Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, in case of Loretta E. Segilia v. Riverside School Service Personnel Association, No. 85 Civil 4811.
John J. Brazil, Jr., for appellant.
Andrew Sislo, with him, John J. Donahue and A. Martin Herring, Herring & Donahue, for appellees.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 337]
Loretta Segilia (appellant) filed an action against the Riverside School Service Personnel Association (union) alleging that it failed to properly represent her during negotiations with her employer, the Riverside School District. The Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County sustained the union's preliminary objections questioning the court's jurisdiction and dismissed the complaint. This appeal followed.
When considering preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer, we must accept as true all of the well-pleaded facts in the appellant's complaint. Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties v. Commonwealth, 44 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 193, 403 A.2d 1031 (1979). Appellant avers in her complaint that she has been employed by the Riverside School District in the position of lunch monitor since 1968; she is a member of the bargaining unit; during two contract periods, covering a total of six years, the union never sought a wage increase on her behalf; all other employees
[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 338]
obtained wage increases during this time period. Based on these facts, appellant sought damages for the Union's failure to fairly represent her interests in the collective bargaining process. The trial court held that it had no jurisdiction over this matter because appellant's complaint raised issues which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. We agree.
In Robinson v. Abington Education Association, 32 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 563, 379 A.2d 1371 (1977), aff'd per curiam, 492 Pa. 218, 423 A.2d 1014 (1980) (equally divided court), union members filed a suit in equity charging the union with failure to fairly represent them in contract negotiations which resulted in the elimination of a certain employment benefit. We held that the union members' charges involved unfair labor practices under Section 1201(b)(3) of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.1201(b)(3), which fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.
Appellant essentially maintains that Robinson is no longer applicable in view of the Supreme Court's decision in Ziccardi v. Commonwealth, 500 Pa. 326, 456 A.2d 979 (1982). In Ziccardi, however, the question was whether the union's refusal to submit a grievance to arbitration falls within any of the unfair labor practices listed under Section 1201(b) of PERA.*fn1 The Supreme
[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 339]
Court held that it did not fall within any of these provisions and that a public employee's only remedy in such a situation is an action against the union for breach of its duty of fair representation. The case at hand is distinguishable from Ziccardi in that it does not involve a union's refusal to submit a grievance to arbitration but rather the union's alleged failure to fairly represent a member during labor negotiations. As the trial court correctly noted, this falls within Section 1201(b)(3) ...