51:0993(82)AR - - National Air Traffic Controllers Assc. & FAA, Southern CA Tracon, ( Dept. of Transportation ) - - 1996 FLRAdec AR - - v51 p993
[ v51 p993 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
51 FLRA No. 82
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TRACON
March 27, 1996
Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Donald S. Wasserman, Members.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Thomas H. Vitaich 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 Regulations. The Agency filed an opposition to the Union's exceptions.
The Arbitrator determined that the Agency had properly terminated retention allowances of the grievants when they transferred to a new facility.
We conclude that the Union fails to establish that the award is deficient under section 7122(a) of the Statute. Accordingly, we deny the exceptions.
II. Arbitrator's Award
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved a demonstration project by the Agency "to recruit and retain experienced, qualified employees in designated occupations in certain hard-to-staff facilities." 54 Fed. Reg. 10200 (1989). Based on factors specified in the project plan, 22 facilities were included in the project. Employees in the designated occupations assigned to the facilities covered by the project received a quarterly retention allowance (demonstration project pay). Among the facilities included in the project were Los Angeles Terminal Radar Approach Control (LA TRACON) and Coast TRACON.
In 1993 and 1994, the Agency consolidated five TRACON facilities into one newly created facility known as Southern California TRACON (SCT). Among the five TRACONs consolidated into SCT were LA TRACON and Coast TRACON. As a new facility, SCT was not a facility covered by the pay demonstration project. When the employees in positions covered by the project transferred from LA TRACON and Coast TRACON to SCT, the Agency terminated their demonstration project pay. The Union filed a grievance that was submitted to arbitration on the following merits issue:
Did the FAA comply with Federal law, Rules, Regulations, and Congressional intent in discontinuing Pay Demonstration payments for bargaining unit members occupying covered positions at Los Angeles and Coast approaches whose positions have now been transferred to Southern California TRACON (SCT)?
Award at 2.
The Arbitrator denied the grievance. He determined that, under the pay demonstration project plan, an employee must be both in a covered position and assigned to a covered facility. He found that OPM was authorized to extend the project to other facilities, but that OPM had not extended the project to cover SCT. Accordingly, he ruled that it would have been inconsistent with OPM's final project plan for the Agency to have continued the demonstration project pay for employees at a facility that had never been covered by the project. Therefore, the Arbitrator concluded that the Agency had not violated any rule or regulation concerning the pay demonstration project, and he denied the grievance.
A. Union's Contentions
The Union contends that the Arbitrator exceeded his authority and that the award is contrary to law. The Union argues that the issue submitted to the Arbitrator involved whether the Agency properly discontinued demonstration project pay for unit employees in covered positions and that the Arbitrator exceeded his authority by redefining the issue to add the issue of whether the positions were transferred to a facility covered by the project plan. The Union argues that the award is contrary to law because, as found by the Arbitrator, the Agency's termination of demonstration project pay to employees transferring to SCT modified the project. The Union maintains that the Agency's unilateral action was not in acco