31:0712(44)AR - VA Medical Center, Leavenworth, KS and AFGE Local 85 -- 1988 FLRAdec AR



[ v31 p712 ]
31:0712(44)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 31 FLRA NO. 44

 31 FLRA 712

    03 MAR 1988


VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
MEDICAL CENTER, LEAVENWORTH
KANSAS

      and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 85

                    Union

Case No. 0-AR-1453

DECISION

     I. Statement of the Case

     This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the
award of Arbitrator Henry M. Grether. The Arbitrator found that
the Activity did not violate the Privacy Act when it introduced
the grievant's application for leave form (SF 71) into evidence
at a prior arbitration hearing without the grievant's consent.
Therefore, the Arbitrator denied the grievance. The Arbitrator
also ruled that the Activity did not violate the parties'
collective bargaining agreement when it authorized a court
reporter to tape record the hearing before him without the
consent of the Union. The Union filed exceptions 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
award as it pertains to the use of the court reporter is contrary
to the parties' agreement. We also conclude that the Union has
not established that the award as it pertains to the grievant's
SF 71 is contrary to law, regulation, or the agreement.
Accordingly, we deny the exceptions.

     II. Background and Arbitrator's Award The Union filed a
grievance claiming that the Activity violated the Privacy Act, 5
U.S.C. 552a, by introducing the grievant's application for
leave form (SF 71) into evidence at a prior arbitration hearing
without the grievant's consent. The SF 71 was introduced into
evidence at the prior hearing to establish that the grievant had
not been denied the opportunity to be present at a meeting to
resolve her earlier grievance.

     The grievance concerning the use of the SF 71 was submitted
to arbitration. At the outset of the arbitration hearing, the
Union objected to the tape recording of the hearing by a court
reporter. In a bench ruling, which was subsequently incorporated
into his award, the Arbitrator ruled that the tape recording of
the proceedings did not violate the parties' collective
bargaining agreement.

     As to the use of the SF 71 at the prior arbitration hearing,
the Arbitrator concluded that the grievant's SF 71 is part of a
system of records subject to the Privacy Act. The Arbitrator
found that the Activity's introduction of the grievant's SF 71 in
the prior arbitration hearing was proper under the routine use
exception of the Act. He noted that, in accordance with the
requirement of the Privacy Act that routine uses of records be
identified, the Agency has designated "Negotiated Agreement
Grievances and Arbitrations" as one of the routine uses for its
records. Accordingly, the Arbitrator denied the grievance.

     III. Discussion

     The Union contends that the award as it pertains to the use
of the court reporter is contrary to the parties' agreement. The
Union contends that the award as it pertains to the grievant's SF
71 is contrary to the Privacy Act, regulations protecting the
privacy of leave records, and the agreement.

     We conclude 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. The Union has failed to
establish 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.

     On the issue concerning the tape recording of the
Arbitrator's hearing, the Union disagrees with the Arbitrator's
interpretation and application of the collective bargaining
agreement. Exceptions which constitute mere disagreement with an
arbitrator's interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement
provide no basis for finding an award deficient. See,
for example, 351st Combat Support Group, Whiteman Air Force Base
and Local 2361, American Federation of Government Employees, 30 
FLRA  505 (1987).