21:0384(49)AR - NTEU and NTEU Chapter 224 and Office of Hearings and Appeals, SSA -- 1986 FLRAdec AR
[ v21 p384 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
21 FLRA No. 49 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION AND NTEU CHAPTER 224 Union and OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND APPEALS, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Activity Case No. 0-AR-875 DECISION I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of Arbitrator Bernard Cushman filed by the Activity 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 Union filed a grievance in this case alleging that the Activity violated Article 22, Section 4 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement by refusing to pay the travel and per diem expenses of the chapter president and chief steward for attendance at a one-day negotiation session in Arlington, Virginia, held at the request of the Activity. The Arbitrator noted that Article 22 of the parties' agreement pertinently provides that "(t)he Employer shall pay travel and per diem costs incurred by the employee negotiators unless a statute or court order mandates otherwise." The Arbitrator further noted that the president had claimed expenses of $663.60 and the steward had claimed expenses of $75.02 and that the Activity had denied the claims. In denying the claims the Activity took the position that after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms v. FLRA, 464 U.S. 89 (1983), payment of travel and per diem expenses was not required under the parties' agreement provision and that under the Travel Expense Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 5701 et seq., payment was precluded because there had been no specific agency head certification that the travel served the convenience of the agency or was otherwise in the primary interest of the Government. The Arbitrator, however, rejected the Activity's position. He found that the requirement of the parties' agreement to pay travel and per diem expenses was unaffected by the decision in BATF. He further found that payment of the expenses was not precluded by the lack of a specific agency head certification that the disputed travel served the convenience of the agency. In this regard he essentially concluded that consistent with the decision in BATF, the parties' agreement constituted the determination by the Activity that travel attendant to representing an exclusive representative in negotiations is sufficiently within the interest of the United States so as to constitute official business.