17:0955(126)AR - AFGE Local 3615 and SSA, Arlington, Virginia -- 1985 FLRAdec AR
[ v17 p955 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
17 FLRA No. 126 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3615 Union and SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA Activity Case No. 0-AR-618 DECISION This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator Jacob Seidenberg filed by the Agency under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. As relevant to the case before the Authority, the Arbitrator awarded as follows: We find that, despite our denial of the Grievance, the Union was required to expend official time in a matter that had antecedents in the Agency's technical breach of the Agreement. We, therefore, find that the Agency should not charge the Union any official time devoted to preparing and litigating this Grievance. In its exceptions the Agency contends, among other things, that to the extent the award prevents them from charging the Union any official time, it is contrary to section 7131(d) of the Statute. The Authority agrees. Section 7131(d) provides: Except as provided in the preceding subsections of this section-- (1) any employee representing an exclusive representative, or (2) in connection with any other matter covered by this chapter, any employee in an appropriate unit represented by an exclusive representative, shall be granted official time in any amount the agency and the exclusive representative involved agree to be reasonable, necessary, and in the public interest. Pursuant to section 7131(d) of the Statute, the parties negotiated provisions for official time, including the authorization of a limited amount of official time for the processing of grievances. As explained by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms v. FLRA, 104 S.Ct. 439 (1983), union representatives granted official time under section 7131 when they otherwise would be in a duty status are entitled to receive their normal salary compensation without charge to leave. Thus, by being granted official time in order to process grievances, union representatives are not penalized by a loss of salary because Congress equated the term "official time" to "paid time." BATF at 445 (citing H.R. Rep. No. 95-1403, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 58 (1978)). Indeed, it is only by virtue of being granted official time that employees acting as union representatives engaged in the processing of grievances when they otherwise would be in a duty status, as herein, receive their normal salary compensation without charge to leave. By directing that the union representatives not be charged official time, and implicitly that they still receive normal salary compensation without charge to leave as if they were in a duty status, the award is deficient as contrary to section 7131 of the Statute. That is to say, in these circumstances, the union representatives must either be on official time or be in a leave status. Consequently, the award is modified by striking the quoted portion of award. /1/ Issued, Washington, D.C., May 9, 1985 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ In view of this decision, it is not necessary to address the other exceptions.