Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in the case of Crestwood School District v. Crestwood Education Association and Frank J. Reatini, No. 2363-C-1986.
A. Martin Herring, Herring and Donahue, for appellants.
Joseph B. Farrell, for appellee.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 554]
Crestwood Education Association and Frank J. Reatini (Appellants) have appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County which reversed an arbitrator's award granting Appellants' two grievances. We reverse.
Appellants initially filed two grievances on behalf of Frank Reatini because he was not appointed to either of two open coaching positions with the Crestwood School District (school district). Appellants alleged that by not appointing Frank Reatini to either position the school district was violating Article XII, Section 1(c)*fn1 of the parties' Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in that Mr. Reatini was better qualified than the individuals appointed to those positions. Appellants further alleged that even if Mr. Reatini's qualifications were merely
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 555]
equal to those of the appointed coaches, he, nonetheless, should have been appointed to the position because he had greater seniority.
After hearing from the parties, the arbitrator determined that the school district had impermissibly ignored Basic Education Memorandum 19 (Memo 19)*fn2 by hiring two non-certificated individuals to fill the coaching positions rather than hire Mr. Reatini, a certified teacher with the school district.
On appeal, the common pleas court reversed the arbitrator's award concluding that the award did not draw its essence from the CBA because the arbitrator had reached his decision by interpreting Memo 19 rather than by interpreting the CBA.
Appellants argue here that although the arbitrator considered Memo 19 in reaching his decision, the award, nonetheless, was based on a reasonable interpretation of the CBA and therefore should be reinstated.
We note that in a case such as this where the arbitrator is required to interpret a CBA and determine the parties' intent, the arbitrator's award is considered to be based on the resolution of a factual question and must be upheld by the court if it draws its essence from the CBA. Upper Merion Area School District ...