United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV, Atlanta, Georgia (Activity) and National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1907 (Union)



[ v05 p277 ]
05:0277(36)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 5 FLRA No. 36
 
 UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL
 PROTECTION AGENCY, REGION IV,
 ATLANTA, GEORGIA
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL
 1907
 Union
 
                                            Case No. 0-AR-88
 
                                 DECISION
 
    THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY ON AN EXCEPTION TO THE AWARD OF
 ARBITRATOR GEO. SAVAGE KING FILED BY THE UNION UNDER SECTION 7122(A) OF
 THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE (5 U.S.C.
 7122(A)).
 
    ACCORDING TO THE ARBITRATOR, THE DISPUTE IN THIS MATTER AROSE WHEN
 THE GRIEVANT WAS SUSPENDED FOR 14 DAYS FOR INSUBORDINATION AND FOR
 REFUSING TO CARRY OUT VERBAL AND WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS OF HIS SUPERVISOR.
  WHEN THE ACTIVITY'S REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR NOTIFIED THE GRIEVANT OF HIS
 SUSPENSION, HE ALSO APPRISED THE GRIEVANT OF HIS RIGHT TO FILE A
 GRIEVANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PARTIES' COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
 AGREEMENT.  THEREAFTER, THE GRIEVANT FILED A GRIEVANCE DISPUTING HIS
 SUSPENSION.  ALTHOUGH HE NOTIFIED HIS SUPERVISOR AND THE BRANCH CHIEF OF
 HIS GRIEVANCE, THE GRIEVANT SENT THE GRIEVANCE DIRECTLY TO THE REGIONAL
 ADMINISTRATOR.  HE CONTENDED THAT NEITHER HIS SUPERVISOR NOR THE BRANCH
 CHIEF HAD THE AUTHORITY TO REVERSE HIS SUSPENSION.  THE REGIONAL
 ADMINISTRATOR REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE GRIEVANCE ON THE GROUND THAT THE
 GRIEVANT HAD FAILED TO FOLLOW THE SPECIFIED PROCESSING STEPS OF THE
 NEGOTIATED GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE.  UNABLE TO RESOLVE WHETHER THE GRIEVANCE
 HAD BEEN PROPERLY FILED, THE PARTIES SUBMITTED TO ARBITRATION THE AGREED
 ISSUE OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE "PROCEDURAL STEPS FOR FILING (A) GRIEVANCE,
 ARTICLE VI 3;  A, B, C, D." IN ADDITION, THE UNION ALSO WANTED THE
 MERITS OF THE GRIEVANCE SUBMITTED TO THE ARBITRATOR AT THE SAME TIME.
 
    AT THE ARBITRATION HEARING, THE ARBITRATOR DETERMINED THAT THE FIRST
 QUESTION TO BE RESOLVED WAS THE PROCEDURAL ONE OF THE GRIEVANT'S
 COMPLIANCE WITH THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE.  IN ADDRESSING THIS PROCEDURAL
 ISSUE, THE ARBITRATOR STATED THE PERTINENT PORTION OF THE COLLECTIVE
 BARGAINING AGREEMENT TO BE ARTICLE VI, SECTION 3, WHICH PROVIDES IN
 RELEVANT PART:
 
                     ARTICLE VI - GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
 
    3.  PROCEDURES:
 
    A.  STEP 1.  THE GRIEVANCE SHALL FIRST BE TAKEN UP ORALLY BY THE
 CONCERNED EMPLOYEE WITH
 
    THE APPROPRIATE SUPERVISOR IN AN ATTEMPT TO SETTLE THE MATTER .  . .
 .
 
    B.  STEP 2.  IF THE MATTER IS NOT SATISFACTORILY SETTLED AT STEP 1,
 THE EMPLOYEE OR HIS
 
    UNION REPRESENTATIVE MAY, WITHIN FIVE (5) WORKING DAYS OF THE
 DECISION IN STEP 1, PRESENT THE
 
    GRIEVANCE IN WRITING TO THE BRANCH CHIEF OR EQUIVALENT . . . .
 
    C.  STEP 3.  IF THE WRITTEN DECISION OF THE BRANCH CH