Original Jurisdiction in case of Joint Bargaining Committee of The Pennsylvania Social Services Union, Local # 668, SEIU and The Pennsylvania Employment Security Employees Association, Local # 675, SEIU, by its Trustee Ad Litem, Anna Burger Price and The Pennsylvania Social Services Union, Local # 668, SEIU, by its Trustee Ad Litem, Anna Burger Price v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Honorable Richard Thornburgh, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al.
Wesley H. Johnson, Jr., General Counsel, for petitioners.
Frank A. Fisher, Jr., Deputy Chief Counsel, with him, Steven O. Newhouse, Assistant Counsel, and John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, for respondents.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle and Colins. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
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The instant case arises under our original jurisdiction and has its genesis in a Petition for Review filed by Petitioners*fn1 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Petitioners allege that Respondent Thornburgh has violated Article VIII, Section 12 of the Pennsylvania Constitution*fn2 and Section 613 of The Administrative Code
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of 1929, 71 P.S. § 233*fn3 (requiring submission of a balanced operating budget). They further allege that Respondents*fn4 have violated Article VIII, Section 14 of
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the Pennsylvania Constitution*fn5 (requiring appropriation of any surplus funds) and Article VIII, Section 10 of the Pennsylvania Constitution*fn6 (mandating that audits of
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Commonwealth financial affairs be made in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards). All of these allegations are rooted in a contract entered into by Petitioners and Respondents on or about July 1, 1983. The pertinent provision of this agreement reads as follows:
It is the intent of the parties that an unfunded reserve account shall be established by the Employer. The actual incurred costs to the Employer for the hospital and medical insurance program for each fiscal year beginning with the fiscal year 1984-85 for all employees under the program, including employees represented by other unions and non-union employees shall be determined. If the incurred costs for a fiscal year were less than $1,650.00 per employee, the difference for all employees will be credited to the reserve account. The difference credited to the reserve account will be accumulated from year
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to year and used to offset health care costs which exceed the negotiated Employer contribution limit in future years. If the actual incurred costs to the Employer for the hospital and medical insurance program for fiscal year exceed the negotiated Employer contribution limit of $1,650.00 per employee, a plan will be established by the Joint Health Care Committee under which the Employer will recover the excess expenditure. In the event the Committee is unable to agree on a plan under which the Employer will recover the excess expenditure, the parties shall submit the matter to arbitration in accordance with Subsection b above.
Petitioners further allege that, pursuant to the collective bargaining agreements, the parties collectively agreed that all unions representing Commonwealth employees would have one vote each on the Joint Health Committee, and that the purpose of the Committee is to design a hospital and medical insurance program that is estimated to cost the Commonwealth no more than $1,650.00 per employee for each fiscal year beginning in 1984-85. As the Petitioners explain it, the purpose of this provision is to put a cap on the Commonwealth's liability for hospital and medical insurance. In addition, the collective bargaining agreement provides for an unfunded reserve account, and if costs per employee do not exceed $1,650.00, the difference is to be credited toward ...