30:0648(79)AR - VA and AFGE -- 1987 FLRAdec AR



[ v30 p648 ]
30:0648(79)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


30 FLRA NO. 79
30 FLRA 648

 30 DEC 1987


VETERANS ADMINISTRATION

                    Agency

       and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES

                    Union

Case No. 0-AR-1411

DECISION

     I. Statement of the Case

     This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the
award of Arbitrator Renee E. Kamm. The Arbitrator found that the
Activity did not violate law in suspending the grievant. The
exception was 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.
We conclude that the Union has not established that the
Arbitrator's award is contrary to law or the evidence presented.
Accordingly, we deny the Union's exception.

     II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

     The grievant was suspended for 10 days for unacceptable
conduct. The parties submitted to arbitration the question of
whether the Activity had failed to afford the grievant an
opportunity to respond orally to the notice of proposed
suspension, in violation of 5 U.S.C. 7503(b). The Arbitrator
determined that the grievant's written response to the proposed
suspension was ambiguous and that as a result, the grievant's
supervisor had been led to believe that the grievant did not wish
to respond orally. The Arbitrator found that the grievant had
failed to request clearly an oral reply meeting. The Arbitrator
concluded that the Activity did not violate 5 U.S.C. 7503(b) as
alleged. He denied the grievance. 

     III. Discussion

     The Union maintains that the Agency violated 5 U.S.C.
7503(b), and that any "reasonable man" would have understood the
grievant's letter as requesting an opportunity to respond orally
to the proposed suspension.

     We have determined that the Union has not established that
the Arbitrator's award is deficient on any of the grounds set
forth in section 7122(a) of the Statute. Specifically, the Union
has failed to establish that the award is contrary to any law,
rule or regulation, or that it is deficient on grounds similar to
those applied by the Federal courts in private sector labor
relations cases. Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air
Force Base, Oklahoma and American Federation of Government
Employees, Local 916, AFL - CIO, 30  FLRA  No. 61 (1987)
(exceptions which attempt to relitigate the merits of a grievance
before the Authority and which constitute nothing more than
disagreement with the arbitrator's evaluation of the evidence and
testimony presented and the arbitrator's reasoning and
conclusions provide no basis for finding an award deficient).

     IV. Decision

     The Union's exception is denied.

     Issued, Washington, D.C., December 30,  1987.

     Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman

     Jean