26:0003(1)AR - VA Medical Center, Kansas City, MO and AFGE Local 2663 -- 1987 FLRAdec AR



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26:0003(1)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 26 FLRA No. 1
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL 
 CENTER, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
 Agency
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2663
 Union
 
                                            Case No. 0-AR-1238
 
                                 DECISION
 
                         I.  STATEMENT OF THE CASE
 
    This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
 Arbitrator Preston J. Moore filed by the Agency under section 7122(a) of
 the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and
 part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
 
                  II.  BACKGROUND AND ARBITRATOR'S AWARD
 
    The group grievance in this case was filed on behalf of all
 bargaining unit employees "who have made a valid request for and/or it
 has been determined, they have been exposed to airborne asbestos while
 employed by the VAMC and in a duty status." The grievance concerned
 claimed violations of the parties' collective bargaining agreements and
 Federal Personnel Manual Supplement 532-1.  The grievance sought
 environmental differential pay (EDP) retroactive to a particular time
 and until such time as the asbestos hazard has been practically
 eliminated by protective devices or safety measures.  The Arbitrator
 essentially sustained the grievance.  He ordered the Agency to:  (1)
 prepare a written asbestos abatement plan and present it to the Union;
 (2) comply with Agency Circulars that require all asbestos locations to
 be marked;  (3) provide further protective equipment if it becomes
 available or is recommended;  (4) provide EDP to various employees, up
 to the time that the last protective equipment was available and was
 provided to the employees;  and (5) make the EDP retroactive to thirty
 days immediately prior to the filing of the grievance.
 
                              III.  EXCEPTION
 
    The Agency excepted only to that portion of the award which requires
 the Agency to provide further protective equipment if it becomes
 available or is recommended.  The Agency alleges that this portion of
 the award violates management's right under section 7106(b)(1) of the
 Statute to determine the technology of performing work.  In support of
 this allegation, the Agency argues that the Arbitrator referred to
 respirators and that the Authority found in Department of the Air Force,
 Headquarters, Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force
 Base, Ohio, 22 FLRA No. 53 (1986), that respirators are encompassed
 within the technology of performing work.  The Agency also argues that
 the award's broad reference to safety and protective equipment will
 encompass items "which, like respirators, are suitable to be a part of
 the technical method utilized by the medical center in removing
 asbestos."
 
                               IV.  ANALYSIS
 
    The Agency's exception fails to establish that the award is
 inconsistent with section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute.  The Agency's
 reliance on the Authority's decision in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,
 to support its position that respirators are encompassed within the
 technology of performing work is misplaced.  In that case, the finding
 that respirators concerned the technology of performing work was
 predicated on the fact the employees were required to use respirators in
 their work and the union's proposal would have prescribed the particular
 type of respirator to be used.  /*/ Here, the award does not require
 that respirators, or any other type of specific safety equipment, be
 used.  As to the Agency's argument that the award's broad reference to
 safety and protective equipment will encompass other equipment which
 will be considered as part of the technical method for removing
 asbestos, we find such assertion to be merely speculative.  Moreover, we
 do not interpret the arbitrator's award as precluding the Agency from
 exercising its right under section 7106(b)(1) to determine whether
 particular items of protective equipment should be adopted as part of
 its technology of performing work if and when such items become
 available or are recommended.  Accordingly, we conclude that the Agency
 has failed to establish that the award is deficient as alleged.
 
                               V.  DECISION
 
    For the above reasons, the Agency's exception is denied.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., March 4, 1987.
                                       /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       /s/ Jean McKee, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
                ---------------  FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
 
    (*) See also American Federation of Government Employees, Local 644,
 AFL-CIO and U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Health and Safety
 Administration, Morgantown, West Virginia, 15 FLRA 902 (1984) and
 National Federation of Federal Employees, Council of Consolidated Social
 Security Administration Locals and Social Security Administration, 13
 FLRA 422 (1983), in which the Authority found that union proposals which
 expressly required the agencies involved to provide equipment which was
 part of the technical method of performing the agencies' work interfered
 with the right under section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute to determine the
 technology of performing work. 
 
 
 

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