American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1770, AFL-CIO (Union) and Headquarters XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg, N.C. (Activity)

 



[ v06 p348 ]
06:0348(62)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 6 FLRA No. 62
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
 (AFL-CIO) LOCAL 1770
 Union
 
 and
 
 HEADQUARTERS XVIII
 AIRBORNE CORPS AND
 FORT BRAGG, FORT BRAGG, N.C.
 Activity
 
                                            Case No. O-AR-162
 
                                 DECISION
 
    THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY ON AN EXCEPTION TO THE AWARD OF
 ARBITRATOR J. RALPH BEAIRD 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, THIS MATTER INVOLVED A DISPUTE BETWEEN
 THE ACTIVITY AND THE UNION AS TO WHETHER THE GRIEVANT WAS ENTITLED,
 UNDER THE PARTIES' COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT, TO HAVE THE OPTION
 OF TAKING LEAVE WITHOUT PAY RATHER THAN ANNUAL LEAVE TO ATTEND A UNION
 MEETING.  UNABLE TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE, THE PARTIES SUBMITTED THE
 FOLLOWING ISSUE TO ARBITRATION:
 
           DID (THE ACTIVITY) VIOLATE THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
 
    AGREEMENT WHEN IT DENIED GRIEVANT'S OCTOBER 29, 1979 REQUEST FOR
 LEAVE WITHOUT PAY?
 
    THE CONTRACT PROVISION INVOKED BY THE GRIEVANT AND BEFORE THE
 ARBITRATOR WAS ARTICLE XVII, SECTION 2 WHICH PROVIDES:
 
    SECTION 2.  THE UNION MAY DESIGNATE EMPLOYEE MEMBERS AS ELECTED OR
 APPOINTED
 
    REPRESENTATIVES TO A UNION ACTIVITY NECESSITATING A LEAVE OF ABSENCE.
  UPON WRITTEN
 
    NOTIFICATION TO THE EMPLOYER BY THE UNION, SUCH EMPLOYEES MAY BE
 GRANTED ANNUAL LEAVE OR LEAVE
 
    WITHOUT PAY PROVIDED HE CAN BE SPARED WITHOUT UNDUE INTERRUPTION TO
 THE OPERATION OF THE
 
    ORGANIZATIONAL ELEMENT IN WHICH HE IS EMPLOYED.
 
    THE ARBITRATOR FOUND THAT "(T)HE LANGUAGE OF THIS PROVISION IS CLEAR"
 AND THEREFORE, DUE TO ITS "DISCRETIONARY CHARACTER," THE GRIEVANT "WAS
 NOT ENTITLED, OF RIGHT, TO HIS REQUEST FOR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY ON OCTOBER
 29, 1979." THEREFORE, THE ARBITRATOR DENIED THE GRIEVANCE.
 
    THE UNION FILED AN EXCEPTION TO THE ARBITRATOR'S AWARD UNDER SECTION
 7122(A) OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE /1/
 AND PART 2425 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS, 5 CFR PART 2425.
  THE AGENCY FILED AN OPPOSITION.
 
    IN ITS EXCEPTION THE UNION CONTENDS THAT THE ARBITRATOR'S AWARD IS
 CONTRARY TO THE FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL (FPM).  IN SUPPORT OF THIS
 EXCEPTION THE UNION ASSERTS THAT THE FPM PROVIDES AN EXAMPLE OF A
 SITUATION, SIMILAR TO THE FACTS IN THIS CASE, IN WHICH IT IS PROPER TO
 APPROVE LEAVE WITHOUT PAY.  FURTHER, THE UNION ARGUES THAT THE OPTION OF
 UNION REPRESENTATIVES TO USE EITHER ANNUAL LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY
 "HA(D) NEVER BEEN QUESTIONED BY MANAGEMENT" BEFORE THE GRIEVANCE IN THIS
 CASE AND THAT THE ARBITRATOR FAILED TO CONSIDER