31:1187(103)AR - Commander, Griffiss AFB and AFGE Local 2612 -- 1988 FLRAdec AR



[ v31 p1187 ]
31:1187(103)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


31 FLRA No. 103

COMMANDER, GRIFFISS AIR FORCE BASE

          Activity

      and

LOCAL 2612, AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

             Union

                                      Case No. 0-AR-1496

                        DECISION

     I. Statement of the Case

     This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the
award of Arbitrator Sheila S. Cole 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 Arbitrator denied the grievance,
finding that the Activity did not violate the parties' agreement
when it charged the grievant with being absent without leave
(AWOL) for 2.5 hours on May 21, 1987. For the reasons stated
below, the Union's exceptions are denied.

     II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

     The grievant is the Union president as well as a Union
steward. Under the parties' agreement, Union officers and
stewards are allowed official time to assist an employee in the
preparation and presentation of a grievance or appeal. The
agreement states that "(w)henever it is necessary for an officer
or steward to leave his work area to represent an employee, he
shall request permission from his immediate supervisor as much in
advance as possible. . . ." Award at 3.

     On May 20, 1987, the grievant informed his supervisor that
he would have to leave early the following day to prepare for
contract negotiations. The supervisor told the grievant that he
would check with the Agency's labor-relations officer. The
Arbitrator found that the next day, the supervisor told
the grievant that he would not be permitted to leave early
because official time does not include preparation for contract
negotiations, and that if he left before 10:30 a.m., he would be
charged AWOL. The grievant left work early and was charged with
being AWOL from 8:00 to 10:30 a.m.

     The grievant contended that on the morning of May 21, he did
not prepare for contract negotiations but instead began work on a
grievance and unfair labor practice concerning his supervisor's
denial of permission to leave work. Before the Arbitrator, the
Union asked that the grievant be paid for the 2.5 hours
incorrectly charged to AWOL. The Arbitrator concluded, however,
that the grievant did not advise his supervisor that he was
leaving as a Union steward to perform representational duties,
but instead left the workplace without authority. The Arbitrator
denied the grievance, finding that the Agency did not violate the
parties' agreement or applicable law, rule, and regulation.

     III. Discussion

     The Union contends that the Arbitrator interpreted the
agreement in