34:0304(57)AR - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND and AFGE, LOCAL 1592 -- 1990 FLRAdec AR



[ v34 p304 ]
34:0304(57)AR
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