17:0315(44)AR - Corps of Engineers, Army Engineer District, New Orleans, LA and NFFE Local 1124 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR



[ v17 p315 ]
17:0315(44)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 17 FLRA No. 44
 
 CORPS OF ENGINEERS
 U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT,
 NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1124
 Union
 
                                            Case No. O-AR-673
 
                                 DECISION
 
    This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to a clarified
 award of Arbitrator John F. Caraway filed by the Union under section
 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and
 part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
 
    The dispute in this matter concerns the Arbitrator's clarification of
 his award.  The issue submitted to arbitration was whether there was
 just cause for the Activity's suspension of the grievant for two days
 for disruptive conduct.  The Arbitrator determined that there were
 mitigating circumstances involved and concluded that while the Activity
 did not have just cause to suspend the grievant, it had just cause to
 issue a "letter of warning" for the misconduct.  The Arbitrator
 therefore essentially directed the Activity to rescind the suspension
 and place a "letter of warning" in the grievant's official personnel
 folder (OPF).  The Activity subsequently requested the Arbitrator to
 clarify the intent of his award, pointing out that under the pertinent
 provision of the parties' agreement, a "letter of warning" could not be
 placed in an employee's OPF and that a "letter of reprimand" could be so
 filed.  In reply, the Arbitrator advised the parties that the intent of
 his award was that a "letter of reprimand" be issued and placed in the
 grievant's personnel folder.
 
    In its first two exceptions, the Union contends that the Arbitrator's
 award as clarified is contrary to law and the parties' agreement and
 that the Arbitrator exceeded his authority.  More specifically, the
 Union argues that under sections 7121 and 7122 of the Statute and a
 corresponding provision of the agreement, the Arbitrator's award was
 final when issued, subject only to subsequent action by the Authority
 upon the filing of exceptions by a party to the case, and, therefore,
 that the Arbitrator was without authority to clarify the award once it
 was issued.  However, the Authority concludes that the Union has failed
 to establish that the Arbitrator's award as clarified is deficient as
 alleged.  Neither section 7121 nor section 7122 prohibits the correction
 or clarification of an award by an arbitrator subsequent to its
 issuance.  Additionally, the Union has failed to establish that there
 was any express limitation in the parties' collective bargaining
 agreement, or in any other formal agreement such as a grievance
 submission agreement, on the authority of the Arbitrator to clarify the
 intent of his award after it was issued.  Moreover, contrary to the
 Union's assertions, an arbitrator's authority is not always immediately
 terminated upon issuance of an award.  Rather, it is generally
 recognized that an arbitrator has the authority to correct or clarify an
 award in a number of circumstances.  See Audie L. Murphy Veterans
 Administration Hospital, San Antonio, Texas and American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3511, 15 FLRA No. 60 (1984);  La
 Vale Plaza, Inc., v. R.S. Noonan, Inc., 378 F.2d 569 (3rd Cir. 1967);
 O. Fairweather, Practice and Procedure in Labor Arbitration, 579-83 (2d
 ed. 1983).
 
    In its third exception, the Union argues that it was denied a fair
 hearing and that the Arbitrator was biased in favor of management in the
 clarification process.  However, the Authority concludes that the Union
 has failed to substantiate that it was denied a fair hearing or that the
 Arbitrator was biased in this case.  Thus, the Union has failed to
 establish that the Activity's request for clarification of the remedy it
 was directed to implement was in any way improper or that the
 Arbitrator's clarification resulted in any prejudice to any rights of
 the Union in this matter.  It is clear that the Arbitrator's
 clarification conforms to his originally expressed intent to document
 the grievant's misconduct in her personnel folder and that the award as
 clarified was based on the testimony and evidence presented by the
 parties prior to the clarification.  Consequently, the Union's
 assertions in support of this exception provide no basis for finding the
 clarified award deficient.  E.g., Veterans Administration and American
 Federation of Government Employees, Local 997, 8 FLRA 238 (1982).
 
    In its fourth exception, the Union alleges that the Arbitrator's
 clarification was untimely because it was issued after the date assigned
 by the American Arbitration Association for the issuance of an award in
 this matter.  However, it is clear that the award was rendered before
 the assigned date.  Moreover, even assuming that the date was also
 applicable to any post-award clarification, the Union's exception
 provides no basis for finding an award deficient under section 7122(a)
 of the Statute.  Social Security Administration and American Federation
 of Government Employees, Local 1923, AFL-CIO, 7 FLRA 544, 547 (1982).
 See also, Fairweather, supra, at 569-70, 621-23.
 
    Accordingly, the Union's exceptions are denied.  Issued, Washington,
 D.C., March 26, 1985
                                       Henry B. Fraz