22:0151(15)AR - Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District and NFFE Local 29 -- 1986 FLRAdec AR



[ v22 p151 ]
22:0151(15)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 22 FLRA No. 15
 
 U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, 
 KANSAS CITY DISTRICT
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL 
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 29
 Union
 
                                            Case No. 0-AR-1111
 
                                 DECISION
 
                         I.  STATEMENT OF THE CASE
 
    This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
 Arbitrator Stanford C. Madden 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.
 
                   II.  BACKGROUND AND ARBITRATO'S AWARD
 
    The parties submitted to arbitration the issues of whether a
 statutory employment discrimination complaint under 29 CFR part 1613 is
 a grievance as defined by Article 3 of the parties' collective
 bargaining agreement and whether Article 7 of the parties' collective
 bargaining agreement required the Activity to pay travel and per diem
 expenses of a union official representing an employee in a statutory
 employment discrimination complaint.  As to the first issue, the
 Arbitrator interpreted the parties' agreement and ruled that a statutory
 employment discrimination complaint is not a grievance as defined by
 Article 3 of the collective bargaining agreement.  As to the second
 issue, the Arbitrator noted that Article 7 of the collective bargaining
 agreement pertinently provides that to be eligible for the payment of
 travel and per diem expenses, union officials must be on
 "representational business of mutual interest to the employees and the
 (Activity)." The Arbitrator interpreted this language of the agreement
 and ruled that a statutory employment discrimination complaint was not
 business of a mutual interest within the meaning of the agreement.  In
 the course of interpreting the agreement, the Arbitrator noted that two
 decisions gave a fair reading to section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.
 /*/ As his award in this respect, the Arbitrator determined that travel
 and per diem expenses of a union official were not payable under the
 collective bargaining agreement for representation of an employee in a
 statutory employment discrimination complaint.
 
                              III.  EXCEPTION
 
    In its exception the Union contends that the award is deficient
 because the Arbitrator mistakenly interpreted section 7103(a)(9) of the
 Statute which defines for purposes of the Statute the term "grievance."
 Specifically, the Union argues that the Arbitrator's interpretation of
 the Statute is erroneous because the collective bargaining agreement
 contains its own definition of grievance and because the Arbitrator's
 interpretation of section 7103(a)(9) is contrary to NTEU v. FLRA, 774
 F.2d 1181 (D.C. Cir. 1985), which reversed the Authority decision cited
 by the Arbitrator and which should be adopted by the Authority.
 
                       IV.  ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS
 
    The Authority concludes that the Union's exception fails to establish
 that the award is deficient.  Contrary to the contention of the Union,
 the Arbitrator has in no manner misinterpreted section 7103(a)(9) of the
 Statute.  Indeed, neither the Arbitrator's award nor his discussion
 concerns or even cites section 7103(a)(9) much less misinterprets it.
 Instead, as indicated by the Union, the parties' collective bargaining
 agreement "contains its own definition of grievance" and the
 interpretation and application of that provision of the agreement and
 Article 7 of the agreement were the issues submitted to the Arbitrator.
 Thus, the Union's exception primarily constitutes nothing more than
 disagreement with the Arbitrator's interpretation and application of the
 collective bargaining agreement and such disagreement provides no basis
 for finding the award deficient.  As the Authority expressly held in
 Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration,
 Louisville, Kentucky District and National Federation of Federal
 Employees, Local 1790, 10 FLRA 436, 437 (1982), the interpretation and
 application of the collective bargaining agreement is a question solely
 for the arbitrator in that it is the arbitrator's construction of the
 agreement for which the parties have bargained.  In addition, to the
 extent the Union argues that the award is deficient because of the
 Arbitrator's case citations, this constitutes nothing more than
 disagreement with the Arbitrator's reasoning and conclusions in reaching
 the award interpreting and applying the collective bargaining agreement
 and likewise provides no basis for finding the award deficient.
 National Treasury Employees Union and U.S. Customs Service, 16 FLRA 377
 (1984).
 
                               V.  DECISION
 
    For these reasons the Union's exception is denied.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., June 13, 1986.
                                       /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
                ---------------  FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
 
    (*) The reference to the Statute is apparently to the provision
 providing that an exclusive representative shall be given the
 opportunity to be represented at a formal discussion concerning any
 grievance.  The Arbitrator cited Internal Revenue Service, Fresno
 Service Center, Fresno, California v. FLRA, 706 F.2d 1019 (9th Cir.
 1983) and Bureau of Government Financial Operations, Headquarters, 15
 FLRA 423 (1984).  The Authority's decision in Bureau of Gover