Do Public Employees Have Standing to Enforce An Agreement When the Union Refused to Proceed to Arbitration ?
In Roderick v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 86 Pa. Commw. 278, 484 A.2d 841 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1984), the Court addressed the right of an individual member to request that the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) issue a complaint on charges of unfair labor practices.
Roderick and other Drug or Criminal Investigators for the Attorney General's Office (Roderick) filed grievances and alleged that they should have been placed in a higher job classification pursuant to Article 28 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Commonwealth and Roderick's union, the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (Union).
Following grievance arbitration, an award issued which recommended that the grievance be sustained because the duties, knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position of Special Agent in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Drug Investigator in the Bureau of Narcotics and Drug Control (Employer) were strikingly similar and the confidentiality and sensitivity required in each investigative matter must be judged on a case-by-case basis and recommended that Drug Investigator II in the Bureau of Narcotics and Drug Control be upgraded to Special Agent II.
Employer declined to reclassify the position and the Union refused to enforce the award.
Roderick filed unfair labor practices charges against the Employer and the Union.
The Secretary of the PLRB declined to issue a complaint because Roderick lacked standing on the basis that Section 1201(a)(5) of the Act, 43 P.S. 1101.1201(a)(5), "prohibits an employer from refusing to bargain collectively in good faith with the exclusive representative of employes.
The obligation to bargain collectively exists only between the certified representative and the employer." Roderick filed exceptions.
The PLRB's final order directed the Secretary not to issue a complaint. Roderick petitioned for review with this Court. Roderick, 484 A.2d at 842-843.
This Court affirmed:
The crucial question is whether petitioners have standing as individuals to bring these unfair practice charges to force the implementation of an arbitration decision when their union has refused to bring the action.
In McCluskey v. Department of Transportation, . . ., 37 Pa. Commw. 598, 391 A.2d 45 ([Pa. Cmwlth.] 1978), this court determined that an individual does not have the right to have his grievance arbitrated and that allowing this would seriously impair the process of collective bargaining between employers and unions.
Furthermore, in Ziccardi v. Commonwealth, 500 Pa. 326, 456 A.2d 979 (1982) our Supreme Court found that a public employee, ex parte, did not have standing to enforce an agreement when the union refused to proceed to arbitration, and that the union has broad discretion in determining whether or not to pursue the remedy.