American Federation of Government Employees, Local 400 (Union) and United States, Department of the Army, Army Medical Department Activity Headquarters, 10TH Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York (Agency)

[ v58 p603 ]

58 FLRA No. 152

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 400
(Union)

and

UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
ARMY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITY
HEADQUARTERS, 10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION
FORT DRUM, NEW YORK
(Agency)

0-AR-3616

_____

DECISION

June 30, 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 an exception to an award of Arbitrator Eric W. Lawson, Jr. filed by the Union under § 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 exception.

      The Arbitrator ruled that the Union violated the parties' collective bargaining agreement by bringing an outside consultant into the workplace after permission to do so was denied by the Agency. The Union has provided no basis for finding the award deficient. Accordingly, we deny the Union's exception.

II.     Background and Arbitrator's Award

      The parties were negotiating over the removal of a partition at the Agency's medical facility. The Union requested permission to have its consultant examine the partition, but the Agency denied the request. Subsequently, a Union representative brought the consultant into the medical facility, and the Agency filed a grievance.

      As relevant here, the Arbitrator framed the issue as whether the Union violated Article 3, Section 4 of the [ v58 p604 ] parties' collective bargaining agreement. [n1]  The Arbitrator sustained the grievance. He found that the Agency had the right under Article 3, Section 4 to determine who would be allowed into the medical facility because such a determination related to internal security. Accordingly, he ruled that the Union violated Article 3, Section 4 when it facilitated the presence of its consultant at the medical facility in violation of an order from the Agency not to do so.

III.     Positions of the Parties

A.     Union's Exception

      The Union contends that the award fails to draw its essence from the agreement. The Union argues that the award cannot in any rational way be derived from the agreement because there was no testimony given to show that the Union violated any of the Agency's rights under Article 3, Section 4. Specifically, the Union asserts that there was no testimony to show that the Union violated or interfered with any internal security practices of the Agency.

B.     Agency's Opposition

      The Agency contends that the Union provides no basis for finding that the award fails to draw its essence from the agreement.

IV.     Analysis and Conclusions

      In reviewing an arbitrator's interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement, we apply the deferential standard of review that the Federal courts apply in reviewing grievance arbitration awards in the private sector. See, e.g., AFGE Local 2608, 56 FLRA776, 778 (2000). Our review is deferential because it is the arbitrator's interpretation of the agreement for which the parties have bargained. See, e.g., United States Dep't of the Air Force, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., 56 FLRA 249, 251 (2000). Under this standard, the Authority will find that an arbitration award is deficient as failing to draw its essence from the collective bargaining agreement when the appealing party establishes 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 purposes of the collective bargaining agreement as to manifest an infidelity to the obligation of the arbitrator; (3) does not represent a plausible interpretation of the agreement; or (4) evidences a manifest disregard of the agreement. See United States Dep't of Labor (OSHA), 34 FLRA573, 575 (1990).

      In this case, the Arbitrator found that the Agency had the right under Article 3, Section 4 to determine who would be allowed into the facility because such a determination related to inte