34:0193(42)AR - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OKLAHOMA and AFGE, LOCAL 916 -- 1990 FLRAdec AR



[ v34 p193 ]
34:0193(42)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 34 FLRA NO. 42



               U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
               TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OKLAHOMA

                             and

          AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
                           LOCAL 916

                           0-AR-1635

			   DECISION

     		       January 10, 1990

     Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

     This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the
award of Arbitrator Lawrence Mann, Jr. The Arbitrator found that
the employee's written grievance was not filed within the time
frame required by the parties' collective bargaining agreement.
Consequently, the Arbitrator dismissed the Union's grievance.
Exceptions were filed by the American Federation of Government
Employees, Local 916, AFL - CIO (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 Department of the Air Force, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma (the
Agency) did not file an opposition to the exceptions. For the
reasons discussed below, the Union's exceptions are denied.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

     The Agency suspended the grievant for 5 days for making a
false statement concerning a management official with the intent
to damage his reputation and for filing a false report with
security police. The Agency notified the grievant of this
disciplinary action on September 17, 1987. 

     Thereafter, the grievant orally informed management that she
was aggrieved. However, the grievant did not file a written
grievance until October 14, 1987. When the parties did not
resolve the grievance, it was submitted to arbitration.

     The Arbitrator stated that there were two issues before him:
"The first issue is the matter of timeliness and the second issue
is the substance of the five day suspension." Award at 1. In
determining whether the grievance was timely, the Arbitrator
examined the parties' collective bargaining agreement. Section
5.07(f) of the agreement required that "a written grievance" be
filed "within 20 calendar days of receipt of the disciplinary
action." Award at 5. The Arbitrator found that the Union did not
file a written grievance in a timely manner. Thus, the Arbitrator
denied the grievance and did not address the substance of the
dispute.

     In denying the grievance, the Arbitrator noted that the
grievant's oral statement to a manager that she was aggrieved did
not change the contractual requirement for filing a written
grievance. In addition, the Arbitrator found that a discussion
between the parties about the grievance did not change "the clear
and unambiguous language of the collective bargaining agreement."
Award at 7. Finally, the Arbitrator noted that the grievant was a
Division Level Steward, had been a steward before this incident,
and had received steward training. The Arbitrator concluded that
the grievant was aware of the contractual and procedural time
limits and should have known the effect of not adhering to those
procedures. Award at 8.

III. The Union's Position

     The Union contends that the Arbitrator failed to consider
all the facts concerning the disciplinary action. According to
the Union, if the Arbitrator had reviewed all of the facts, the
Union's untimeliness would not have been an issue because "the
Agency's untimeliness (in issuing its notice of proposed
disciplinary action) preceeded (sic) the Union's accused
untimeliness." Union's Exceptions at 5.

     The Union asserts that the Agency's notice of proposed
discipline was not timely under the collective bargaining
agreement. The Union contends that the applicable portion of
section 5.02 of the agreement required the Agency to issue a
notice of proposed discipline within 45 days from the date the
Agency became aware of the offense. The Union asserts that the
Agency issued the notice of proposed discipline 54 days
after the date that management became aware of the incident.
Therefore, the Union argues that the Arbitrator should have found
that the Agency issued its notice of proposed discipline untimely
and that the Union's untimeliness was not an issue. In addition,
the Union argues that any reference to the grievant's discipline
should be removed from the Agency's records.

IV. Analysis and Conclusion

     We conclude that the Union's exceptions do not establish
that the Arbitrator's award is deficient under section 7122(a) of
the Statute.

     The Union asserts that the Arbitrator ignored facts that
would have shown that the Agency was untimely in issuing its
notice of proposed disciplinary action to the grievant. We find,
however, that the facts concerning the Agency's issuance of its
notice of proposed disciplinary action were not pertinent to the
issue before the Arbitrator.

     The Arbitrator stated that the first issue in the case was
whether the Union filed a grievance in a timely manner. Award at
1. We note that the Union does not dispute the Arbitrator's
determination that the threshold issue was whether the grievance
was filed within the time limits established by the collective
bargaining agreement. The Arbitrator's decision on that issue was
that the Union had not met the contractual requirement for timely
filing a written gr