20:0183(23)AR - OPM and AFGE, Local 32 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR



[ v20 p183 ]
20:0183(23)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


20 FLRA No. 23

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT 
Agency 

and 

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 32, AFL-CIO 
Union

                                      Case No. 0-AR-950

                                DECISION

   This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the interest
arbitration award of Arbitrator L. Lawrence Schultz 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 a negotiation impasse of
the parties.  The Federal Service Impasses Panel had directed that the
impasse be referred to an arbitrator who shall have the authority to
issue a binding decision resolving the impasse.  As his award pertaining
to union representation at classification desk audits, the Arbitrator
directed that Article 9, Section 4 of the parties' collective bargaining
agreement shall be as follows:

         When an employee believes that his/her position description or
      classification is inaccurate an attempt to resolve the issue will
      be made with the immediate supervisor.  If the difference cannot
      be resolved, OPM procedures for administrative review and
      classification appeal will be explained to the employee.  The
      employee may elect to be accompanied or assisted by a Local 32
      representative in dealings with the Employer concerning such
      administrative review and appeal.  Since a desk audit is a
      fact-finding procedure involving discussion between the employee
      and the classifier on matters specifically related to the job,
      there shall be the right to representation during a desk audit
      should the employee reasonably believe unfavorable action may
      occur.  In discussions with a classifier concerning a
      classification action particular to an employee's job, the
      employee has the right to Union representation.

   In its exception the Agency contends that the award is deficient as
contrary to the Statute and as in excess of the Arbitrator's authority.
Specifically, the Agency maintains that the Arbitrator's ultimate
determination in effect was that the Union had a right to be given an
opportunity to be represented pursuant to section 7114(a)(2)(B) of the
Statute /1/ at a classification desk audit and contends that such a
determination is inconsistent with the provisions of section 7114 and is
therefore in excess of the Arbitrator's authority.  In support of the
exception, the Agency cites American Federation of Government Employees,
AFL-CIO, Local 32 and Office of Personnel Management, 15 FLRA No.
158(1984) (proposal 1) for the proposition that although the matter of
union representation at a desk audit is within the duty to bargain, such
representation is not compelled by the Statute.  The Agency further
argues that section 7114(a)(2)(B) by its own terms does not apply to a
nondisciplinary classification desk audit.  Accordingly, the Agency
claims that the award must be set aside.

   With respect to the supporting arguments of the Agency in this
exception, the Authority agrees that section 7114(a)(2)(B) by its own
terms does not apply to a nondisciplinary classification desk audit and
that a union is not entitled under that provision to be represented at
such a desk audit.  However, the Authority concludes that the exception
provides no basis for finding the award of the Arbitrator deficient.
The award resolved the negotiation impasse by providing that Article 9,
Section 4 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement shall be as
proposed by the Agency, but with a right to union representation during
a desk audit should the employee reasonably believe unfavorable action
may occur.  As recognized by the Agency in its citation to AFGE Local
32, a provision in a collective bargaining agreement for a right to
union representation at a desk audit is in no manner contrary to the
Statute.  Thus, the entire focus of the Agency's exception is on the
deficiency of the reasoning and conclusions of the Arbitrator stated in
his discussion accompanying the award rather than the deficiency of the
award.  In this respect the Authority uniformly has held that
disagreement with an arbitrator's reasoning and conclusions provides no
basis for finding an award deficient.  See Internal Revenue Service,
Jacksonville District and National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 93,
15 FLRA No. 93(1984) (wherein the Authority concluded that the Union's
exceptions constituted nothing more than disagreement with the reasoning
and conclusions of the arbitrator because the exceptions failed to
establish that the arbitrator's reference to subjective considerations
under section 7114(a)(2)(B) substantiated that the denial of the
grievances was contrary to the Statute).  Furthermore, the Authority has
specifically held that it is the award rather than the specific
reasoning and conclusions employed by the arbitrator that is subject to
review under the Statute.  American Federation of Government Employees,
AFL-CIO, Local 987 and Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins Air
Force Base, Georgia, 3 FLRA 549(1980).  Thus, in terms of this case, the
Agency has failed to establish that the award directing that Article 9,
Section 4 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement shall be as
ordered by the Arbitrator is contrary to the Statute or in excess of the
Arbitrator's authority.  Accordingly, the exception is denied.

   Issued, Washington, D.C., Se