21:0174(27)AR - GSA and AFGE, Council 236 -- 1986 FLRAdec AR



[ v21 p174 ]
21:0174(27)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 21 FLRA No. 27
 
 GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
 Agency
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, COUNCIL 236
 Union
 
                                            Case No. 0-AR-583
 
                                 DECISION
 
    I.  STATEMENT OF THE CASE
 
    This case is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of
 Arbitrator Louis Aronin under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority's
 Rules and Regulations.
 
    II.  BACKGROUND AND ARBITRATOR'S AWARD
 
    The issues submitted to arbitration essentially were whether the
 Agency violated Article 5, Sections 3A and 3B and Article 27, Section 10
 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement and section 7131(a) and
 (d) of the Statute by denying payment of travel and per diem expenses
 for union representatives negotiating term and/or mid-term agreements
 and performing other representational functions.  Article 5, Sections 3A
 and 3B provided that union representatives would be granted official
 time for various labor-management relations activities and Article 27,
 Section 10 provided that travel would be provided in accordance with the
 Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.  The Arbitrator
 found that by agreeing to the provisions involved, the Agency had agreed
 to pay travel and per diem expenses for employees on official time for
 the labor-management relations activities set forth in the agreement.
 Accordingly, as his award, the Arbitrator sustained the grievance and
 directed the Agency to pay travel and per diem expenses to employees who
 perform the representational functions set forth in the agreement.
 
    III.  EXCEPTIONS
 
    In its exceptions, the Agency contends that the award is contrary to
 law.  In support of its exceptions, the Agency argues, in effect, that
 the Agency is not obligated under section 7131 of the Statute to pay
 travel and per diem expenses for union representatives on official time
 and that the award is not authorized under the Travel Expense Act, 5
 U.S.C. 52 5701, et seq.
 
    IV.  ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION
 
    The Arbitrator found that by agreeing to Article 27, Section 10, the
 Agency had agreed to pay travel and per diem expenses for employees on
 official time for the covered activities.  Therefore, while the Agency
 is correct in stating that section 7131 of the Statute does not require
 agencies to pay such expenses, the Agency in this case, as determined by
 the Arbitrator, negotiated and agreed to a provision requiring it to
 pay.  Article 27, Section 10 of the parties' agreement, as interpreted
 by the Arbitrator to require the payment of travel and per diem expenses
 for union representatives performing the labor-management relations
 activities set forth in Article 5, Section 3 pertaining to official
 time, is essentially to the same effect as the proposal found by the
 Authority to be within the duty to bargain in National Treasury
 Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service, 21
 FLRA No. 2 (1986).  The proposal in that case provided:
 
       The employer agrees to pay the travel expenses incurred by
       employees while using official time available under the terms of
       this agreement.
 
    In finding the proposal to be within the duty to bargain, the
 Authority stated that the Statute is silent on whether travel expenses
 incurred in the conduct of labor-management relations activities are
 payable from Federal funds.  Id. at 3. In this case, the Authority
 concludes that the Arbitrator's award based upon his interpretation of
 the parties' agreement is not contrary to section 7131(a) and (d) of the
 Statute as alleged by the Agency in its exceptions.
 
    Moreover, the Authority also ruled in U.S. Customs Service that the
 proposal in dispute was not inconsistent with the Travel Expense Act
 because that Act does not prohibit an agency from exercising, through
 negotiations, its discretion to determine whether travel attendant to
 labor-management relations activities is sufficiently within the
 interest of the United States so as to constitute official business for
 purposes of reimbursement of related travel expenses.  Id. at 6. In this
 case, the Arbitrator determined that the Agency agreed to pay the travel
 and per diem expenses related to the labor-management relations
 activities covered by the official time provision of the parties'
 agreement.  The Authority finds that the Arbitrator's determination
 effectively constitutes, in terms of U.S. Customs Service, a finding
 that the Agency had exercised its discretion under the Travel Expense
 Act through negotiations and had thereby determined that the covered
 activities were sufficiently within the interest of the United States so
 as to constitute official business.
 
    However, in U.S. Customs Service, the Authority concluded that the
 disputed proposal would not require the agency to authorize the payment
 of expenses which do not comport with regulatory requirements and
 restrictions.  Id. at 6. The Authority based its conclusion on the
 union's acknowledgment that payment of any travel expenses flowing from
 the proposal, if agreed upon by the parties, would be subject to the
 provisions of the Federal Travel Regulations (FTRs).  /1/ In this case,
 the Arbitrator in directing the payment of travel and per diem expenses
 in connection with the covered activities did not expressly provide for
 the Agency to determine the propriety of particular travel and per diem
 expenses under the FTRs.  Consequently, the Authority must modify the
 award to assure that it is consistent with requirements of the FTRs.
 
                                 DECISION
 
    Accordingly, pursuant to section 2425.4 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations and for the reasons stated above, that portion of the award
 directing the payment of travel and per diem expenses is modified to
 provide as follows:
 
       The Employer shall pay travel and per diem pursuant to Article 27,
       Section 10, to employees who perform the representational
       functions on "official time" as set forth in Article 5, Sections
       3A and 3B of tie parties' agreement insofar as consistent with
       applicable requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., March 27, 1986
                                       (s)---
                                       Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                                       (s)---
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
 
    /1/ The FTRs, 41 CFR part 101-7, have been held to be Government-wide
 rules