U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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12:0609(113)AR - NTEU and Nuclear Regulatory Commission -- 1983 FLRAdec AR

[ v12 p609 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 12 FLRA No. 113
                                            Case No. O-AR-535
    This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of
 Arbitrator Herbert Fishgold filed by the Agency under section 7122(a) of
 the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of
 the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
    The dispute arose in connection with a series of grievances
 concerning career ladder promotions.  The Agency denied the grievances
 and the Union invoked arbitration in each case.  The parties then
 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to divide the
 grievances into certain categories and according to office lines within
 categories, and to refer to arbitration a threshold procedural issue
 involving interpretation of a particular provision of their collective
 bargaining agreement.  The matter referred to the Arbitrator in this
 case was the order in which grievances would proceed to arbitration
 hearing or, more specifically, whether the party invoking arbitration
 could unilaterally choose the order in which grievances would be heard.
 The Union maintained that under the same provision the grievances had to
 be heard in the order in which arbitration was invoked.  The Arbitrator
 found that the pertinent agreement provision was silent on the issue in
 dispute and that the silence presented some ambiguity.  In construing
 the provision, however, the Arbitrator concluded, and ruled as his
 award, that the Union could proceed to arbitration hearing based upon
 the grievance divisions set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding,
 regardless of the order in which any individual grievance was appealed
 to arbitration.
    In its exceptions, the Agency contends (1) that the Arbitrator's
 award failed to interpret and draw its essence from the parties'
 collective bargaining agreement, and (2) that the Arbitrator violated
 his jurisdiction to decide the matter in dispute between the parties.
 In support of its exceptions, the Agency asserts, in essence, that the
 Arbitrator should have provided an interpretation of the relevant
 agreement provision that would be applicable to all grievances and not
 just to the grievances concerning career ladder promotions that gave
 rise to this dispute and, moreover, that the Arbitrator erred in his
 interpretation and application of the relevant agreement provision.
    Upon careful consideration of the entire record before the Authority,
 including the contentions of the parties, the Authority concludes that
 the Agency has failed to establish that the Arbitrator's award is
 deficient.  It is clear that the Agency is merely attempting to
 relitigate the merits of the case before the Authority and that the
 thrust of the Agency's exceptions constitutes nothing more than
 disagreement with the Arbitrator's interpretation and application of the
 parties' agreement and with his reasoning and conclusions in resolving
 the dispute before him.  It is well-established that such disagreement
 does not provide a basis for finding the award deficient.  E.g.,
 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1210 and Immigration
 and Naturalization Service, 8 FLRA No. 17 (1982);  Social Security
 Administration and American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO,
 Local No. 1923, 5 FLRA No. 33 (1981);  Supervisor of Shipbuilding,
 Conversion Repair, United States Navy and Local R4-2, National
 Association of Government Employees, 5 FLRA No. 29 (1981);  American
 Federation of Government Employees, Local 1923, AFL-CIO and Social
 Security Administration, Headquarters Bureaus and Offices, 4 FLRA 112
 (1980).  Issued, Washington, D.C., August 16, 1983
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Member
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY