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RUTH HARBAUGH ET AL. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/16/87)

decided: July 16, 1987.

RUTH HARBAUGH ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in case of Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, South Mountain Restoration Center, Case No. PERA-C-82-706-E.

COUNSEL

Anthony C. Busillo, II, Mancke, Lightman & Wagner, for petitioners.

James L. Crawford, for respondent.

Stuart W. Davidson, with him, Gary R. Gordon, Kirschner, Walters & Willig, for intervenor, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 13.

Frank P. Clark, Assistant Counsel, with him, John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, for intervenor, Office of Administration and Office of the Budget.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins, and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 408]

This is an appeal by certain public employees (Complainants) from an order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) affirming a hearing examiner's determination that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare (DPW) did not commit an unfair labor practice in violation of Sections 1201(a)(1) and 1201(a)(3) of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.1201(a)(1) and § 1101.1201(a)(3). Section 1201(a)(1) prohibits public employers, their agents or representatives from "[i]nterfering, restraining or coercing employes in their exercise of the rights" guaranteed under Article IV of PERA (pertaining to employes' rights to organize or join employee organizations, engage in lawful concerted activities, and bargain collectively). Section 1201(a)(3) prohibits them from "[d]iscriminating in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any employe organization."

Following three days of hearings, the hearing examiner found that Complainants were employed by DPW at the South Mountain Restoration Center (Center), a long-term care nursing home licensed under the Department of Health. The Center is responsible for accepting individuals who have been discharged from

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 409]

    state mental hospitals, but for whom community placement is not available. It provides intermediate and skilled care for those individuals who are later placed elsewhere, and lifetime care for those who are not.

To understand the theory under which the Complainants proceed, some factual background is necessary. In August of 1980 four Activity Aide II employees from the Center filed a job classification grievance seeking to be reclassified upward to Therapeutic Recreational Service Worker (TRSW). Such reclassification was implemented in November of that year, and was followed two or three months later by the reclassification of all the Activity Aides to TRSWs. Prior to this upward reclassification, these employees had been represented by the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); subsequent to the reclassification, however, the employees became part of the professional bargaining unit represented by the Pennsylvania Social Services Union (PSSU).

Certain Licensed Practical Nurses, who are also employed at the Center, thereafter complained to their union, AFSCME, that they believed they were doing work similar to that of the TRSWs and, therefore, were desirous of being reclassified to the TRSW job classification, which carried with it a pay increase and better working hours. Subsequently, all LPN Is and LPN IIs, as well as Restoration Aides and Restoration Aide Trainees, filed classification grievances via AFSCME on April 28, 1981, seeking reclassification upward. These grievances were processed up to the ...


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