Certifying Deputies As Guards In Pennsylvania

In Washington County v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Bd., 149 Pa. Commw. 603, 613 A.2d 670, 672 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1992), the Board certified the deputies as guards after finding that the deputies had provided security at Washington County's health center and jail during a strike against that county by its unionized employees. In that case, Washington County contended on appeal that the assignment of deputies to the picket line during the two-week strike did not justify the finding that the deputies are guards under Section 604(3). In Washington County, this Court noted that the Board conceded that "absent the evidence of assignment of the deputy sheriffs to the picket line during the strike, the Board would not have characterized the deputy sheriffs as guards." 613 A.2d at 673. On appeal, both the court of common pleas and this Court affirmed the Board's certification. In particular, this Court noted that during the strike against the County, "the deputy sheriffs who were also union members were assigned to the picket line on a twenty-four hour basis to protect County property and to secure free access to County facilities for other employees and the public." Id. "A deputy sheriff testified that on one occasion, he physically removed the picketers to permit vehicles to enter the County's health center." Id.