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AMERICAN FEDERATION STATE v. LEHIGH COUNTY (05/05/88)

decided: May 5, 1988.

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, DISTRICT COUNCIL 88, LOCAL 543, AFL-CIO, APPELLANT
v.
LEHIGH COUNTY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County in case of County of Lehigh v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 88, Local 543, AFL-CIO, No. 82-C-2771.

COUNSEL

Alaine S. Williams, Kirschner, Walters & Willig, for appellant.

Wilbur C. Creveling, Jr., with him, Kathleen M. Collins and Patrick J. Reilly, Assistant County Solicitors, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Dissenting Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.

Author: Craig

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 643]

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, District Council 88, Local 543,

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 644]

AFL-CIO (AFSCME), appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County denying AFSCME's motion to hold the County of Lehigh in contempt of court.

The sole issue for this court's consideration is whether the amount of the 1982 increase in wages for county corrections officers, mandated by an arbitration award, must be included as part of the officers' base salary in subsequent years.

In 1982, AFSCME won an arbitration award for the prison guards of Lehigh County which required the county to give the guards an 8% wage increase in each of the years 1982, 1983, and 1984. The trial court affirmed the award of one 8% increase for 1982, but reversed the award as to 1983 and 1984. Both AFSCME and Lehigh County appealed. This court affirmed the decision of the trial court. County of Lehigh v. AFSCME, 95 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 486, 505 A.2d 1104 (1986).

The parties stipulated the following facts. Although, as noted above, no arbitration award compelled raises after 1982, the county granted raises in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 to the corrections officers, in percentages elected by the county. In 1983, in calculating the base salary of the officers for the purpose of the new percentage increase, the county did not include that portion of the officers' 1982 salaries attributable to the arbitration award. Historically, the county had always included increases from previous years. Moreover, the county did compute all the actual increases given from 1984 to 1986 upon a base salary which included the actual, county-determined increases of the previous years.

On January 2, 1987, after this court's previous decision, the County of Lehigh made a lump sum payment to the corrections officers for 1982, reflecting the difference ...


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