34:0304(57)AR - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND and AFGE, LOCAL 1592 -- 1990 FLRAdec AR
[ v34 p304 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
34 FLRA NO. 57 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES LOCAL 1592 0-AR-1646 DECISION January 16, 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 James A. Evenson. The grievant received an oral admonishment and was charged with 16 hours of absence without leave (AWOL) for not properly notifying his supervisor of his request for sick leave. The Arbitrator set aside the 16 hours of AWOL but sustained the oral admonishment. American Federation of Government Employees Local 1592 (the Union) filed exceptions 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 U.S. Department of the Air Force (the agency) filed an opposition to the exceptions on behalf of the Air Force Logistics Command (the Activity). For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that the Union's exceptions provide no basis for finding the award deficient. Accordingly, we will deny the Union's exceptions. II. Background and Arbitrator's Award On July 14, 1988, the grievant asked a fellow employee to take a handwritten note to his immediate supervisor. The note stated that the grievant "would not be in for work due to dizziness and sickness in his stomach and that he would see (his supervisor) as soon as he felt better." Award at 2. The grievant also did not report to work the following day. The grievant received an oral admonishment and was charged with 16 hours of AWOL for not properly following the procedures of the parties' collective bargaining agreement for notifying his supervisor of his request for sick leave. The Arbitrator stated the issue to be whether the grievant's actions were consistent with the agreement. The Activity argued that, under the agreement, there are only two ways that employees can notify their supervisors of requests for sick leave: (1) telephone the supervisor, or (2) send a postmarked letter on the day of the request. The Union argued that the two means listed in the agreement are not exclusive and that there is a practice of "employees sending notes to the (s)upervisors through their friends, or of other people calling in by telephone for the sick employee." Id. at 3. The Union also argued that the agreement should be construed "loosely" in light of the purpose of the agreement--to notify the Activity of an employee's request for sick leave. Id. The Arbitrator found that the two means of notifying a supervisor of a request for sick leave listed in the agreement were not exclusive. The Arbitrator found also that the Agency could implement changes in the procedure for requesting sick leave "if proper notice is given . . . and if the changes are reasonable." Id. The Arbitrator issued the following award: The Grievance is affirmed. The 16 hours of AWOL assigned to the grievant was (sic) not for just cause. The oral admonishment was acceptable. Id. at 4. III. Positions of the Parties A. The Union The Union contends that, in view of the written comments in the Arbitrator's decision, the Arbitrator's finding that the oral admonishment was acceptable "does not meet the contract standard of 'just cause.'" Exceptions at 1 (citation omitted). The Union maintains that the grievant was given an oral admonishment and charged with 16 hours of AWOL for failure to comply with the parties' collective bargaining agreement, and that "neither charge was upheld by the Arbitrator." Id. at 2. Therefore, the Union contends that "(f)or the Arbitrator to say the admonishment was acceptable is unreasonable and unacceptable." Id. B. The Agency The Agency argues that the Union's exceptions "fail to state any ground" on which the Authority will find an arbitrator's award deficient and are "totally without merit." Opposition at 3, 5. IV. Discussion We conclude that the Union has not established that the Arbitrator's award is deficient on any 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. In our view, the Union's contentions that the award does not meet the contract standard of just cause and that for the Arbitrator to say the admonishment was acceptable is unreasonable and unacceptable are an attempt to relitigate the merits of this case before the Authority. We find that these contentions constitute nothing more than disagreement with the Arbitrator's finding and conclusion that the oral admonishment was acceptable. Contentions that constitute nothing more than an attempt to relitigate the merits of a case before the Authority and disagreement with an arbitrator's findings and conclusions provide no basis for finding an award deficient under the Statute. See Department of the Army, Headquarters, United States Army Aviation Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1815, 33 FLRA 53 (1988). Accordingly, we will deny the Union's exceptions. V. Decision The Union's exceptions are denied.