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
 sustained the grievant's suspension despite charges which were
 impermissibly vague as to specific dates and places.  The Authority
 concludes that this exception provides no basis for finding the award
 deficient.  As noted, this contention was specifically presented to and
 expressly rejected by the Arbitrator.  The Union in repeating this
 contention in an exception to the award has failed to establish that the
 Arbitrator was compelled in the circumstances of this case to decide as
 a matter of law that the charges against the grievant were impermissibly
 vague and that consequently the Arbitrator's express determination to
 the contrary was deficient.  See Immigration and Naturalization Service
 and American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, 8 FLRA No. 53
 (1982), at 2.  Accordingly, it has not been shown that the award finding
 that the grievant was fully aware of the charges against him and further
 finding overwhelmingly that the suspension was warranted is in any
 manner contrary to law or governing regulation.
 
    In its third exception the Union principally contends that the
 Arbitrator disregarded the evidence and testimony on behalf of the
 grievant and credited the evidence and testimony on behalf of
 management.  The Authority concludes that the Union's contentions merely
 constitute disagreement with the Arbitrator's evaluation of the evidence
 and testimony, and therefore this exception provides no basis for
 finding the award deficient.  E.g., Veterans Administration and American
 Federation of Government Employees, Local 997, 8 FLRA No. 49 (198