12:0605(111)AR - Local 1919, AFGE and VA National Cemetery, Farmingdale, Long Island, NY -- 1983 FLRAdec AR



[ v12 p605 ]
12:0605(111)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 12 FLRA No. 111
 
 LOCAL 1919, AMERICAN
 FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES
 Union
 
 and
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
 NATIONAL CEMETERY,
 FARMINGDALE, LONG ISLAND,
 NEW YORK
 Activity
 
                                            Case No. O-AR-224
 
                                 DECISION
 
    This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of
 Arbitrator Herbert L. Haber filed by the Union under section 7122(a) of
 the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and
 part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.  The Agency filed an
 opposition.
 
    The parties submitted to arbitration the issue of whether the
 suspension of the grievant for 14 days was for good and sufficient
 cause.  As the basis for the suspension, the Activity had charged that
 the grievant on at least three occasions during a specified seven-month
 period opened the caskets of decedents to expose their remains as a
 prank and that a named maintenance worker on another occasion had
 observed the grievant open the casket of a decedent, grasp his necktie,
 and shake the body.  The Arbitrator first resolved the grievant's claim
 that the charges against him were impermissibly vague.  The Arbitrator
 rejected the claim finding that the record made it clear that the
 grievant was fully aware of the substance of the charges against him and
 further finding that the charge that the grievant had been observed on
 one occasion by another worker was sufficiently specific to enable the
 grievant to investigate the alleged incident and to prepare a defense.
 As to whether the suspension was warranted, the Arbitrator expressly
 determined that the "overwhelming weight of the evidence" demonstrated
 that the grievant was guilty of the charges against him and that the
 14-day suspension was reasonable.  Accordingly, as his award, the
 Arbitrator sustained the suspension.
 
    In its first exception the Union essentially contends that the award
 is contrary to law because the Arbitrator was required to apply a higher
 standard of proof than preponderance of the evidence.  The Authority
 concludes that this exception provides no basis for finding the award
 deficient.  As noted, the Arbitrator found that the grievant's
 suspension was supported by the "overwhelming weight of the evidence."
 Consequently, the Union does not establish that the award sustaining the
 suspension on this basis is contrary to law as not applying a high
 enough standard of proof.
 
    In its second exception the Union essentially contends that the award
 is contrary to law and governing regulation because the Arbitrator
 susta