Appealing Lower Court's Order Affirming Arbitration Salary Award
In County of Allegheny v. Allegheny Court Association of Professional Employees, 517 Pa. 505, 539 A.2d 348 (1988), the Allegheny County Commissioners engaged in collective bargaining negotiations with a union representing a unit composed of professional employees of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. After the parties reached an impasse in the negotiation, the matter was referred to a panel of arbitrators pursuant to Section 805 of Act 195.
The panel issued an award setting forth a collective bargaining agreement which, inter alia, increased the salary scale and awarded a one-time cash bonus of $ 1,200.00 for all of the employees in the unit.
The Allegheny County Commissioners petitioned to review the award in the Court of Common Pleas, and passed a resolution declaring that implementation of the award would require a legislative enactment and was, therefore, only advisory under Section 805 of Act 195.
Ultimately, the Court of Common Pleas issued an opinion and order in which it determined, inter alia, that the Allegheny County Commissioners had not met their burden of proving that the implementation of the award required a legislative enactment under Section 805.
As a result, the court held that the award was binding and ordered the Allegheny County Commissioners to implement its salary and bonus provisions.
On appeal, this Court affirmed that portion of the lower court's order affirming the award's salary and bonus provisions and ordering the Allegheny County Commissioners to implement those provisions.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allowance of appeal to delineate the meaning of "legislative enactment" so as to differentiate those arbitration awards that are binding upopublic employers and employees under section 805 from those that are advisory only.
Specifically, we must determine whether an arbitration award increasing the salaries and awarding a one-time bonus to the court employees represented by appellee herein required "legislative enactment to be effective...."County of Allegheny, 517 Pa. at 508, 539 A.2d at 350.
In defining the parameters of what constitutes a legislative enactment under Section 805 of Act 195, the Supreme Court quoted the following from the opinion of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in pertinent part:
In November and December of each year, budget requests are made from the various departments or agencies in the county, which are compiled into the official county budget.
The rate of taxation is then set in order to provide funding for items in the budget. Thus, it is this process whereby "taxes are levied" and "funds are appropriated".
Of course, where the implementation of an arbitration award would require the local governmental body to levy further taxes in order to have funds to appropriate to such a line item, then the legislature cannot constitutionally be forced to take such action.... However, where there is money available in the government's general fund or from other items with surplus funds, we hold that in order to effectuate the policy and intent of Act 195, such money must administratively be transferred to fund a legally binding arbitration award. Id. at 514-516, 539 A.2d at 353-354.