37:0566(42)AR - - Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Providence, RI and LIUNA Local 1056 - - 1990 FLRAdec AR - - v37 p566

[ v37 p566 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

37 FLRA No. 42









LOCAL 1056




September 26, 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 Harry B. Purcell. A grievance was filed over the Activity's changes in the position description for the position of carpenter. The Arbitrator sustained the grievance and ordered that the changes in the carpenter position description not be implemented until the parties negotiate a resolution of the dispute.

The Activity filed an exception 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 Union filed an opposition to the Activity's exception.

We conclude that the award must be modified to limit bargaining to the impact and implementation of the changes.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

In May 1988, the grievant, a carpenter, WG-4607, protested the assignment of masonry removal work because it was not part of his position description. On June 9, 1988, the Activity's chief of engineering service approved a "redescription" for the position of carpenter, WG-4607. Award at 2. In addition to language changes, the "redescription" added the following language: "repair of gutters and downspouts, and removal of masonry, sheet rock, or plastered walls and ceilings" and "Performs other duties as assigned by the Buildings Unit Supervisor that revolve around the work scope of the unit." Id.

The Union filed a grievance. The grievance was not resolved and was submitted to arbitration on the stipulated issue of whether the Activity violated the parties' agreement when it changed the carpenter position description.

The Arbitrator sustained the grievance. The Arbitrator found that the Activity's action was arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory, in violation of the agreement, and that the Activity failed to notify the Union president in advance of the changes as required by the agreement. As a remedy, the Arbitrator ordered as follows:

The remedy hereby ordered by this Award is that the Redescription of the job classification of Carpenter, issued June 9, 1985 [sic] (Joint Exhibit No. 7) shall not be implemented from the date this Award is received by the Parties but the same shall be held in abeyance pending a resolution of the dispute by the Company and the Union through collective bargaining which negotiations shall be conducted in good faith.

Id. at 10.

III. Positions of the Parties

A. Activity

In its exception, the Activity contends that the award is contrary to management's right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute. The Activity maintains that the award requires it to negotiate about duties prior to assigning them. The Activity argues that the award prohibits management from making any changes in the duties in a position description without first negotiating over the changes with the Union. The Agency asserts that to the extent that the award requires bargaining over the assignment of work, the award is deficient.

B. Union

In its opposition, the Union contends that the award is not contrary to management's right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B). The Union argues that the award does not prevent the Activity from assigning new duties to the carpenter position description, but only requires the Activity to observe the collective bargaining agreement and stay implementation of the changes pending com