Crawford County v. Pennsylvania Labor relations Board and AFSCME, District Council 85

Crawford County unilaterally implemented a no-smoking policy in the jail facility on July 1, 1991.  The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) ruled that the county, by doing so without bargaining in good faith, committed an unfair labor practice in violation of the Public Employee Relations Act (PERA), 43 P.S. sec. 1201(a)(5).  The PLRB concluded that the county failed to meet its burden to show that its unilateral policy was a matter of inherent managerial prerogative within 43 P.S. sec. 1101.702.  The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania upheld the PLRB’s decision, ruling that “the PLRB acted reasonably in concluding that the County committed an unfair labor practice by unilaterally implementing  a total no-smoking ban on July 1, 1991.”  The court also ruled that the union’s acquiescing to previous smoking restrictions at the jail, “did not constitute a waiver of its right to bargain over the present total no-smoking ban….”  The court also rejected the county’s argument that it cannot perform its mission without such a smoking ban.

AFL-CIO, 659 A.2d 1078, 1995 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 256.