32:1078(148)AR - - VA Medical Center, Birmingham, AL and AFGE Local 2207 - - 1988 FLRAdec AR - - v32 p1078
[ v32 p1078 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
32 FLRA No. 148
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL
CENTER, BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2207
Case No. O-AR-1547
I. Statement of the Case
This case is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator Lloyd L. Byars. The Activity filed a grievance contending that the Union had failed to provide a list of union stewards which specified the area represented by each steward. The Arbitrator determined that the grievance was timely filed and was arbitrable on its merits. On the merits, the Arbitrator directed the Union to submit a current list of stewards and the areas they represent and to inform the Activity of any changes.
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. The Veterans Administration (the Agency) filed an opposition on behalf of the Activity.
We conclude that the Union has failed to establish that the award (1) disregards, or is contrary to, the parties' collective bargaining agreement; (2) is beyond the scope of the Arbitrator's authority; or (3) is contrary to law. Accordingly, we will deny the Union's exceptions.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The Activity filed a grievance claiming that the list of union stewards provided by the Union failed to comply with Article XI, Section 2 of the parties' local collective bargaining agreement. The Activity claimed that the list failed to specify the area represented by each steward, a specification which the Activity claimed was required under the agreement. The grievance was not resolved and was submitted to arbitration.
Before the Arbitrator, the Union contended that the grievance was not timely filed under Article 13, Section 7 of the parties' master collective bargaining agreement. The Arbitrator found that the action which had been grieved was "ongoing and gives rise to a continuing grievance." Award at 12. Consequently, the Arbitrator ruled that the grievance was timely filed under Article 13, Section 7 and Article 14, Section 1 of the master agreement.
On the merits of the grievance, the Arbitrator found that Article XI, Section 2 of the local agreement requires the Union to keep the Activity informed of the names of stewards and the areas they represent. Accordingly, the Arbitrator directed the Union to submit to the Activity a current list of stewards and the areas they represent and to inform the Activity of any changes.
III. Positions of the Parties
The Union's exceptions are directed only to the Arbitrator's ruling that the grievance was timely filed. The Union contends that this ruling (1) disregards, and is contrary to, the parties' master agreement; (2) is beyond the scope of the Arbitrator's authority; and (3) is contrary to law.
The Union argues that the master agreement makes no provision for a grievance being found timely because the action grieved is ongoing. The Union maintains that under the time limits set forth in the master agreement, the grievance was clearly untimely. Therefore, the Union contends that the Arbitrator's determination that the grievance was timely filed disregards and is contrary to the master agreement. The Union further contends that by disregarding the specific time limits of the master agreement, the Arbitrator exceeded his authority and his ruling is contrary to law.
The Agency contends that the Union's exceptions should be denied because the Arbitrator correctly interpreted the master 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. The Union is simply disagreeing with the Arbitrator's ruling on the procedural arbitrability issue of whether the grievance was timely filed. See, for example, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma and American Federation of Government Employees, Local No. 916, 30 FLRA 1151 (1988) (an exception which simply disagrees with an arbitrator's determination on the procedural arbitrability of the grievance provides no basis for finding the award deficient).
The Union's exceptions are denied.
Issued, Washington, D.C.,
Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
Jean McKee, Member
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)