28:0594(75)AR - AFGE, LOCAL 85 VS VA MEDICAL CENTER
[ v28 p594 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
28 FLRA NO. 75
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER, LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS Activity and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 85 Union Case No. 0-AR-1376
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of Arbitrator John M. Gradwohl filed by the Union under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. The Veterans Administration filed an opposition.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The grievant is an admissions clerk at the Activity. He was issued a letter of admonishment for his "insubordinate failure" to follow the Activity's Medical Center Policy Memorandum 136-15. He refused by inaction to refer a prospective patient to be evaluated by an Activity physician regardless of the individual's administrative eligibility for admission to the Medical Center hospital. A grievance was filed and submitted to arbitration. The stipulated issue before the Arbitrator was whether the Activity had just and sufficient cause to issue an admonishment to the grievant for "insubordinate failure" to follow the Memorandum.
The Arbitrator found that the grievant did not perform his duties in accordance with standard operating procedures as specified in the Memorandum. He found that some disciplinary action was warranted for the grievant's failure to follow standard operating procedures and noted that admonishment is the least punitive form of discipline under penalties for the stated offense. The Arbitrator determined that although the admonishment should be allowed to stand, the reference to the term "insubordinate" should be deleted from the admonishment. He determined that the term "insubordinate" carries a stronger meaning than is warranted by the evidence of the grievant's action in failing to follow the standard operating procedures. Accordingly, the Arbitrator sustained the grievance with respect to the term "insubordinate" and denied it as to all other aspects.
As its exception, the Union contends that the Arbitrator exceeded his authority by failing to limit his award to the issue submitted. The Union contends that the Arbitrator's removal of the term "insubordinate" from the admonishment created a different issue from the one presented to him for a decision. The Agency contends that the issue stipulated by the parties was broadly stated so that it was properly addressed by the Arbitrator.
We conclude that the Union has failed to establish that the Arbitrator's