18:0506(67)AR - VA Medical Center and AFGE Local No. 31 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR

[ v18 p506 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 18 FLRA No. 67
                                            Case No. 0-AR-794
    This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
 Arbitrator Samuel S. Perry 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.
    The grievance in this case concerns in relevant part the assignment
 of the grievants temporarily to an irregular tour of duty of
 Wednesday-Sunday instead of their regular tour of duty of Monday-Friday.
  A grievance was filed and submitted to arbitration claiming a violation
 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement when the assistant chief
 of engineering service barred the Union vice president from a meeting
 with the grievants on the proposed schedule change.  The Arbitrator
 ruled that the barring of the union official from the meeting violated
 the parties' collective bargaining agreement.  Because he determined the
 violation restricted the Union's opportunity to contribute to the
 discussion of the temporary schedule change, the Arbitrator awarded the
 grievants backpay in the amount of the difference in what they earned
 for the weekend work and the amount they would have earned had they been
 paid overtime for such work.
    In its exception, the Agency contends that the award of backpay is
 contrary to the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S.C. 5996.  The Authority agrees.
    The Authority has specifically held with respect to overtime pay that
 in order for an award of backpay to be authorized under the Back Pay
 Act, there must be not only a determination that the aggrieved employee
 was affected by an unjustified or unwarranted personnel action, but also
 a determination that such unwarranted action directly resulted in the
 withdrawal or reduction of overtime pay that the employee would
 otherwise have earned or received by performing overtime work.  E.g.,
 Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri and National
 Association of Government Employees, Local R14-116, 13 FLRA 703 (1984).
 In terms of this case, although the Arbitrator determined that the
 Activity had violated the agreement, constituting the unwarranted
 action, he failed to make the additional finding necessary to an
 authorized award of backpay.  Specifically, the Arbitrator did not find
 that the unwarranted action of restricting the Union's opportunity to
 contribute to the discussion of the temporary schedule change directly
 resulted in the failure of the grievan