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APPEAL UPPER PROVIDENCE POLICE DELAWARE COUNTY LODGE # 27 FRATERNAL ORDER POLICE FROM AWARD ARBITRATORS. APPEAL UPPER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP (05/22/87)

decided: May 22, 1987.

IN RE APPEAL OF UPPER PROVIDENCE POLICE DELAWARE COUNTY LODGE # 27 FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE FROM AWARD OF ARBITRATORS. APPEAL OF UPPER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP


Appeal form the Order Entered June 13, 1984 in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Civil Action Law, at No. 83-723 Pa. Commw.Ct. Nix, C.j., and, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ.

Author: Larsen

[ 514 Pa. Page 503]

Opinion OF THE COURT

We granted allocatur in this case to address two issues: (1) the proper scope of review of an arbitration award under "Act 111," Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237, No. 111, 43 P.S. §§ 217.1-217.10 (Supp. 1986) ("Collective Bargaining By Policemen Or Firemen"); and (2) whether the lower courts erred in reversing the award of the arbitrators which denied certain post-retirement hospital and medical benefits for 1984.

Upper Providence Township (Township) bargained collectively under Act 111 with the representative of its police, the Fraternal Order of Police, Delaware County Lodge Number 27 (FOP), in an attempt to reach a collective bargaining agreement for the calendar years 1983 and 1984. On December 22, 1982, an agreement was reached on all but one issue, as to which an impasse was declared and impasse arbitration was triggered under section 4 of Act 111, 43 P.S. § 217.4.

[ 514 Pa. Page 504]

An arbitration panel was selected and the Township and the FOP submitted to the panel an extensive agreement on the agreed-to items, and a stipulation as to the one issue in dispute, the legality of the hospital and medical benefits that were currently being provided to retired bargaining unit members. The stipulation of the parties concerning this impasse issue reads as follows:

27. Medical After Retirement : Although the Upper Providence Police through their bargaining representative, Lodge # 27, Fraternal Order of Police, dispute the Township's attempt to bargain over this issue for 1983 and 1984 because of the Township's failure to identify this issue as "an issue in dispute" within the meaning of Act 111, the parties agree that the following benefit first agreed to in the 1976-77 collective bargaining agreement is deemed to be illegal by the Township :

The full hospital and medical benefits in effect at the time of retirement (whether for service or disability) to continue annually after retirement until death. These benefits shall be offset by any similar benefits received from the government or any other employer.

Although the Township deems this benefit to be illegal, the FOP # 27 believes that the Township should be estopped from asserting any possible illegality because this benefit has been renewed through two collective bargaining agreements and one arbitration award since it was first agreed to by the Township in 1976. The parties to this contract, however, agree to submit the issue of illegality of this benefit for the consideration of the Board of Arbitration. (emphasis added).

An arbitration hearing was conducted on December 12, 1982, and on December 23, 1982, two of the three arbitrators rendered the following award:

1. The attached Stipulation of the Parties dated December 22, 1982, concerning certain terms and conditions of employment of Policemen of the Township of Upper Providence for the calendar years 1983 and 1984, commencing

[ 514 Pa. Page 505]

January 1, 1983, is incorporated and made a part hereof.

2. For calendar year 1983:

The full hospital and medical benefits in effect at the time of retirement (whether for service or disability) to continue annually after retirement until death. These benefits shall be offset by any similar benefits received from the government or any other employer.

3. For calendar year 1984:

The benefits set forth in number 2. above shall not be in effect for ...


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