21:0384(49)AR - NTEU and NTEU Chapter 224 and Office of Hearings and Appeals, SSA -- 1986 FLRAdec AR



[ v21 p384 ]
21:0384(49)AR
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.