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Neshaminy Federation of Teachers Local Union 1417 v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board

December 8, 2009

NESHAMINY FEDERATION OF TEACHERS LOCAL UNION 1417, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Leavitt

Argued: November 10, 2009

BEFORE: HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge, HONORABLE JAMES R. KELLEY, Senior Judge, HONORABLE JIM FLAHERTY, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, Local Union No. 1417 (Union) petitions for review of a final order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) that dismissed exceptions filed by Union and made final the decision of the Board not to issue a complaint on a charge of unfair labor practices against the Neshaminy School District (District). The main issue presented is whether, for purposes of maintaining the status quo following expiration of a collective bargaining agreement, the District was obligated to continue making periodic wage adjustments based upon additional academic credits earned by its teachers in the preceding year. Finding no error by the Board, we affirm its order.

Union is the exclusive bargaining representative of the District's teachers and other professional employees under the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA).*fn1 Union and the District were parties to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that expired on June 30, 2008. Article VI of the CBA governs wages and establishes a yearly salary schedule for the six-year term of the agreement. Each salary schedule contains 11 steps for vertical placement, which correspond with the member's prior teaching experience, and 10 columns for horizontal placement. Horizontal placement on the schedule correlates with the member's professional degree and certification.

Sections 6-2 and 6-3 of the CBA establish guidelines for horizontal placement on the salary schedule. More specifically, Section 6-2.2 states:

Horizontal placement is determined by degree and accreditation at the beginning of each school year or at the time interim evaluations are made of credits officially accepted for salary credit in accordance with the regulations herein contained.

Reproduced Record at 27a (R.R. __). Section 6-3.6 provides as follows for evaluation of credits offered for salary consideration:

Credits offered for salary consideration under the provisions of this ARTICLE shall be reviewed three times a year.

A. July 15 -- credits evaluated as of this date shall be added to the annual salary for the next school year.

B. October 15 -- credits evaluated as of this date shall be added to the annual salary for the school year. Payment for the additional salary earned during the months of July through October shall be paid on the second pay period in November.

C. March 15 -- credits evaluated as of this date shall be awarded half-salary credit for the current school year and be added to the annual salary for the next school year. The half-year improvement shall be paid in a lump sum on the second pay period in April.

R.R. 27a-28a.

When the CBA expired on June 30, 2008, the District ceased making any wage adjustments, including adjustments based on academic credits. On September 26, 2008, Union filed a charge of unfair labor practices with the Board. Union claimed that the District had violated Article VI of the CBA when it failed to adjust the teachers' salaries on July 15, 2008. This failure to abide by the CBA ...


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