Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation, Tampa, Florida (Activity) and Federal Aviation Science and Technological Association, National Association of Government Employees, Tampa, Florida (Union)

 



[ v08 p532 ]
08:0532(103)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 8 FLRA No. 103
 
 FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION,
 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
 TAMPA, FLORIDA
 Activity
 
 and
 
 FEDERAL AVIATION SCIENCE
 AND TECHNOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION,
 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 TAMPA, FLORIDA
 Union
 
                                            Case No. O-AR-143
 
                                 DECISION
 
    THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY ON EXCEPTIONS TO THE AWARD OF THE
 ARBITRATOR ROGER C. WILLIAMS FILED BY THE AGENCY UNDER SECTION 7122(A)
 OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE (5 U.S.C.
 7122(A)) (THE STATUTE) AND PART 2425 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND
 REGULATIONS (5 CFR PART 2425).  THE UNION FILED AN OPPOSITION.
 
    ACCORDING TO THE ARBITRATOR, THE DISPUTE IN THIS MATTER AROSE WHEN
 THE GRIEVANT, A GS-11 ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN, FILED A GRIEVANCE ALLEGING
 THAT THE ACTIVITY HAD VIOLATED THE PARTIES' COLLECTIVE GUIDE, AND CIVIL
 SERVICE COMMISSION (OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT) POSITION
 CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS BY ASSIGNING HIM "SYSTEMS" CERTIFICATION
 RESPONSIBILITY WHEN SUCH RESPONSIBILITY WAS THE DUTY OF A GS-12
 ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN.  THE ACTIVITY DENIED THE GRIEVANCE ON THE BASIS
 THAT THE GRIEVANT'S WORK ASSIGNMENT, CONSISTENT WITH HIS POSITION
 DESCRIPTION AND HIS CLASSIFICATION AS A GS-11, INVOLVED ONLY GRIEVANCE
 ACTUALLY INVOLVED THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE GRIEVANT'S POSITION AND
 THEREFORE WAS EXCLUDED FROM THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE.  THE GRIEVANCE WAS
 ULTIMATELY SUBMITTED TO ARBITRATION WITH THE FOLLOWING ISSUES STIPULATED
 TO THE ARBITRATOR:
 
    (1) IS THE MATTER RAISED BY THE GRIEVANT GRIEVABLE AND/OR ARBITRABLE
 UNDER THE AGREEMENT?
 
    (2) IF SO, DOES THE GRIEVANT'S POSITION DESCRIPTION ACCURATELY
 REFLECT THE DUTIES OF HIS POSITION?
 
    THE ARBITRATOR FIRST FOUND THE ISSUE TO BE GRIEVABLE AND ARBITRABLE.
 WHILE NOTING THAT UNDER SECTION 7121(C)(5) OF THE STATUTE, /1/ "THE
 ARBITRATOR IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO RECLASSIFY GRIEVANT," HE FOUND THAT
 "(T)HE ISSUE ON THE MERITS WHICH THE PARTIES HAVE STIPULATED IS . . .
 GRIEVABLE AND ARBITRABLE, AND THE ARBITRATOR HAS AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE
 WHETHER OR NOT GRIEVANT'S POSITION DESCRIPTION ACCURATELY REFLECTS THE
 DUTIES OF HIS POSITION." /2/
 
    ON THE MERITS, THE ARBITRATOR FIRST NOTED THAT THE APPLICABLE PORTION
 OF THE POSITION DESCRIPTION FOR ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN GS-856-11, WHICH
 APPLIED TO THE GRIEVANT'S POSITION, PROVIDED IN PART:  "(A)SSUMES
 RESPONSIBILITY FOR . . . CERTIFICATION OF A NUMBER OF SUBSYSTEMS . . . "
 HE ALSO NOTED THAT THE COMPARABLE PORTION OF THE POSITION DESCRIPTION
 FOR ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN GS-856-12 PROVIDED:  "(A)SSUMES FULL AND
 INDEPENDENT CERTIFICATION RESPONSIBILITY FOR . . . TWO OR MORE COMPLEX
 ELECTRONICS SYSTEMS . . . ." THE ARBITRATOR STATED THAT THERE WAS NO
 DISPUTE OVER THE ACTUAL WORK WHICH THE GRIEVANT WAS REQUIRED TO PERFORM
 IN THE COMPLETION OF HIS DUTY ASSIGNMENT, INSTEAD THE DISPUTE CENTERED
 AROUND WHETHER THE EQUIPMENT ON WHICH THE GRIEVANT WORKED CONSTITUTED
 "SYSTEM," AS CONTENDED BY THE UNION, OR "SUBSYSTEMS," AS CONTENDED BY
 THE ACTIVITY.  THE ARBITRATOR FOUND THAT THE UNION HAD SHOWN "BY A
 PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE" THAT THE EQUIPMENT WHICH THE GRIEVANT
 WORKED ON CONSTITUTED "SYSTEMS" AND THAT THEREFORE HIS POSITION
 DESCRIPTION DID NOT ACCURATELY REFLECT THE DUTIES OF HIS POSITION.  HE
 THEREFORE MADE THE FOLLOWING AWARD:
 
    THE GRIEVANCE IS SUSTAINED.  THE EMPLOYER WILL EITHER (1) MODIFY
 GRIEVANT'S ASSIGNED JOB
 
    DUTIES TO CONFORM WITH THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES DESCRIBED -N
 HIS POSITION DESCRIPTION
 
    NO. SO-6879, OR (2) MODIFY GRIEVANT'S POSITION DESCRIPTION TO CONFORM
 TO THE FACT THAT HE IS
 
    ASSIGNED CERTIFICATION RESPONSIBILITY FOR TWO SYSTEMS.  GRIEVANT IS
 AWARDED NO BACK PAY.
 
    AS ONE OF ITS EXCEPTIONS, THE AGENCY CONTENDS THAT THE AWARD IS
 CONTRARY TO SECTION 7121(C)(5) OF THE STATUTE.  IN SUPPORT OF THIS
 EXCEPTION THE AGENCY ARGUES THAT THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF THE GRIEVANCE
 WENT BEYOND THE ACCURACY OF THE GRIEVANT'S POSITION DESCRIPTION AND
 CLEARLY CONCERNED THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE GRIEVANT'S POSITION WAS
 ACCURATELY CLASSIFIED.  THEREFORE, THE AGENCY CONTENDS THAT THE
 ARBITRATOR'S FINDING THAT THE MATTER WAS ARBITRABLE AND HIS SUBSEQUENT
 DECISION ON THE MERITS IS CONTRARY TO SECTION 7121(C)(5) OF THE STATUTE
 WHICH EXCLUDES FROM THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE ANY GRIEVANCE CONCERNING
 THE
 CLASSIFICATION OF ANY POSITION WHICH DOES NOT RESULT IN THE REDUCTION IN
 GRADE OR PAY OF AN EMPLOYEE.
 
    THE AUTHORITY AGREES.  WHILE THE STIPULATED ISSUE BEFORE THE
 ARBITRATOR ONLY QUESTIONED THE ACCURACY OF THE GRIEVANT'S POSITION
 DESCRIPTION, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF THE GRIEVANCE
 CONCERNED THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE GRIEVANT'S POSITION BECAUSE THE
 SUBSTANCE OF THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES WAS THE GRADE LEVEL OF THE
 DUTIES ASSIGNED TO AND PERFORMED BY THE GRIEVANT.  THERE WAS NO DISPUTE
 IN THIS CASE AS TO THE GRIEVANT'S DUTIES AND NO DISPUTE THAT IN GENERAL
 UNDER THE AGENCY'S CLASSIFICATION OF ITS POSITIONS, EMPLOYEES WHO HAD
 CERTIFICATION RESPONSIBILITY FOR "SUBSYSTEMS" WERE CLASSIFIED AT ONE
 LEVEL WHILE EMPLOYEES WHO HAD CERTIFICATION RESPONSIBILITY FOR "SYSTEMS"
 WERE CLASSIFIED AT A HIGHER LEVEL.  THUS, THE ARBITRATOR RESOLVED THE
 TECHNICAL AND GRADE-CONTROLLING QUESTION IN DISPUTE OF WHETHER THE
 EQUIP