorandum or agreement) between the Recorder and the Service Employees International Union, Local 585 (Union).*fn2
The agreement between the Recorder and the Union purports to cover the non-economic aspects of their employment relationship.*fn3 Article XIV of the agreement provides that discharge or suspension of an employee for a period in excess of thirty (30) days may be referred to final and binding arbitration by the Union, wherein the issue before the arbitrator is to be whether the Recorder had just cause for the action.
In early 1982, the Union, pursuant to Article XIV of the memorandum, requested arbitration of grievances it had filed concerning the Recorder's alleged termination of three Union employees. The Solicitor for the Recorder refused the Union's request for arbitration stating that inasmuch as the employees had been laid-off rather than terminated, Article XIV was inapplicable. Thereafter, the Union requested arbitration of the same grievance pursuant to its agreement with the County. The County also refused to proceed
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 238]
to arbitration stating that the issue of the alleged terminations was non-economic and should be pursued ...