20:0231(30)AR - VA and NFFE -- 1985 FLRAdec AR



[ v20 p231 ]
20:0231(30)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


20 FLRA No. 30

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION 
Agency 

and 

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL
EMPLOYEES 
Union 

                                                                      Case No. 0-AR-761

                                DECISION

   This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
Arbitrator Robert J. Ables filed by the Union 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 a Union proposal offered during
negotiations for a local supplementary agreement to the parties' master
agreement.  The Activity refused to negotiate contending that there was
no existing obligation to bargain, and as a result a grievance was filed
and submitted to arbitration claiming that in the circumstances
presented, there was an obligation to bargain under the master
agreement.  After examining the relevant provisions of the parties'
master agreement, the Arbitrator determined in the circumstances
presented that under the terms of the master agreement, arbitration was
not available to resolve the grievance.  He noted that in the master
agreement the parties had expressly agreed to resolve such disputes
before the Authority and not by means of arbitration.  Accordingly, as
his award, the Arbitrator denied the grievance.

   In its exception the Union contends that the award is deficient
because it is based on an erroneous interpretation of the Statute.
Specifically, the Union essentially argues that the Arbitrator
erroneously ruled that under section 7117 of the Statute, the parties'
dispute was subject to resolution by means of a petition for review of a
negotiability issue.

   The Authority concludes that the Union has failed to establish that
the award is based on an erroneous interpretation of the Statute.  As
noted, the Arbitrator expressly based his award on specific provisions
of the parties' master agreement;  he in no manner based his award on
provisions of the Statute.  In denying the grievance, the Arbitrator
determined in the circumstances presented that under the terms of the
master agreement, arbitration was not available to resolve the
grievance.  In this regard, the Authority has specifically recognized
that an arbitrator is empowered to resolve issues relating to the
interpretation of a master collective bargaining agreement including, as
in this case, issues relating to the obligation to bargain respecting a
local supplementary agreement under applicable provisions of the master
agreement.  Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center,
Clarksburg, West Virginia and American Federation of Government
Employees, Local 2384, 15 FLRA No. 74(1984).  Thus, the Union has not
shown in its exception in what manner section 7117 of the Statute
applies to render deficient the award which simply applies the express
agreement of the parties to a relevant factual situation.  Cf. Overseas
Education Association and Department of Defense Dependents Schools
(DODDS), Pacific Region, 13 FLRA 535(1983) (wherein an exception that
the award was contrary to section 7116(d) of the Statute was denied by
the Authority because the arbitrator expressly based his award on a
specific provision of the parties' agreement and because it had not been
shown that section 7116(d) applied to render deficient the award which
simply applied the express agreement of the parties to a relevant
factual situation).  Therefore, the exception constitutes nothing more
than disagreement with the Arbitrator's interpretation and application
of the parties' agreement, and it is well established that such
disagreement provides no basis for finding the award deficient.
Accordingly, the Union's exception is denied.

   Issued, Washington, D.C., September 24, 1985
                                      (s) HENRY B. FRAZIER III
                                      Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                      Chairman
                                      (s) WILLIAM J. MCGINNIS JR.
                                      William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                      FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS