22:0151(15)AR - Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District and NFFE Local 29 -- 1986 FLRAdec AR
[ v22 p151 ]
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 Government Financial Operations, Headquarters was reversed in NTEU v. FLRA, 774 F.2d 1181 (D.C. Cir. 1985) where the court also questioned the IRS, Fresno Service Center court decision.