Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County in the case of West Shore School District v. West Shore Education Association, No. 1891 Civil, 1986.
Thomas A. Beckley, with him, Jeffrey W. Davis, Beckley & Madden, for appellant.
Thomas W. Scott, Killian & Gephart, for appellee.
Judges Doyle and Barry, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 99]
Appellant, West Shore School District (School District), appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County which sustained the arbitrator's award in a grievance proceeding pursued by appellee, West Shore Education Association (Association). We affirm.
The Association, which is the collective bargaining unit of the school teachers, entered into a collective bargaining agreement (agreement) with the School District. The Association filed this grievance on behalf of employees who were hired at what the Association believed
[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 100]
to be improper starting salaries under the wage provisions of the agreement. The agreement consists of seven different salary schedules. We are concerned here with the one called Bachelor's salary schedule which consists of twenty-one steps. Each step contains a specified salary, except step one, which specifies no salary and is left blank. The salary of step two is specified to be $16,100, and each step progresses to a higher salary.
The agreement also provides that at the time of initial employment, the employee and the School District shall agree upon the salary step upon which the employee is placed. The School District and Alfred Quigley, a music teacher with a Bachelor's degree, fixed his initial salary at $14,300. The Association claims that Quigley should have been started at $16,000.
The agreement provides for a grievance procedure in the event of a misunderstanding of any of the provisions. It states that the decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding, and that the arbitrator shall not modify the terms of the agreement.
Pursuant to section 903 of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.903, an arbitrator was appointed. He sustained the Association's grievance and held that the School District violated the agreement when it hired Quigley at $14,300. the common pleas court affirmed the decision of the arbitrator. There is no contention that the proper grievance procedure was not followed.
What the School District does contend is that the arbitration is governed by section 7302(d)(2) of the Uniform Arbitration Act, 42 Pa. C. S. § 7302(d)(2), wherein it is provided that the decision of the arbitrator must be examined to determine whether it is "deemed final." This is based on the proviso ...