Argued June 16, 2014
Appealed from No. 2012-S-972. Common Pleas Court of the County of Adams. Kuhn, J.
Jason M. Weinstock, Harrisburg, for appellant.
Christopher P. Gabriel, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
BEFORE: HONORABLE BONNIE BRIGANCE LEADBETTER, Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge, HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local No. 776 (Union) appeals from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County (trial court) that granted the petition filed by the Borough of Gettysburg (Borough) seeking to partially vacate the interest arbitration award to the extent that it increased wages of the Borough police officers for the fiscal year 2011. The Union challenges the trial court's conclusion that the arbitration panel did not have jurisdiction to render such award under the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237, commonly known as Act 111, 43 P.S. § § 217.1 - 217.10. We affirm.
The record reveals the following relevant facts. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Borough and the Gettysburg Police Officers Association (Association), the former collective bargaining representative of the Borough police officers, was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009. In July 2009, the Borough and the Association began negotiating terms of a new CBA. The Union was subsequently elected as the Borough police officers' new collective bargaining representative and certified by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in February 2010.
On June 14, 2010, the Union's business agent, Mark Andreozzi, sent the Borough's counsel, Gretchen K. Love, Esquire, a letter inviting the Borough to begin collective bargaining for a new CBA. He enclosed a proposed CBA with the letter. Fifteen days later on June 29, the Union's counsel, Ira H. Weinstock, Esquire, asked the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to send him and Attorney Love a list of three arbitrators for an interest arbitration. Reproduced Record (R.R.) at 200a. In September, Andreozzi, Attorney Love and the Borough manager, Florence Ford, met for collective bargaining. Attorney Love subsequently received a list of three arbitrators from the AAA. She then sent Attorney Weinstock letters on November 18 and December 29, 2010, stating that the Borough would not participate in selecting a panel of arbitrators because the Union failed to follow the required time frame in Act 111 in obtaining the list of arbitrators and that the Borough
was willing to continue to bargain in good faith, as required by Section 2 of Act 111, 43 P.S. § 217.2. R.R. at 202a, 204a and 205a.
In a memo sent to the Union on June 8, 2011, the Borough manager, Ford, proposed wage increases of 3% for 2011, 2% for 2012 and 2.5% for 2013 for the police officers, and their 10% pre-tax contribution towards health insurance. Union's Exhibit No. 2; R.R. at 349a. The Union rejected Ford's proposal. The Union's agent, Andreozzi, then sent Ford a letter on June 8, 2011, stating that the parties' good-faith negotiations resulted in a tentative agreement, except compensation, insurance, clothing and equipment, pension, and the term of an agreement. Union's Exhibit No. 4; R.R. at 535a. He further stated that the parties had agreed that " the next natural and logical step in pursuing a final remedy [was] to use the existing list of Arbitrators." Id. Attorney Love responded that the Borough was willing to participate in an interest arbitration utilizing the arbitration panel obtained in November 2010, but that the Borough " reserve[d] its right to raise any and all procedural deficiencies as part of this process." Attorney Love's June 16, 2011 Letter (Borough's Exhibit No. 2); R.R. ...