Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas in the case of Isaiah Summers v. Transport Workers' Union of Philadelphia, Local 234 and Transport Workers' Union of America, AFL-CIO and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 2572 December Term, 1984.
Gail Lopez-Henriquez, Freedman and Lorry, P.C. for appellants/appellees, Transport Workers' Union of Philadelphia, Local 234 and Transport Workers' Union of America, AFL-CIO.
Margery Sickles Preddy, with her, Joseph F. Keener, Jr., and G. Roger Bowers, for appellant/appellee, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.
Bruce S. Luckman, with him, Neil A. Morris and Michael S. Gressen, Of Counsel: Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, P.C., for appellee, Isaiah Summers.
Judges Craig, Doyle, and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Colins dissents.
The Transport Workers' Union of Philadelphia, Local 234, and Transport Workers' Union of America, AFL-CIO (union), and Southeastern Pennsylvania
Transportation Authority (SEPTA) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which (1) "denied" the preliminary objections of the union and SEPTA to public employee Isaiah Summers' complaint against them, (2) ordered the union and SEPTA to proceed directly to arbitration to address the employee's allegation of wrongful discharge, and (3) directed SEPTA to answer the employee's complaint against it. Also before us is the employee's motion to quash this appeal as being interlocutory in nature.
The employee had worked for SEPTA as a cashier since 1959. SEPTA discharged the employee on June 6, 1983, for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on duty and for a substandard record overall. The employee contested his discharge through the grievance procedure of the collective bargaining agreement between SEPTA and the union, but he failed to obtain reinstatement through the initial three-step procedure.
The employee then requested that the union pursue the fourth and final step of the grievance procedure and file for independent arbitration on the employee's behalf. The union assented to the employee's request and filed for arbitration in August of 1983. The collective bargaining agreement states that "[d]ischarge arbitrations shall be conducted within fourteen calendar days of the receipt of the Demand for Arbitration by the American Arbitration Association." However, the union administration reorganized after an election in October, 1983, and the new union administration withdrew the employee's grievance demand on July 24, 1984.
On December 14, 1984, the employee filed his complaint in the court of common pleas, alleging that SEPTA had discharged him in violation of the collective bargaining agreement and that the union had breached its duty ...