30:0039(10)AR - VA Medical Center and AFGE Local 85 -- 1987 FLRAdec AR



[ v30 p39 ]
30:0039(10)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


30 FLRA NO. 10
30 FLRA 39

12 NOV 1987


VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
MEDICAL CENTER

              Activity

      and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, LOCAL NO. 85

              Union

Case No. 0-AR-1425

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 Veterans
Administration (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. For the
reasons stated below, the Agency's exception is denied.

     II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

     The grievant is a Union officer and an employee in the
laundry at the Veterans Administration Medical Center,
Leavenworth, Kansas. On December 4, 1986, the grievant's
supervisor approved official time for the grievant for several
meetings which she was scheduled to attend that day in her
capacity as a Union representative. An afternoon meeting was
cancelled, and the grievant returned to the laundry approximately
30  minutes late. She was charged for being absent without leave
(AWOL) and was disciplined with a written reprimand. The employee
grieved the AWOL charge and the matter was submitted to
arbitration.

     The issue before the Arbitrator was whether the Activity had
just and sufficient cause to discipline the grievant because of
unauthorized absence from work and whether the reprimand was a
reasonable penalty for her second offense of this nature. Before
the Arbitrator, there was conflicting evidence as to whether the
supervisor approving the official time instructed the employee to
return to the laundry immediately after the meeting Among
other arguments, the Union referred to Medical Center policy
05-14, Paragraph 3 Procedure D, which indicates that failure to
document the specific details surrounding an AWOL charge will
nullify any subsequent disciplinary action taken as a result of
the AWOL charge. The Arbitrator found that the Activity failed to
timely document the AWOL charge and that, under the
circumstances, there was no justification for the discipline
issued. The Arbitrator sustained the grievance.

     III. Discussion

     As its exception, the Agency contends that the Arbitrator
misconstrued Agency regulations by applying them to a situation
for which they are not intended. The Union did not file an
opposition to the Agency's exceptions.

     We conclude that the Agency 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