Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Huntingdon County in the case of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 83, AFL-CIO v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, No. 85-285.
Jonathon Walters, with him, Gary Gordon, and Alaine S. Williams, Kirschner, Walters & Willig, for appellant.
John B. Neurohr, with him, James L. Crawford, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 206]
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, District Council 83, AFL-CIO (AFSCME) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Huntingdon County (trial court) dismissing AFSCME's appeal from a decision of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) refusing to issue a complaint against Huntingdon County (Employer). We affirm.
AFSCME was the exclusive bargaining representative for a unit of prison employees in Huntingdon County. AFSCME and Employer were parties to a collective bargaining agreement. When the agreement expired, the parties engaged in negotiations for a successor agreement, but were not able to reach an agreement. After the parties submitted to mediation, a state mediator on December 19, 1983 declared that AFSCME and Employer had reached an impasse and directed the parties to proceed to binding interest arbitration as provided for in section 805 of the Public Employee Relation Act (PERA), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.805.*fn1
On January 9, 1984, the Independent Correctional Officers of Pennsylvania, Lodge No. 3 (ICOP) filed a representation petition with the Board seeking to represent the employees in the unit in question.*fn2 On February
[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 2076]
, 1984, the Board issued an order and notice of pre-hearing conference on the representation petition. On February 27, AFSCME requested Employer to select an arbitrator, but Employer refused.*fn3 Accordingly, on March 16, 1984, AFSCME filed unfair labor practice charges, alleging that Employer had violated sections 803 and 1201(a)(1), (2), and (5) of PERA.*fn4 Specifically, AFSCME contended that Employer's refusal to select an arbitrator and proceed to binding interest arbitration constituted an unfair labor practice.
By letter dated March 23, 1984, the Secretary of the Board declined to issue a complaint, concluding that Employer had not committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to select an arbitrator since there was a pending
[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 208]
question of representation at the time Employer was requested to choose an arbitrator. The Secretary noted that a question of representation is deemed to exist as of the date of the Board's notice that it will proceed to process a representation petition. The Secretary determined that because AFSCME requested Employer to select an arbitrator after the Board's order and notice of ...