34:0234(47)AR - NAVAL PLANT REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE and NAGE, LOCAL R1-143 -- 1986 FLRAdec AR
[ v34 p234 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
34 FLRA NO. 47 NAVAL PLANT REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE and NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES LOCAL R1-143 0-AR-1648 DECISION January 11, 1990 Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz. I. Statement of the Case This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of Arbitrator Roger I. Abrams. The Arbitrator found that the grievance over an employee's reassignment was filed untimely and, therefore, was not arbitrable. The National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-143 (the Union) filed an exception to the award 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 Naval Plant Representative Office (the Agency or NAVPRO) did not file an opposition to the Union's exception. For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that the Union's exception provides no basis for finding the award deficient. Accordingly, we deny the exception. II. Background and Arbitrator's Award In 1987, the grievant learned of the possible consolidation of his position as Quality Assurance Specialist with an Industrial Specialist position. Award at 6-7. The new position was to be called Engineering Technician. Id. at 7. The grievant informed the Agency that he strongly disagreed with the proposed position change. On November 10, 1987, a NAVPRO Commander met with the grievant and "officially apprised (the grievant) of his new position as an Engineering Technician." Id. Thereafter, the grievant went on leave and did not receive a written "Notification of Personnel Action Form" regarding the position change until he returned on December 18, 1987. Id. at 8. The grievant filed a grievance dated January 12, 1988, challenging the change in the position. Id. The Arbitrator found that the grievance was not filed within the 15-day time limit set forth in the parties' agreement and, therefore, was not timely. Award at 13. The Arbitrator determined that the parties clearly provided that "a grievance must be presented within 15 work days of the date of the act or occurrence or the date the employee became aware of the act or occurrence." Id. The Arbitrator found that more than 15 work days passed between the November 10 meeting and the filing of the grievance on January 12, 1988. Id. at 15. Also, the Arbitrator noted that the written notification, which the grievant received upon his return from leave, merely confirmed the changes discussed at the November 10 meeting. Id. at 14. The Arbitrator found, therefore, that the grievance was not procedurally arbitrable and did not address the other issues in the case. Id. at 13, 16. III. Union's Exception The Union asserts that the grievant did not receive official written notification of the position change until he returned from leave on December 18, 1987. Union's Exception at 4. The Union argues that written notification is the means by which "all employees are familiar with and have come to regard as the 'official' means of notification." Id. Therefore, the Union contends that the November 10 meeting may not be substituted for written notice and that the grievance filing period should not begin on that date. Id. IV. Analysis and Conclusion The Statute sets forth the grounds on which an arbitration award will be found deficient. Under section 7122(a), an award will be found deficient: (1) because it is contrary to any law, rule, or regulation, or (2) on other grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor relations cases. The Union contends that the grievant was not required to file his grievance within 15 days after the November 10 meeting because the grievant was not given written notice of his position change until December 18, 1987. Union's Exception at 3-4. This contention, however, does not state a basis for finding that the award is contrary to any law, rule, or regulation. It also does not state grounds similar to those grounds applied by Federal courts in private sector labor relations cases. Rather, the Union's exception constitutes nothing more than disagreement with the Arbitrator's ruling that the grievance was not timely filed and, therefore, not procedurally arbitrable. An exception which merely disagrees with an arbitrator's determination on the procedural arbitrability of the grievance provides no basis for finding the award deficient. See, for example, Department of the Air Force, Warner Robins Air Force Base and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 987, 32 FLRA 1081, 1082-83 (1988). Consequently, this exception provides no basis for finding the award deficient. V. Decision Accordingly, the Union's exception is denied.