52:0085(8)AR - - AFGE, Council 215 and SSA, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Falls Church, Virginia - - 1996 FLRAdec AR - - v52 p85



[ v52 p85 ]
52:0085(8)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


52 FLRA No. 8

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

COUNCIL 215

(Union)

and

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND APPEALS

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA(*)

(Agency)

0-AR-2737

_____

DECISION

August 23, 1996

_____

Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Donald S. Wasserman, Members.

I. Statement of the Case

This case is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Richard Trotter filed by the Union under section 7122(a)(2) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority's Regulations. The Agency did not file an opposition to the Union's exceptions.

The Arbitrator denied a grievance claiming that the Agency failed to notify the Union about, and bargain over, the detailing of unit employees.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

The Union filed a grievance challenging the Agency's assignment of 13 unit members to work details. The grievance was denied and proceeded to arbitration. The Arbitrator stated the issue as:

[W]hether the Agency improperly bypassed the Union when [it] solicited volunteers from hearing offices to assist in writing decisions without bargaining with the Union in advance of soliciting volunteers for the details.

Award at 11.

At the close of the arbitration hearing, which was neither recorded nor transcribed, the Union moved that the Arbitrator disqualify himself on the ground that his "abusive misconduct" reflected bias and rendered the hearing unfair. Exceptions at 3. The Arbitrator denied the motion. The next day, the Union notified the Arbitrator and the Agency that it was terminating the Arbitrator's services. Neither the Arbitrator nor the Agency responded.

Thereafter, the Arbitrator issued an award denying the Union's grievance. Finding that the subject of work details was covered by the parties' collective bargaining agreement, the Arbitrator ruled that the Agency satisfied its duty to bargain during contract negotiations.

III. Union's Exceptions

The Union first claims that the Arbitrator was biased. According to the Union, the Arbitrator "belittled the Union representative[,]" "became pre-disposed with assisting the Agency in defending its position[,]" and engaged in "abusive misconduct" that "clearly prejudiced the rights of the Union" and was "destructive of the arbitration process of fairness." Id. at 2-3.

The Union next claims that the Arbitrator failed to conduct a fair hearing. Specifically, the Union asserts that the Arbitrator "refus[ed] to accept and consider . . . relevant evidence[,]" denied the Union's request to present rebuttal testimony "on the basis that he had heard enough[,]" and "interrupted and interfered with [the Union's] questioning of [the] Agency's witnesses[.]" Id. at 2-3.

Finally, the Union claims that its termination notice stripped the Arbitrator of authority to issue a decision and rendered