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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. STATE SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS FEDERATION TEACHERS (12/17/87)

decided: December 17, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PETITIONER
v.
STATE SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, LOCAL 1830, PENNSYLVANIA FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, AFT, AFL-CIO, BY JOHN D'ELETTO, TRUSTEE AD LITEM, RESPONDENT



Appeal from award of labor arbitrator in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare and American Federation of Teachers/Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, Local 1830 AFT, AFL-CIO, Grievances Nos. 79-2721, 80-548 and 80-997.

COUNSEL

Steven O. Newhouse, Assistant Counsel, with him, John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, for petitioner.

Sandra R. Kushner, with her, Louis B. Kushner, Rothman, Gordon, Foreman and Groudine, P.A., for respondent.

Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 63]

State Schools and Hospitals Federation of Teachers, Local 1830, (Union) has filed an application to enforce a final appellate order in this case pursuant to Pa. R.A.P. 2591(b), which provides:

(b) Enforcement of appellate court orders.

At any time, upon its own motion or upon application, an appellate court may issue any appropriate order requiring obedience to or otherwise enforcing its judgment or other order.

Consistent with that rule is 42 Pa. C.S. ยง 562 which empowers the Commonwealth Court "to issue . . . every lawful writ and process necessary or suitable . . . for the enforcement of any order which it may make. . . ."

The union's application requests that this court enforce against the Commonwealth that which the union considers to be the full import of our final order and judgment in Commonwealth v. State Schools and Hospitals Federation of Teachers, 88 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 57, 488 A.2d 404 (1985). The application thus poses this question:

Where a labor arbitrator's decisions, directing that improperly furloughed state employees 'be made whole for all pay and benefits lost on account of such improper terminations,' have been affirmed on appeal, should the appellate court enforce that affirmance by requiring that a subgroup of such employees whose state institution has been closed, after the improper furloughs but before issuance of the arbitrator's decisions, receive backpay and benefits on the same basis as those employees whose institutions were not closed after the furloughs?

In Raum v. Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, 29 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 9, 370 A.2d 777 (1977),

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 64]

    this court exercised its power to enforce its decisions, by making findings of fact concerning the matter of compliance with its judgment and other pertinent events, in order to decide the enforcement application. In this case, because of the thorough and professional pleading contained in the union's application, the Commonwealth's answer thereto and new matter, and the union's reply to new matter, there are admissions as to averments of fact sufficient to constitute a virtual stipulation on all relevant points, so that deciding this matter pursuant to motion for judgment on the pleadings is entirely appropriate. From the averments, as admitted, this court makes the following findings of fact.

Findings of Fact

1. Respondent, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare (DPW), the petitioner which initiated the above captioned appeal, is a statewide administrative agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Application and Answer, para. 3.)

2. In 1979, DPW transferred the educational responsibility for mentally handicapped persons to the Department of Education; in conjunction with the transfer, DPW furloughed certain employees who had been providing those educational services. The union grieved the furloughing of these employees, and, failing to resolve the issues surrounding those furloughs, the parties submitted the case to arbitration. (Application and Answer, para. 4.)

3. The arbitrator's disposition ordered that each of the furloughed employees be "made whole" for all backpay and benefits lost on account of improper terminations. There was no language of exception or limitation in regard to any furloughees either in the award ...


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