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Borough v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

December 4, 2014

Chambersburg Borough, Petitioner
v.
Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, Respondent

Submitted: June 6, 2014

Page 213

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 214

Appealed from No. PF-C-11-174-E and PF-C-12-40-E. State Agency Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

Scott T. Wyland, Harrisburg, for petitioner.

John B. Neurohr, Chief Counsel, and Warren R. Mowery, Jr., Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.

John B. Neurohr, Chief Counsel, and Warren R. Mowery, Jr., Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.

BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉ E COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 215

COHN JUBELIRER, JUDGE

In these consolidated appeals, Chambersburg Borough (Borough) petitions for review of the Final Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) dismissing the Borough's exceptions and making absolute and final the Proposed Decisions and Orders entered in Case Nos. PF-C-11-174-E and PF-C-12-40-E .[1] The Borough asserts that the Board erred by: (1) failing to find that the labor organization representing the Borough's firefighters committed an unfair labor practice by coercing volunteer firefighters into refraining from responding to fires in the Borough; and (2) by finding that it committed an unfair labor practice when it disciplined its shift captain for issuing, on behalf of the labor organization, a letter coercing the volunteer firefighters into refraining from responding to fires. Because we conclude that the Board erred, we reverse.

Local 1813 Union (Union) is a chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF),[2] and serves as the bargaining unit for twenty-one full-time firefighters employed by the Borough. (Final Order at 1.) The Borough and the Union had a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in effect which governed their employment relationship through the beginning of 2012. (Final Order at 2.)

In addition to paid firefighters, the Borough's fire department utilizes the services of four volunteer fire companies: Franklin Fire Company No. 4 (Franklin); Junior Hose and Truck Company No. 2 (Junior Hose); Goodwill Fire Company No. 3 (Goodwill); and Cumberland Valley Fire Company No. 5 (Cumberland Valley). (Final Order at 1.) Junior Hose, Goodwill, and Cumberland Valley all operate out of the Borough's fire station, and use Borough-owned equipment. (Final Order at 2.) Franklin operates from its own separate building located in the Borough and uses its own equipment. (Final Order at 2.) Franklin is the only company in the Borough that has heavy rescue equipment, which is capable of freeing people who are trapped in vehicles or buildings. (Final Order at 2.) The Borough does not exert any administrative control over the Franklin volunteers. (Final Order at 2.) None of the active volunteers at Junior Hose, Goodwill, or Cumberland Valley are members of the IAFF. (Final Order at 2.) Franklin has fourteen active volunteers who respond to calls within the Borough, and twelve of those ...


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