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WILKINSBURG-PENN JOINT WATER AUTHORITY v. UTILITY WORKERS UNION AMERICA (11/22/89)

decided: November 22, 1989.

WILKINSBURG-PENN JOINT WATER AUTHORITY, APPELLANT,
v.
UTILITY WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, LOCAL 191, APPELLEE



Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Allegheny County, Honorable Ralph H. Smith, Jr., Judge.

COUNSEL

Stephen A. Zappala, Jr., Dattilo, Barry, Fasulo & Cambest, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

John Elash, for appellee.

Craig and Doyle, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge. Barry, J., did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Doyle

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 562]

Before us for consideration is an appeal by the Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority (Authority) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which dismissed the Authority's petition to vacate and/or modify an arbitrator's award, and granted a petition to confirm the award filed by the Utility Workers Union of America, Local 191 (Union). We affirm.

This case had its genesis in a grievance filed by the Union pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Agreement)

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 563]

    between the parties.*fn1 The facts are as follows.

For a period of approximately twenty-five years, the Authority scheduled meter reader-repairmen (repairmen) to work all weekend shifts in addition to their regular Monday through Friday shifts. The repairmen read meters during the week and repaired them on the weekend shifts; they also performed additional duties which included answering telephone service requests.*fn2

The Authority provided no supervision on the weekend shifts, and it asserted that it began to detect abusive absenteeism by the repairmen on those shifts which resulted in increased overtime and decreased production. The Authority also asserted that due to technological changes in the meters over the twenty-five year period, it was now easier simply to replace totally, rather than repair, all of the meters.*fn3

Accordingly, at the regularly scheduled meeting between the Union's grievance committee and the Authority's General Manager held in February 1987, the Authority indicated its intention to effectuate a schedule change involving the repairmen. On September 4, 1987, the Authority notified the Union by memorandum of the following:

In accordance with Article Four, Section Six of the current collective bargaining agreement, notice is hereby given that effective with the first Monday in January 1988 (January 4, 1988), scheduling changes will occur which shall involve scheduling of the current three (3) weekend Meter Reader-Repairman shifts to the Monday through Friday ...


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