32:0193(32)AR - - Air Force. Robin AFB, GA and AFGE Local 987 - - 1988 FLRAdec AR - - v32 p193
[ v32 p193 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
32 FLRA No. 32
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 987
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of Arbitrator William H. Holley, Jr. The Arbitrator denied the grievance which claimed that the suspension of the grievant was not for just cause.
The Union filed an exception 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 Activity did not file an opposition.
We conclude that the Union has not established that the Arbitrator's award is contrary to law, the collective bargaining agreement, or the evidence presented. Accordingly, we deny the Union's exception.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The grievant was suspended for 14 days. He was charged with (1) falsification of a doctor's certificate given to his supervisor, (2) unauthorized absence, and (3) unauthorized posting of his time card. The grievant filed a grievance over the suspension that was submitted to arbitration on the issue of whether the suspension was for just cause.
The Arbitrator determined that the Activity sustained the charges by a preponderance of the evidence. He concluded that the disciplinary action was timely under the parties' collective bargaining agreement because the grievant was informed by letter dated February 24, 1986, that disciplinary action was under consideration. The Arbitrator also concluded that the Union's claim that the grievant's privacy rights were violated when the Activity obtained a copy of the grievant's medical record from the grievant's doctor without the grievant's permission was not dispositive because the grievant admitted to changing the dates on the certification. The Arbitrator sustained the charge relating to the falsification of the doctor's certificate because (1) the grievant admitted to changing the dates on the certificate, and (2) the grievant's claim that he was treated on 2 days even though the doctor's records showed he was only treated on 1 day was not credible. Accordingly, the Arbitrator denied the grievance.
The Union contends that the award is contrary to law, the collective bargaining agreement, and the evidence presented. The Union maintains that the copy of the doctor's certificate obtained by the Activity was obtained illegally in violation of the grievant's privacy rights. Thus, the Union argues that the award is contrary to law because the Arbitrator should not have admitted or considered the certificate as evidence. The Union also argues that the disciplinary action was not timely under the agreement because the February 24 letter on which the Arbitrator relied does not exist. The Union further claims that the Arbitrator's credibility determinations were improper.
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 the Federal courts in private sector labor relations cases.
The Union cites no law or authority to support its argument that a copy of the doctor's certificate was obtained "illegally" and should not have been admitted or considered by the Arbitrator. Moreover, the Arbitrator noted that the challenge to the admissibility of the certificate was not dispositive because the grievant "admitted that he changed the dates whereas he could have easily returned to the doctor's office and obtained an authorized certificate without the need for alterations." Award at 12-13. Accordingly, the Union's contention constitutes nothing more than disagreement with the Arbitrator's reasoning and conclusions and an attempt to relitigate the grievance before the Authority. The contention provides no basis for finding the award deficient. See, for example, Commander, Griffiss Air Force Base and Local 2612, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, 31 FLRA 1187 (1988) (exceptions which merely attempt to relitigate the merits of the grievance and constitute nothing more than disagreement with an arbitrator's reasoning and conclusions provide no basis for finding an award deficient).
The Union's other contentions that the award is contrary to the agreement and the evidence presented also provide no basis for finding the award deficient. They constitute nothing more than disagreement with the Arbitrator's findings of fact, interpretation and application of the collective bargaining agreement, and credibility determinations. See, for example, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 85 and Veterans Administration Medical Center, Leavenworth, Kansas, 32 FLRA No. 5 (1988) (exceptions which constitute nothing more than disagreement with an arbitrator's findings of fact and interpretation and application of the collective bargaining agreement provide no basis for finding an award deficient); American Federation of Government Employees, Local 171 and Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno, Oklahoma, 30 FLRA 295 (1987) (exceptions constituting disagreement with an arbitrator's evaluation of evidence and testimony, including the credibility of witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony, provide no basis for finding an award deficient).
The Union's exception is denied