Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in case of Borough of Schuylkill Haven v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2572 and District Council 89, No. S-1798-1982 and in case of Borough of Schuylkill Haven v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2572 and District Council 89, No. S-2007-1982.
Alaine S. Williams, with her, Nancy J. McCauley, Kirschner, Walters, Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for appellants.
W. Alan Williams, Lewis, Williams and Caravan, for appellee.
Judges Rogers and Barry, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 556]
We have consolidated for argument and disposition the appeals of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 89, Local 2572 (AFSCME), from two orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County vacating arbitrators' awards in grievance arbitration. Each of the awards directed the Borough of Schuylkill Haven (borough) to restore the previously existing workweek schedules of respectively, its sewage treatment plant and its water treatment plant employees, with reimbursement for loss of earnings, and to meet and discuss its proposed changes to the employees' workweek with the latters' bargaining representatives.
[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 557]
The appeal docketed to No. 3088 C.D. 1984 concerns the sewage treatment plant employees; No. 3085 C.D. 1984 concerns the water treatment plant employees.
The facts common to these appeals are as follows. AFSCME is the collective bargaining representative of the grieving employees. The collective bargaining agreement provides that disputes concerning the interpretation of the agreement shall be submitted to grievance arbitration and that such arbitration shall be final and binding.
Before the events of this case, and indeed sixteen years before the current collective bargaining agreement was entered into, the borough had established as the workweek of these employees, the days Monday through Friday, with overtime pay for employees required to work on Saturday and Sunday. For the express purpose of reducing its payroll expense, the borough established a seven-day workweek, pursuant to which, although all employees regularly worked only five days, some would be required, from time to time, to work on Saturday and Sunday at regular rates. Hence, overtime pay for Saturday and Sunday was eliminated.
The borough notified a steward of Local 2572 of the proposed change. We are not told what action, if any, the steward took; but no request was made to the borough that it meet and discuss the proposed change with the employees. See Section 702 of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 363, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.702.*fn1
[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 558]
Each of the two classes of employees, sewage plant and water plant, grieved the new workweek arrangement. Unfortunately, different arbitrators heard the cases. We are not provided with the questions which were submitted to the arbitrators. One of the arbitrators, however, stated the question as follows: "Citing Article 1, Article 3, and Article 6, the union requested the following adjustment be made: 'allow sewage treatment plant employes to return to their previous weekly work schedule.'" This seems a fair description of the cause.
The parties have submitted to us as the pertinent provisions of the collective bargaining agreement in effect when the grievances arose, the following:
(1) The normal work week for all regular employees covered by this agreement shall consist of forty (40) hours. The standard work day shall be from 7:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. The Borough reserves the right to change the standard work day for unusual and/or extensive projects. Prior to any permanent change the Borough shall meet and discuss the changes with the Union.
(2) The work day shall consist of the eight (8) consecutive hours an employee is required to work per day as scheduled by the Borough Manager or Departmental Foreman, except that it may be interrupted by a lunch period.
(3) The pay week shall consist of the seven (7) day period beginning Monday at 12:01 A.M. and ending the following Sunday at midnight.
Authorized time worked before or after his regularly scheduled duty shift, provided said extra time exceeds fifteen (15) minutes over the normal ...