31:0933(73)AR - SSA and AFGE Local 1923 -- 1988 FLRAdec AR

[ v31 p933 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

  31 FLRA NO. 73
31 FLRA 933 (1988)

Date:             23 MAR 1988





Case No. 0-AR-1431


     I. Statement of the Case

     This case is before the Authority on exceptions to the award
of Arbitrator Robert D. Moran filed by 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

     Three employees filed grievances, seeking backpay for a
period in which each allegedly had performed the work of a
higher-graded position. The Arbitrator ruled that the Agency had
violated the parties' collective bargaining agreement by failing
to grant the grievants temporary promotions for the relevant
periods. He directed the Agency to pay each grievant an amount
equal to the difference between the salary each had received and
the salary of the position whose work each had performed. The
Agency challenges the award as a violation of section 7121(c)(5)
of the Statute and of the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S.C. SS 5596.
Inasmuch as the grievance concerns the classification of a
position, we have determined that the Arbitrator's award must be
set aside.

     II. Background

     The grievants, all employed at grade GS-4 in the Agency's
Social Security Number Processing Branch, were reassigned to
perform a new function which the Agency was required to
carry out under a court order. The new tasks included verifying
that funds SSA was paying to representatives of Social Security
beneficiaries who were not legally competent to handle the funds
themselves were being properly administered by the
representatives. The grievants were among a group of employees
trained for the new-function without regard to grade level.
Grades GS-4 and GS-5 performed identical tasks, and no position
descriptions or other documents describing job content or
responsibility were prepared for the first 8 months of the
program. Award at 4.

     In addition to performing the regular duties involved in
verifying that the "representative payees" were utilizing the
Social Security benefits for the beneficiaries, some employees,
including the grievants, assumed additional responsibilities
known as "quality assurance." They became known as "QAs." Award
at 5. Grievants Lois Terry and Carole Young assumed the
responsibilities of QAs in early March 1984; grievant Phyllis
Lee, in November 1984. Position descriptions for the work they
were performing were not created until October 26, 1984. Award at
7-8. The position each grievant occupied was rated GS-4. Award at
8. The grievants also were responsible for "train