19:0392(53)AR - VA Medical Center, Lebanon, PA and AFGE Local No. 1966 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR
[ v19 p392 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
19 FLRA No. 53 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER, LEBANON, PENNSYLVANIA Activity and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL NO. 1966 Union Case No. O-AR-922 DECISION This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator John Paul Simpkins 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. According to the Arbitrator, the grievance in this case challenged management's right to reschedule employees working tours of duty from 4 p.m. to midnight and midnight to 8 a.m. to the day shift for formal training. As a result of the rescheduling, affected employees did not receive their normal night differential pay. The Arbitrator determined that the parties' collective bargaining agreement prevented management from assigning employees to the day shift for training and that consequently the Activity violated the agreement by having done so. Accordingly, as his award, the Arbitrator awarded backpay for lost earnings to employees who had already received the disputed training during the day shift, and he ordered as to such employees who had not yet received the training that they receive the training on their regular night tour of duty. As one of its exceptions, the Agency contends that the award is contrary to management's right to assign work pursuant to section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute. The Authority agrees. The Authority has repeatedly recognized that the plain language of section 7106 provides that "nothing" in the Statute shall "affect the authority" of an agency to exercise the rights enumerated in that section. E.g., 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 (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). Therefore, the Authority has consistently held that no arbitration award may interpret or enforce a collective bargaining agreement so as to improperly deny an agency the authority to exercise its rights under that section or result in the substitution of the arbitrator's judgment for that of the agency in the exercise of those rights. Id.; National Treasury Employees Union and U.S. Customs Service, 17 FLRA No. 12 (1985); U.S. Customs Service, Laredo, Texas and Chapter 145, National Treasury Employees Union, 17 FLRA No. 17 (1985). Section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute, in particular, reserves to management officials the authority to assign work. Furthermore, the Authority has held that the assignment of training during the duty time of employees constitutes an exercise of management's right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute. E.g., National Association of Air Traffic Specialists and Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, 6 FLRA 588, 591 (1981). Encompassed within this right is the discretion to determine when such training shall be scheduled. International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO, CLC, Local F-116 and Department of the Air Force, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, 7 FLRA 752 (1982); International Association of Fire Fighters, Local F-48, AFL-CIO and Naval Support Activity, Mare Island Station, California, 3 FLRA 489 (1980) (proposal 2); International Association of Fire Fighters, Local F-61 and Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 3 FLRA 438 (1980) (proposal 1). In terms of this case, the Authority finds that the award is contrary to management's right to assign training encompassed within the right to assign work pursuant to section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute by having negated with respect to employees already trained management's scheduling and assignment of training to such employees on the day shift and by having restricted with respect to employees to be trained management's prerogative to assign such training on the day shift. Accordingly, the award is set aside. /1/ Issued, Washington, D.C., July 31, 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 to the award.