United States, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Metropolitan Detention Center, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico (Agency) and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 4052 (Union)

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58 FLRA No. 134



LOCAL 4052




May 22, 2003


Before the Authority: Dale Cabaniss, Chairman, and
Carol Waller Pope and Tony Armendariz, Members

I.      Statement of the Case

      This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Ray Fernandez filed by the Agency under § 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority's Regulations. The Union filed an opposition to the Agency's exceptions.

      The Arbitrator found that the Agency violated the parties' agreement by failing to provide uniform allowances for certain non-correctional employees, and directed the Agency to provide such allowances. For the reasons that follow, we find that the award is deficient because it fails to draw its essence from the parties' agreement. Accordingly, we set aside the award.

II.     Background and Arbitrator's Award

      In 1999, the Agency began assigning non-correctional staff to correctional posts on a temporary basis. Unlike correctional staff, the non-correctional employees were not required to wear a uniform and did not receive a uniform allowance. The Union filed a grievance alleging that the Agency violated the parties' agreement by failing to provide non-correctional employees a uniform allowance. The grievance was unresolved and submitted to arbitration, where the issues were framed as: (1) "Is this an arbitrable case[;]" and (2) "Should non-correctional employees temporarily assigned to correctional officer posts be entitled to a uniform allowance, and if so what shall be the remedy?" Award at 2.

      The Arbitrator concluded that the Agency violated Article 28, Section f, of the parties' agreement, which provides that "[t]he employer will pay an allowance each year to each employee who is required by policy to wear a uniform in the performance of their duties." Id. at 10. In reaching that conclusion, the Arbitrator applied the policies set forth in the Agency's Correctional Services Manual and the Human Resources Manual, which the Arbitrator found required all employees -- including the non-correctional staff at issue -- to wear a uniform when assigned to a correctional post. The Arbitrator rejected the Agency's claim that non-correctional staff were not entitled to a uniform allowance because the Agency did not require those employees to wear uniforms when temporarily assigned to a correctional post. The Arbitrator awarded the employees at issue a uniform allowance and a retroactive payment for past violations based on a specific formula. Id. at 12.

III.     Positions of the Parties

A.     Agency's Exceptions

      The Agency argues that the award fails to draw its essence from Article 28 of the parties' agreement, which incorporates the Agency's uniform policy, because the Agency does not require non-correctional employees to wear uniforms when temporarily assigned to correctional posts.