50:0191(36)AR - - AFGE, Local 1760 and HHS, SSA, Northeastern Processing Center, Jamaica, NY - - 1995 FLRAdec AR - - v50 p191
[ v50 p191 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
50 FLRA No. 36
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
NORTHEASTERN PROCESSING CENTER
JAMAICA, NEW YORK
February 28, 1995
Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Pamela Talkin, Members.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on an exception to an award of Arbitrator Ruth Russell Gray 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 filed an opposition to the Union's exception.(1)
The Arbitrator denied a grievance challenging the Agency's 3-day suspension of the grievant.
For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the Union's exception fails to establish that the Arbitrator's award is deficient under section 7122(a) of the Statute. Accordingly, we deny the exception.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The Agency suspended the grievant for 3 days based on his behavior during an altercation with his supervisor. The Union grieved the suspension and the grievance was submitted to arbitration.
The Arbitrator found that the issue presented by the grievance was whether the grievant was suspended for just cause and, if not, what was the appropriate remedy. Based on her credibility determinations, the Arbitrator found that the grievant had been suspended for just cause.
A. Union's Contentions
The Union contends that the award is deficient because it does not draw its essence from Article 1, section 1 and Article 23, section 1 of the parties' agreement.(2) The Union claims that the Arbitrator erred by failing to apply the standard of progressive discipline and the tests of "efficiency of the service" and "just cause" set forth in those provisions. Moreover, citing Douglas v. Veterans Administration, 5 MSPR 280 (1981) (Douglas), the Union claims that the Agency provided no evidence that would justify the penalty imposed and the Arbitrator erred by not considering the appropriateness of the 3-day suspension.
B. Agency's Opposition
The Agency contends that the Union's exception constitutes mere disagreement with the Arbitrator's interpretation of the parties' agreement and with her determination that the grievant's suspension was for just cause.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
To demonstrate that an award is deficient because it fails to draw its essence from the parties' collective bargaining agreement, a party must show that an 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 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. S