28:1028(133)AR - AFGE, GENERAL COMMITTEE VS HHS, SSA
[ v28 p1028 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
28 FLRA NO. 133
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, GENERAL COMMITTEE Union and SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Agency Case No. 0-AR-1386
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator D. L. Howell 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 Agency filed an opposition. For the reasons stated below, the Union's exceptions are denied.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The Union filed a grievance alleging that the Agency violated provisions of the parties' national collective bargaining agreement, including Article 3, Section 7, by discontinuing the practice of hand-delivery of paychecks to employees at their work sites. Article 3, Section 7 provided, among other things, that the Agency will make every effort to ensure that employees receive their checks either personally or at locations designated by the employees by the established payday, in accordance with Treasury Department rules and regulations.
The grievance was submitted to arbitration. The Arbitrator framed the issues before him as whether the Agency violated the agreement when it (1) changed the method of paycheck distribution; and (2) notified employees directly of the forthcoming change in the method of paycheck distribution, thereby bypassing the Union.
As to the first issue, the Arbitrator found that the Agency violated Article 3, Section 7 of the agreement. As his award, he directed the Agency to make available to all unit employees and to notify them of the following paycheck delivery options: (1) direct deposit, (2) by mail at home or other nonwork address, or (3) by mail at their work site. He also ordered that no contractual restrictions be placed on the right of employees to designate the work site as the location for mail delivery of their checks if an employee so desired. As to the second issue, he found that the Agency did not violate the agreement or bypass the Union when it notified employees directly of the change in the method of paycheck distribution.
The Union contends that the award fails to draw its essence from the collective bargaining agreement because (1) the Arbitrator exceeded the limits of his authority as defined in the agreement, and (2) the award failed to consider and address specific remedies sought by the Union.
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 law, rule, or regulation or that the award is deficient on other grounds similar to those appl