Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County in case of Wayne Highlands School District v. Wayne Highlands Education Association and Jennifer Rajoppi, No. 1222-1983.
Peter J. O'Brien, O'Brien & Miller, for appellants.
Lee C. Krause, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
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Wayne Highlands Education Association and Jennifer Rajoppi appeal here the order of the Wayne
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County Court of Common Pleas vacating the arbitrator's award which declared Rajoppi's grievance arbitrable and directed the Wayne Highlands School District to offer Rajoppi the first available part-time or full-time regular teaching position for which she is certified.
Rajoppi was initially employed by the District during the 1980-81 school year as a per-diem substitute teacher. She substituted full-time for the entire 1981-82 school year. That summer a half-time teacher position became available and Rajoppi applied for the position. The successful candidate, not Rajoppi, had no prior teaching experience with the District. Article 26 of the collective bargaining agreement between the District and the Association provides that members of the bargaining unit shall be given first consideration in point of time in filling vacancies and that just cause will be given the current employee for not being hired for the position. Article 27 of the bargaining agreement provides in pertinent part that no professional employee shall be deprived of any professional advantage without just cause. Rajoppi filed a grievance with the District. The District challenged Rajoppi's right to grieve under the terms of the agreement. The recognition clause of the collective bargaining agreement between the District and the Association identifies the Association as the exclusive representative for bargaining purposes of the District's employees including classroom teachers, librarians, school nurses and school guidance counselors, and excluding supervisors, first level supervisors and confidential employees. Since full-time substitute teachers are not referenced in the recognition clause, the District asserted that Rajoppi could not pursue the grievance procedure available to members of the bargaining unit by virtue of the collective bargaining
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agreement negotiated by the Association on behalf of its members. In sum, the District argued that Rajoppi's grievance was not arbitrable.
The arbitrator decided that, because Rajoppi was paid in accordance with the same salary schedule over the same period of time, performed the same type of work under the same conditions at the same location, worked the same hours and received the same employment benefits as other professional employees (teachers and others) unquestionably covered by the recognition clause of the bargaining agreement, and because Rajoppi had an expectancy of continued employment with the District, she was a ...