17:0955(126)AR - AFGE Local 3615 and SSA, Arlington, Virginia -- 1985 FLRAdec AR



[ v17 p955 ]
17:0955(126)AR
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 othe