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MINERSVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. MINERSVILLE AREA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL ASSOCIATION (12/10/86)

decided: December 10, 1986.

MINERSVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
MINERSVILLE AREA SCHOOL SERVICE PERSONNEL ASSOCIATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in the case of Minersville Area School District v. Minersville Area School Service Personnel Association, No. S-778-1983.

COUNSEL

Edward E. Kopko, with him, S. John Price, Jr., Law Offices of James J. Curran, for appellant.

A. Martin Herring, with him, John J. Donohue, Herring and Donahue, for appellee.

Judges Craig, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Colins

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 410]

In September of 1982, the Minersville Area School District (School District) awarded Stanley Adams (Adams) the position of full-time custodian, a transfer from that of part-time custodian. Pursuant to School District policy, Adams was required to undergo a physical examination to determine whether he could perform the duties of a full-time custodian.

The examining physician found Adams to be physically incapable of performing his duties as a full-time custodian because of pre-existing back ailments.*fn1 Adams was subsequently discharged for allegedly misrepresenting his physical condition to the School District. Acting on behalf of member Adams, the Minersville Area School Service Personnel Association (Association)

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 411]

    filed a grievance, and a hearing was held before an arbitrator. On May 12, 1983, the arbitrator rendered a decision reinstating Adams to his position and penalizing the School District for their breach of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The School District filed a Petition to Vacate or Alternatively Modify the Arbitration Award with the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County. The trial court partially vacated and partially affirmed the award. The School District now appeals to this Court, asserting that the entire award should have been set aside by the trial court. It also has submitted an Application for Relief in the Form of a Request for Remand for Additional Testimony to this Court.

This Court's scope of review of an arbitrator's award is circumscribed. An award based on an interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement must be accepted by the courts if the interpretation can in any rational way be derived from the agreement, viewed in light of its language and context and any other indicia of the parties' intent. International Brotherhood of Firemen & Oilers, Local 1201, AFL-CIO v. Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia, 500 Pa. 474, 457 A.2d 1269 (1983); Ringgold Area School District v. Ringgold Education Association, PSEA/NEA, 489 Pa. 380, 414 A.2d 118 (1980). The School District argues before this Court that the arbitrator's award constitutes such an abuse of discretion that it should be deemed irrational as a matter of law. We do not agree.

In examining the arbitration award, we must first note that the School District concedes that Award Item 1, finding that the grievance was arbitrable, is correct. In Neshaminy Federation of Teachers v. Neshaminy School District, 501 Pa. 34, 462 A.2d 625 (1983), our Supreme Court held that if the collective bargaining agreement did not encompass the question of an employee's dismissal, then such dismissal actions would not

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 412]

    be arbitrable and the arbitrator would have no authority to address such question. In that case the collective bargaining agreement specifically dealt only with an employee's "discipline, reprimand, reduction ...


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