Does An Arbitrator Exceed His Authority If His Award Does Violence to the Language of Collective Bargaining Agreements ?

In Township of Ridley v. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 27, 718 A.2d 872, 875 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998), the Court held out the possibility that an award that does violence to the language of the collective bargaining agreements (CBA) can be set aside; however, we have never set aside an award for this reason. The most extreme example is Bensalem Township where this Court found that an arbitrator did not exceed his authority in awarding 21 months backpay even though the CBA expressly limited backpay to 12 months. Unless the arbitrator orders an illegal act or an act that the Commonwealth cannot do voluntarily, the arbitrator does not exceed his authority. Bensalem, 803 A.2d at 242. Thus, even where an arbitrator's award does violence to the words of the agreement, "we cannot say, unfortunately, that the arbitrator exceeded his authority." Id. at 242.