Section 1301 of the Public Employe Relations Act
In Hollinger v. Department of Public Welfare, 469 Pa. 358, 365 A.2d 1245 (1976), our supreme court stated:
The starting point in a consideration of whether the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) has the exclusive power to determine the merits of a controversy ... between public employes and their employer (or between such employes and their collective bargaining representative) must be to ascertain whether the remedy sought is redress of an unfair labor practice.
If it is, then the PLRB is vested with exclusive original jurisdiction by Section 1301 of the Public Employe Relations Act Id. at 365, 365 A.2d 1248-49
Public Employe Relations Act Section 1301 of the Act provides:
The PLRB is empowered, as hereinafter provided, to prevent any person from engaging in any unfair practice listed in Article XII of this act.
This power shall be exclusive and shall not be affected by any other means of adjustment or prevention that have been or may be established by agreement, law, or otherwise. 43 P.S. 1101.1301.
Moreover, although section 1301 directly addresses the PLRB's power to prevent an unfair practice, that section also implicitly empowers the PLRB to determine the occurrence of an unfair practice. Id.
Thus, "jurisdiction to determine whether an unfair labor practice has indeed occurred ... is in the PLRB, and nowhere else." Id.
Simply because "the same act may give rise to both a violation of the collective bargaining agreement and an unfair labor practice, or that determination of whether an unfair labor practice has occurred may depend on interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement, does not oust the PLRB of jurisdiction." Millcreek Township School District v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 158 Pa. Commw. 156, 631 A.2d 734, 737 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1993), appeal denied, 537 Pa. 626, 641 A.2d 590 (1994); see also Hotel & Restaurant Employees International Union Local No. 391-AFL-CIO v. School District Allentown City, 702 A.2d 16 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1997).
Because the Union is seeking redress of allegedly unfair practices, the PLRB has exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether unfair practices have occurred. Section 1301 of the Act, 43 P.S. 1101.1301; Hollinger; Millcreek Township;
See also Hotel & Restaurant Employees (relying on Hollinger and stating that redress of conduct which even arguably constitutes an enumerated unfair practice is to be sought before the PLRB).
Exercising that jurisdiction, the PLRB concluded, based on the language of the LCA, that Employer's actions did not constitute an unfair practice.
The Court held that the PLRB did not err in so concluding.