19:0246(29)AR - SSA, Office of Assessment, Office of Field Operations and AFGE, National Council of SSA Field Assessment Locals -- 1985 FLRAdec AR
[ v19 p246 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
19 FLRA No. 29 SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, OFFICE OF ASSESSMENT, OFFICE OF FIELD OPERATIONS Activity and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SSA FIELD ASSESSMENT LOCALS Union Case No. O-AR-943 DECISION This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator Sinclair Kossoff 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 dispute before the Arbitrator concerned the Activity's implementation of revised performance standards for the position of quality review specialist. A grievance was filed and submitted to arbitration contending that the new performance standards "violate the statutory requirement concerning use of single and multiple performance standards under non-SES performance systems as well as the National Agreement between SSA and AFGE dated June 11, 1982, Articles 1, 2, 3, and 21." The Arbitrator first determined that the grievance was arbitrable notwithstanding the Activity's contention that the revised standards had not been applied to any employee. On the merits, the Arbitrator determined that one of the revised performance standards violated the parties' collective bargaining agreement and ordered that it be revised in accordance with his opinion accompanying the award. As one of its exceptions, the Agency contends that by finding the grievance arbitrable, the award is contrary to section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute. The Authority agrees. Although the Authority has held that a grievance challenging the application of performance standards to a particular employee does not interfere with the exercise of management rights under the Statute, e.g., American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 32 and Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C., 3 FLRA 784, 789-94 (1980), the Authority has uniformly found deficient, as contrary to management's right to direct employees and to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute, arbitration awards which have determined grievances challenging an agency's establishment of performance standards to be grievable and arbitrable, National Treasury Employees Union and U.S. Customs Service, 17 FLRA No. 12 (1985); American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1917 and United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, 15 FLRA No. 147 (1984) (both cases citing American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1968 and Department of Transportation, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, Massena, New York, 5 FLRA 70, 79-80 (1981), aff'd sub nom. AFGE Local 1968 v. FLRA, 691 F.2d 565 (D.C. Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 926 (1983)). In terms of this case, contrary to the Union's argument that the grievance merely objected to the procedure used to adopt the revised standards, the grievance plainly objected to the content of the revised standards and directly challenged the Activity's exercise of its authority to establish new standards. Consequently, the Authority concludes that the award, by finding the grievance arbitrable and resolving the grievance on the merits, is deficient in its entirety as contrary to section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute. Accordingly, the award is set aside. /1/ Issued, Washington, D.C., July 22, 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 unnecessary for the Authority to address the Agency's other exceptions to the award.