48:0783(82)AR - - Air Force, HQ 92nd Bomb Wing, Fairchild AFB, WA and NFFE, Local 11 - - 1993 FLRAdec AR - - v48 p783
[ v48 p783 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
48 FLRA No. 82
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
HEADQUARTERS 92nd BOMB WING
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, WASHINGTON
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
(48 FLRA 403 (1993))
ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION
October 29, 1993
Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on the Union's request for reconsideration of the Authority's decision in 48 FLRA 403 (1993). The Agency did not file an opposition to the request. We conclude that the Union has failed to establish that extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant reconsideration of our decision. Accordingly, we will deny the Union's request for reconsideration.
II. Arbitrator's Award and the Decision in 48 FLRA 403
As set forth in more detail in 48 FLRA 403, the Arbitrator framed two issues that were before him for resolution. The Arbitrator rendered a determination with regard to the first issue on February 22, 1993. As to the second issue, the Arbitrator found that management had not had sufficient opportunity to present evidence because the full extent of the Union's allegations was not clear at the time of the hearing. Accordingly, the Arbitrator provided an opportunity for the Agency to respond to the Union's allegations and he "retain[ed] jurisdiction in this matter until the . . . process for [the second issue was] completed, an [a]ward rendered, and the entire matter resolved." Id., at 404.
The Union filed exceptions to the Arbitrator's February 22, 1993, award contending that it was deficient because it was contrary to law, rule or regulation. As explained more fully in 48 FLRA 403, we found that the Union's exceptions were interlocutory because the Arbitrator's award was clearly not a final award on the dispute. We found that although the Arbitrator rendered a finding on the first issue, he specifically retained jurisdiction over the case to resolve the entire matter. Accordingly, we concluded that the Arbitrator clearly intended to issue another award in the matter. Indeed, during the processing of the exceptions, the Union provided the Authority with a copy of the Arbitrator's final award issued on June 21, 1993. We stated in 48 FLRA 403 that any appeal to the final Arbitrator's award had to be filed by July 26, 1993, and that the time limit for filing such an appeal may not be extended or waived by the Authority, citing 5 C.F.R. § 2429.23(d). No exceptions were filed to that award.
III. Request for Reconsideration
The Union argues that extraordinary circumstances exist for the Authority to reconsider its dismissal of the Union's exceptions, or, in the alternative, to grant an extension or waiver of time limits for filing an exception to the Arbitrator's final award pursuant to 5 C.F.R. § 2429.23. The Union contends that the following reasons constitute extraordinary circumstances and were contributing factors in this case: (1) the two issues in this case were completely separate subjects and the February 22, 1993, award was a final award with respect to the first issue; (2) 5 C.F.R. § 2425 is "extremely vague" concerning the differences between an award and a final award; (3) the length of time that the exceptions were under Authority control was "excessive and severely limited [the Union's] ability to meet the filing time limits[;]" and (4) an Authority representative failed to inform the Union of the interlocutory issue when contacted in early July, 1993, at a time when the Union could have timely filed exceptions to the final award. Request at 1. The Union asserts that it is being penalized for circumstances beyond its control.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
Section 2429.17 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations permit a party that can establish extraordinary circumstances to request reconsideration of an Authority decision. We conclude that the Union has not established extraordinary circumstances within the meaning of section 2429.17.
We find that the Union's first contention, that the two issues before the Arbitrator were completely separate and, therefore, its exceptions were properly filed, constitutes mere disagreement with our finding in 48 FLRA 403 that the Arbitrator retained jurisdiction to resolve the entire matter and with our conclusion that the Union's exceptions were interlocutory. The Union's contention is an attempt to relitigate this issue. As such, this contention does not demonstrate extraordinary circumstances warranting reconsideration of our decision. See, for example, U.S. Department of the Army, Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1770, 38 FLRA 1527, 1531 (1991).
Similarly, as to the Union's other contentions, we find that no extraordinary circumstances exist warranting reconsideration of our decision. Although the Authority's case handling processes, which did not permit an earlier decision on the interlocutory appeal, may have contributed to the Union's failure to timely file exceptions to the Arbitrator's final award, parties dealing with the Federal Government are charged with knowledge of and are bound by statutes and lawfully promulgated regulations despite reliance to their detriment on incorrect (or in this case partial) information received from Government agents or employees. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Billings Area Office, Billings, Montana and National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 478, 39 FLRA 238, 240 (1991). Moreover, it is well established that the time limit for filing exceptions to arbitration awards "may not be extended or waived" by the Authority pursuant to 5 C.F.R. § 2429.23(d).(*)