Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in the case of Peters Township School District, a third class school district v. Peters Township Federation of Teachers, AFT, Local 3431, an unincorporated association, on behalf of itself and all of its members, and Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO, an unincorporated association, on behalf of itself and all of its members, and Gerald Petrarca, Staff Representative, individually and on behalf of said Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO, and all of the members as members and individually; Ellen Flanigan, President, Robert Brytus, Agnes Coon, Joseph Elias, Paul J. Homer, Michael P. Kristobak, George A. Decario, Michael P. Snyder, Jay J. Greenberger, and Colleen Toe, members of the Peters Township Federation of Teachers, AFT, Local 3431, bargaining committee, individually and on behalf of said Peters Township Federation of Teachers, AFT, Local 3431, and all of the members, as members and individually, No. 8299, Book 47, Page 177.
James B. Brown, for appellant.
Stephen H. Jordan, with him, Ronald G. Backer, Rothman, Gordon, Foreman and Groudine, P.A., for appellees.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Craig.
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Under the terms of the Public Employe Relations Act*fn1 which provide, in effect, that the Act's impasse resolution procedures are not exhausted earlier than "twenty days after mediation has commenced," does "mediation" commence with the appointment of a mediator or with the first actual mediation session?
Secondly, does that language in section 802 of the Act*fn2 require, for its fulfillment, twenty days of actual mediation activity or, instead, the expiration of a period of twenty calendar days?
Peters Township School District has appealed from the refusal of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County to end a strike by the Peters Township Federation of Teachers (union), after the court considered the district's request for a preliminary injunction under section 1002 of the Act,*fn3 which prohibits public employee strikes during the pendency of collective bargaining procedures set forth in sections 801 and 802.
With no factual dispute present, the pertinent chronology is as follows:
May, 1985 -- The district and the union, newly certified as bargaining representative in the preceding month, began negotiations toward a new agreement;
June 18, 1985 -- The Pennsylvania Board of Mediation appointed Andrew Zerishnek as
[ 93 Pa. Commw. Page 230]
mediator for the dispute, pursuant to an earlier joint request;
June 30, 1985 -- The previous collective bargaining agreement, with a ...