Definition of ''Guards'' Under Section 604(3) of the Public Employe Relations Act
In Erie County Area Vo-Tech Sch. v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Bd., 52 Pa. Commw. 388, 417 A.2d 796 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1980) the Court stated that characterization of the employees as "guards" under Section 604(3) of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA) is not solely dependent on whether their main function is the enforcement of the employer's rules against other employees.
The critical element of the "guard" function is that the employees are responsible for enforcing the employer's rules to protect the employer's property.
During a strike or labor dispute this could mean possibly protecting the employer's property from striking employees; there the divided loyalty problems which necessitate the guards' exclusion from the bargaining unit could become apparent. Id. at 798.
Likewise, in Washington County v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Bd., 149 Pa. Commw. 603, 613 A.2d 670, 672 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1992) the Court recognized that the purpose of the requirement that guards be separated from other employees in collective bargaining is to ensure that during strikes or labor unrest, "the employer would have 'guards' who could enforce rules for the protection of property and safety of persons without being confronted with a division of loyalty between the employer and dissatisfied fellow union members." 613 A.2d at 673 (quoting Township of Falls, Bucks County v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Bd., 14 Pa. Commw. 494, 322 A.2d 412, 414 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1974)).