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The School District of Philadelphia v. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

July 14, 2014

The School District of Philadelphia, Appellant
v.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Local 3

Argued: May 13, 2014.

Appealed from No. July Term, 2013, No. 00909. Common Pleas Court of the County of Philadelphia. Tucker, J.

Talib N. Ellison, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Ralph J. Teti, Philadelphia, for appellee.

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE RENÉ E COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge. OPINION BY PRESIDENT JUDGE PELLEGRINI. DISSENTING OPINION BY SENIOR JUDGE FRIEDMAN.

OPINION

PELLEGRINI, PRESIDENT JUDGE[1]

The School District of Philadelphia (District) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County (trial court) affirming an arbitrator's award which sustained the grievance filed by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers,

Page 1100

Local 3 (PFT) on behalf of Marshall Murphy and Valerie Polk (collectively, Grievants) following their layoffs from teaching positions at Mastbaum Vocational-Technical High School (Mastbaum). For the reasons that follow, we reverse the trial court's order and remand the case to the arbitrator for further proceedings.

Murphy and Polk occupied positions with the District since 1976 and 1977, respectively.[2] In June 2012, they received layoff notices indicating that the District was eliminating their positions due to a decline in student enrollment and that they were being furloughed. The PFT submitted a grievance, asserting that Grievants' job-secured positions could not be eliminated pursuant to Article IX, Section B(1) of the collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) between the District and the PFT, which provides:

1. The parties agree that all employees who were regularly appointed to a full-time and/or part-time position during the 1979-1980 school year ( i.e . September 1, 1979 to June 30, 1980) shall continue to be employed in their positions and be guaranteed full and complete job security during the term of this Agreement, except that in each job classification, employees may be laid off only in proportion to the projected decline in pupil enrollment as of the allotment date for each year of this Agreement, such layoff to be effective in any year only after giving notice to affected employees and to the Federation on or before June 30 of that year.
(Emphasis added.)

(Reproduced Record (R.R.) at 68a (emphasis added).) The parties submitted to arbitration.

Before the arbitrator, the parties stipulated that aside from the instant Grievants, " no other job secured teacher has ever been laid off in the School District of Philadelphia." (N.T., 11/20/12, at 12.) The parties also stipulated that the Grievants had the least seniority of all teachers teaching in the ...


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