49:0824(77)AR - - HHS, SSA and AFGE, Local 2369 - - 1994 FLRAdec AR - - v49 p824
[ v49 p824 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
49 FLRA No. 77
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2369
April 21, 1994
Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Monroe Berkowitz filed by the Union 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 Agency did not file an opposition to the Union's exceptions.
The Arbitrator denied a grievance contesting the grievant's annual performance appraisal. For the following reasons, we conclude that the Union's exceptions provide no basis for finding the award deficient. Accordingly, we will deny the exceptions.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The grievant filed a grievance disputing her performance ratings in Generic Job Task (GJT) Nos. 1 and 40.(1) When the grievance was not resolved, it was submitted to arbitration on the following issue:
Was [the grievant's] 1992 performance appraisal prepared in accordance with the National Agreement? If not, what shall the remedy be?
Award at 1.
The Arbitrator stated that the grievant was rated at level 3 (fully successful) in the two disputed GJTs and that the grievant sought level 4 (excellent) ratings in them. In addition, the Arbitrator stated that the grievant sought level 5 (outstanding) ratings in the three remaining GJTs, for which she had received level 4 ratings.(2) Further, the Arbitrator stated that, according to the Union, the ratings should be raised because the grievant's supervisor failed to: (1) explain the grievant's performance standards, (2) document the grievant's ratings, and (3) consider circumstances beyond the grievant's control which affected the grievant's performance. In addressing the Union's claims, the Arbitrator noted that, although applicable performance standards described performance at levels 2, 3, and 4, "the [l]evel 5 rating to which [the grievant] aspire[d] has no written performance standard." Id. at 4.
The Arbitrator concluded that the Union failed to establish that the grievant's supervisor acted arbitrarily or capriciously in rating the grievant. In particular, the Arbitrator found that the supervisor's judgment as to the grievant's performance was "based on fact and reached in a fair and equitable manner." Id. at 5. In addition, according to the Arbitrator, it was "clear that [the grievant] was not penalized for matters that were out of his control." Id. Accordingly, the Arbitrator denied the grievance.
III. Positions of the Parties
The Union contends that the award is based on a nonfact. In this regard, the Union contends that "[i]t is obvious that the Arbitrator's denial of the grievance is predicated on his mistaken belief that the grievant was seeking level 5 ratings in all GJTs." Exceptions at 3. According to the Union, but for the Arbitrator's "misapprehension as to the relief sought for GJTs 1 and 40[,] a finding could have been made that the grievant's appraisal had not been prepared in accordance with the [n]ational [a]greement." Id. at 4. The Union also contends that the grievant provided unrebutted testimony that he "deserved a level 4 rating for GJTs 1 and 40." Id. at 3. As such, the Union claims that the award violates Article 21, Section 6(B)(2) of the parties' negotiated agreement.(3)
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
A. Award Is Not Based on a Nonfact
To establish that an award is based on a nonfact, the party making the allegation must demonstrate that the central fact underlying the award is clearly erroneous but for which a different result would have been reached. See American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3947 and U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Medical Center, Rochester, Minnesota, 47 FLRA 1364 (1993).
The Union has not demonstrated that the award is deficient on this ground. The Union alleges that the Arbitrator denied the grievance as to GJT Nos. 1 and 40 because he erroneously believed that the grievant requested level 5 ratings in those GJTs. However, the Arbitrator expressly stated in the award that the grievant sought level 4 ratings in GJT Nos. 1 and 40. Moreover, as noted previously, the grievant sought level 5 ratings in other GJTs. As such, we have no basis on which to conclude that the Arbitrator's reference to level 5 ratings necessarily was made in connection with GJT Nos. 1 and 40. In our view, the Union's claim constitutes mere disagreement with the Arbitrator's findings of fact and evaluation of the evidence and does not provide a reason for finding the award deficient. See American Federation of Government Employees, Council of Prison Locals, Local 171 and U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno, Oklahoma, 49 FLRA 525, 528 (1994).
B. Award Draws Its Essence From the Agreement
To demonstrate that the award fails to draw its essence from a collective bargaining agreement, a party must show that the award: (1) cannot in any rational way be derived from the agreement; (2) is so unfounded in reason and fact, and so unconnected with the wording and the purpose of the agreement as to manifest an infidelity to the obligation of the arbitrator; (3) evidences a manifest disregard for the agreement; or (4) does not represent a plausible interpretation of the agreement. See American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 2477 and Library of Congress, 48 FLRA 1021, 1028 (1993).
The Union has not demonstrated that the award is deficient under any of these tests. The Arbitrator concluded that the supervisor's judgment as to the grievant's ratings "was based on fact and reached in a fair and equitable manner." Award at 5. The Union has not demonstrated that this conclusion is irrational, implausible, or otherwise fails to draw its essence from the parties' agreement. We conclude that the Union's argument is an attempt to relitigate the merits of the grievance before the Authority and constitutes mere disagreement with the Arbitrator's findings and conclusions regarding the Agency's application of its performance standards. Accordingly, this exception does not demonstrate that the award is deficient. See id. at 1028.
The Union has not established that the award is deficient. Accordingly, we will deny the exceptions.
The Union's exceptions are denied.
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
1. GJT No. 1 is entitled "Adjudicates Claims"; GJT No. 40 is entitled "Makes Final and Binding Decisions." Award at 2.
2. The Union does not except to the award as it relates to the three remaining GJT ratings.
3. Article 21, Section 6(b)(2) provides that, "[f]or each job element, the supervisor will select and document one of the five levels which most accurately describes the employee's performance." Exceptions at 4.