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PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIANS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/02/89)

decided: March 2, 1989.

PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION OF STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIANS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, in the matter of the employees of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, Eastern State School and Hospital.

COUNSEL

Samuel L. Spear, Spear, Wilderman, Sigmond, Borish, Endy and Silverstein, for petitioner.

John B. Neurohr, with him, James L. Crawford, for respondent.

Frank A. Fisher, Jr., Chief Counsel, with him, Robert F. Beck, Assistant Counsel, for intervenor, Office of Administration and Office of the Budget.

Judges Colins and Smith, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Smith. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case. Dissenting Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.

Author: Smith

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 29]

Petitioner, Pennsylvania Association of State Mental Hospital Physicians, appeals from the October 3, 1985 order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board)

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 30]

    clude certain psychiatric physicians at Eastern State School and Hospital (Eastern State) into Petitioner's bargaining unit previously certified by the Board. The decision of the Board is affirmed.

Issues presented for review are whether the Board erred in concluding that the employees at issue were managerial employees within the meaning of Section 301(16) of the Public Employee Relation Act (PERA);*fn1 and whether substantial evidence existed to support the conclusion that the physicians were managerial employees.

Petitioner was certified by the Board on November 10, 1972 as the exclusive representative of the Commonwealth's physicians as well as various other Commonwealth employees.*fn2 On October 15, 1980, Petitioner filed a petition for unit clarification with the Board to include psychiatric physicians II and child psychiatric physicians II as part of the existing bargaining unit comprised of professional employees. Petitioner amended its petition on April 27, 1981 to include psychiatric physicians III, and on May 11, 1982, the Commonwealth filed a petition for unit clarification to exclude child psychiatrists II and psychiatric physicians from the bargaining unit.

The hearing examiner issued a proposed order of unit clarification on July 27, 1983 in which he determined that the employees at issue were management level employees

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 31]

    within the meaning of Section 301(16) of PERA. Petitioner filed exceptions to the proposed order, and by Board order issued October 3, 1985, the proposed order was made final and absolute.

On appeal, this Court's scope of review is limited to determining whether there has been a constitutional violation, an error of law, or whether findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence of record. Russell v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Volkswagen of America), 121 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 436, 550 A.2d 1364 (1988); Harbaugh v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 107 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 406, 528 A.2d 1024 (1987). This Court has consistently deferred to the Board's expertise in determining the appropriateness of a bargaining unit and will not substitute its judgment for that of the Board. Chester Upland School District v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 110 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 439, 532 A.2d 925 (1987).

Petitioner initially argues that the Board erred in determining that the physicians who served as "team leaders" constituted managerial employees within the meaning of Section 301(16) of PERA.*fn3 Petitioner contends that the physicians at issue are not managerial employees because their input concerning policy matters is confined solely to their role in relation to the patient care process and that it was error for the Board to rely upon cases involving non-physicians to support its decision. In support of its position, ...


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