19:0046(5)AR - VA Medial Center, Lincoln, NE And AFGE Local No. 2219 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR

[ v19 p46 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 19 FLRA No. 5
                                            Case No. O-AR-924
    This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
 Arbitrator Russell C. Neas filed by the Activity under section 7122(a)
 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425
 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
    The parties submitted several issues to arbitration, one of which the
 Arbitrator framed as whether management violated the parties' collective
 bargaining agreement by refusing to negotiate over changes in the
 incentive award system.  The Arbitrator determined that the criteria
 governing incentive awards is a mandatory subject of bargaining and that
 consequently the Activity violated the parties' agreement when it
 refused to bargain over modifications or substitutions of criteria
 governing incentive awards.  Accordingly, the Arbitrator awarded, in
 pertinent part, as follows:
          Management violated the Contract by refusing to negotiate with
       the Union over changes in the Incentive Awards System.  Management
       is hereby directed, upon request by the Union, to bargain in good
       faith concerning any proposed changes or changes implemented since
       March 19, 1984.
    In one of its exceptions, the Activity contends that the award is
 contrary to section 7106(a) of the Statute.  Specifically, the Agency
 maintains on the basis of Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration
 Medical Center, Clarksburg, West Virginia and American Federation of
 Government Employees, Local 2384, 15 FLRA No. 74 (1984), that the award
 is deficient as contrary to section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the
 Statute.  The Authority agrees.
    In Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center the
 Authority found deficient an arbitration award ordering the activity to
 negotiate with the union concerning the decision of the activity to
 modify the criteria governing incentive awards.  In this respect the
 Authority explained that an integral aspect of management's exercise of
 its right to direct employees under section 7106(a)(2)(A) and to assign
 work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) is to prescribe the standards which an
 employee must attain in order to be eligible for a reward for superior
 performance.  Id. at 5 (citing National Treasury Employees Union and
 Internal Revenue Service, 14 FLRA 463 (1984) (proposals 1-2)).  Thus,
 the Authority ruled that the arbitration award was deficient as contrary
 to sec