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CITY ERIE v. INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FIREFIGHTERS (03/09/87)

decided: March 9, 1987.

CITY OF ERIE, APPELLANT
v.
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS, LOCAL 293, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County in the case of International Association of Firefighters, Local 293 v. City of Erie, No. 12-E-1985.

COUNSEL

Barry T. Drew, Deputy City Solicitor, for appellant.

Richard Kirschner, with him, Jonathan Walters, Kirschner, Walters & Willig, for appellee.

Judges Barry and Palladino (p), and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.

Author: Palladino

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 395]

The City of Erie appeals the order of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas granting the motion of Local 293 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (Union) for summary judgment and directing the City of Erie to proceed to arbitration on a grievance submitted by the Union.

There is no factual dispute. The Union and the City of Erie entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 396]

    covering the period from January 1, 1981 through December 31, 1982. The Agreement contains a clause setting forth the annual salaries of firefighters. It also contains a clause providing for binding arbitration.*fn1 The Union submitted a grievance to the City of Erie, challenging the manner in which the firefighters of Erie were paid for the year 1982.*fn2 The Union notified the

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 397]

City of the identity of their arbitrator in accordance with the terms of the Agreement. The City of Erie refused to arbitrate the grievance. The Union filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association but the City of Erie refused to name an arbitrator or participate in the arbitration process.

The Union filed a complaint in equity with the common pleas court alleging that the City's refusal to arbitrate the salary dispute was illegal, improper, and a violation of the City's contractual obligation, since the dispute arose out of the interpretation and construction of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Both the Union and the City filed motions for summary judgment. The common pleas court granted the Union's motion and ordered the City to appoint an arbitrator to the Arbitration Board, participate in the selection process of a neutral arbitrator and to pay the Union's attorney fees and costs. This appeal followed.

To uphold summary judgment, there must be not only absence of genuine factual issues, but also an entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. 1412 Spruce, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 70 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 501, ...


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