Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County in the case of Greater Johnstown Area Vocational-Technical School v. Greater Johnstown Area Vocational-Technical Education Association, No. 1984-2252.
Gary L. Costlow, with him, Marlin B. Stephens, for appellant.
William K. Eckel, for appellee.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 193]
This is an appeal by the Greater Johnstown Vocational-Technical School (School) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County which upheld a grievance filed by the Greater Johnstown Vocational-Technical Education Association (Association) on behalf of Jill Ashcom (Grievant). We reverse.
Grievant was a tenured professional employee of the School, having been employed by the School since August 9, 1977. While Grievant taught in the Mathematics Department of the School, she was also certified to teach French. By letter dated April 28, 1983, the Joint Operations Committee (Committee) of the School notified Grievant that they were considering the possibility of furloughing her for the 1983-84 school year. The Association filed a grievance on her behalf on May 6, 1983, alleging that Grievant had been improperly furloughed. On July 6, 1983, Grievant was formally notified that she was being furloughed.
The grievance was ultimately submitted to arbitration. The Association claimed that Grievant's furlough was improper because the School could have realigned its teaching staff so as to retain Grievant. The Association's proposed realignment scheme as submitted to the
[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 194]
arbitrator would have allowed Grievant to remain a mathematics teacher, and would have required another teacher in the Mathematics Department with more departmental and district-wide seniority than Grievant to become a guidance counselor. A guidance counselor with less school-wide seniority than Grievant would have been furloughed.
The School's position, on the other hand, was that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Agreement) mandated that all reductions in force were to be done solely on the basis of departmental seniority. Since Grievant was the least senior member of both the Mathematics and French departments, she was the person to be furloughed.
Article V, Section B of the Agreement reads:
If a reduction in force is to take place, the member of the department with the least Greater Johnstown Area Vocational-Technical School seniority, shall be the furloughed individual. In the case of individuals with multiple certifications, these individuals may transfer to another department and/or subject area in which they are properly ...