American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1760, AFL-CIO (Union) and Department of Health and Welfare, Office of Program Centers of the Social Security Administration (Activity) 

 



[ v06 p271 ]
06:0271(46)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 6 FLRA No. 46
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1760, AFL-CIO
 Union
 
 and
 
 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION,
 AND WELFARE, OFFICE OF PROGRAM
 CENTERS OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY
 ADMINISTRATION
 Activity
 
                                            Case No. O-AR-140
 
                                 DECISION
 
    THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY ON AN EXCEPTION TO THE AWARD OF
 ARBITRATOR ERIC J. SCHMERTZ 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'S AWARD, THE DISPUTE IN THIS MATTER AROSE
 WHEN THE ACTIVITY IN AUGUST 1979 SUSPENDED THE GRIEVANT FOR TEN WORKING
 DAYS FOR VIOLATION OF A WORK RULE REQUIRING EMPLOYEES TO CALL IN ON DAYS
 THEY ARE TO BE ABSENT TO NOTIFY MANAGEMENT OF THE ABSENCE AND THE
 REASONS THEREFOR, AND TO SEEK LEAVE.  THE GRIEVANT FILED A GRIEVANCE
 DISPUTING THE SUSPENSION AND THE GRIEVANCE WAS ULTIMATELY SUBMITTED TO
 ARBITRATION.  THE PARTIES STIPULATED THE ISSUE BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR TO
 BE:
 
    WAS THE SUSPENSION OF (THE GRIEVANT) FOR TEN WORKING DAYS FOR JUST
 AND SUFFICIENT CAUSE AND
 
    TO PROMOTE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE SERVICE?  IF NOT WHAT SHALL BE THE
 REMEDY?
 
    THE ARBITRATOR NOTED THAT THE GRIEVANT CLAIMED THAT SHE HAD NOT BEEN
 INFORMED OF THE RULE, THAT AT TIMES SHE EITHER CALLED IN OR HAD A MEMBER
 OF HER FAMILY DO SO FOR HER, AND THAT AT TIMES SHE WAS SO ILL WITH
 "SWOLLEN GLAND" THAT SHE WAS UNABLE TO SPEAK ON THE TELEPHONE.  AFTER
 REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE BEFORE HIM, THE ARBITRATOR REJECTED THE
 GRIEVANT'S CONTENTIONS.  INSTEAD, HE DETERMINED THAT THE GRIEVANT HAD
 BEEN REPEATEDLY INFORMED OF THE RULE, BOTH ORALLY AND IN WRITING, AND
 THAT THE ACTIVITY'S RECORD-KEEPING SYSTEM, WHICH SHOWED NO RECORD OF HER
 HAVING CALLED IN, WAS COMPLETE AND ACCURATE.  FURTHER, IN THE ABSENCE OF
 EXPLICIT SUPPORTING MEDICAL EVIDENCE, THE ARBITRATOR REFUSED TO ACCEPT
 THE GRIEVANT'S CLAIM THAT HER "SWOLLEN GLAND" CONDITION MADE SPEAKING ON
 THE TELEPHONE IMPOSSIBLE.  NOTING THAT THE GRIEVANT HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY
 WARNED BOTH VERBALLY AND IN WRITING TO COMPLY WITH THE RULE, THE
 ARBITRATOR FOUND THAT A SUSPENSION WAS WARRANTED AND TEN WORKING DAYS
 WAS NOT EXCESSIVE.  ACCORDINGLY, AS IN HIS AWARD, THE ARBITRATOR RULED:
 
    THE SUSPENSION OF (THE GRIEVANT) FOR TEN WORKING DAYS WAS FOR JUST
 AND SUFFICIENT CAUSE AND
 
    WAS TO PROMOTE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE SERVICE.
 
    THE UNION FILED AN EXCEPTION TO THE ARBITRATOR'S AWARD UNDER SECTION
 7122(A) OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE /1/
 AND