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AMERICAN FEDERATION STATE v. BENSALEM TOWNSHIP (10/08/85)

decided: October 8, 1985.

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1598, APPELLANT
v.
BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of Bensalem Township v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1598, No. 83-04843-15-6.

COUNSEL

Stuart W. Davidson, Kirschner, Walters, Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for appellant.

Jahn Roos Landis, with her, Emil F. Toften and Alton G. Grube, Emil F. Toften & Associates, for appellee.

Judges Doyle and Barry, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 190]

This is an appeal by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1598 (AFSCME) from the decision of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas which vacated a labor arbitration award.

The present case involves the interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement entered into between Bensalem Township (Township) and its Township employees. The issue as presented by AFSCME is whether under the terms of the agreement the Township may unilaterally remove an employee from a bargaining

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 191]

    unit position by designating her as a "confidential employee."

The relevant facts are not in dispute. Prior to May of 1981, three Township employees who worked directly for the Township manager had been designated as "confidential employees" and thus were not included in the bargaining unit under the terms of the agreement.*fn1 In May of 1981, one of the confidential employees, a clerk typist, vacated her position. Instead of filling this position, the Township posted a vacancy for a non-confidential clerk typist, a bargaining unit position. Mary Romano, a former employee of the Township police department, responded to the vacancy and was awarded the position. Although Romano was employed to work on non-confidential matters, the Township found it increasingly difficult to segregate Romano's work from the work of the confidential employees with whom Romano had close contact. Finally, late in 1982, the Township manager determined that Romano's assistance was needed in the preparation of the budget and contract negotiations requiring her to work directly with the other clerical employees engaged in confidential duties. For these reasons the Township designated Romano as a confidential employee in January of 1983, thus removing her from the bargaining unit.

On February 7, 1983, AFSCME filed a grievance which stated:

The Union is protesting the making of a confidential Clerk Typist which is in violation of the Union contract on the ...


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