28:0967(125)AR - AFGE, LOCAL 1760 VS HHS, SSA, OFFICE OF HEARINGS A
[ v28 p967 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
28 FLRA NO. 125 OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND APPEALS SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Activity and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1760, AFL-CIO Union Case No. 0-AR-1399
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of Arbitrator Leonard Irsay 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 Social Security Administration filed an opposition. For the reasons stated below, the Union's exception is denied.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The grievant is a hearing assistant in the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration. She was suspended for 5 days for unacceptable behavior and insubordination after refusing to accept a reprimand notice and another document without her union representative present. The Arbitrator framed the issue before him as whether the grievant's suspension was for just cause and if not, what should be the remedy.
The Arbitrator found that the grievant was insubordinate in refusing to comply with the supervisor's clear and proper order. The Arbitrator also found, however, that there was no evidence that the grievant was either abusive or disruptive. After consideration of the evidence and the arguments, the Arbitrator concluded that the Agency had just cause to discipline the grievant, but he reduced the suspension from 5 days to 1 day.
As its exception, the Union contends that the award violates law, regulation or contract, and that it fails to draw its essence from the parties' collective bargaining agreement. The Union argues, among other things, that the Arbitrator used an improper standard in determining whether to sustain the grievance. The Agency contends that the exception merely argues with the Arbitrator's reasoning.
We conclude that the Union has failed to establish that the Arbitrator's award is deficient on any of the grounds set forth in section 7122(a) of the Statute; that is, that the award is contrary to any law, rule, or regulation or that the award is deficient on other grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor relations cases. See, for example, Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 243, 25 FLRA No. 74 (1987) (unless a specific standard of proof is required, an arbitrator may establish whatever standard the arbitrator considers appropriate); Air Force Space Division