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14:0103(20)AR - Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital, Columbia, MO and AFGE Local No. 3399 -- 1984 FLRAdec AR

[ v14 p103 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 14 FLRA No. 20
 LOCAL NO. 3399
                                            Case No. O-AR-203
    This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
 Arbitrator Thomas J. Erbs 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 Rules and Regulations.
    The parties submitted to arbitration the issue of whether the
 reprimand of the grievant, the local union president, for
 insubordination was for just cause.  In his discussion of the dispute,
 the Arbitrator outlined the situation leading to the assessment of
 discipline against the grievant.  In early June 1980 the grievant in his
 capacity as union president requested negotiations with the Activity
 over official time for union business and, on June 26, 1980, advised
 that he would be ready for negotiations on the morning of June 30, 1980.
  On June 17, the Activity's personnel department advised the grievant
 that such negotiations were not appropriate and would not take place,
 that no official time would be granted for that purpose, and that the
 grievant's absence from his work site without proper annual leave or
 leave without pay authorization could result in disciplinary action.
 Nevertheless, the grievant requested official time from his immediate
 supervisor on the morning of June 30 for the purpose of such
 negotiations without informing the supervisor of the directive from the
 personnel department.  Shortly thereafter, the grievant was given a
 direct order by his immediate supervisor to return to work.  This order
 was disobeyed.  It was not until later in the day after receiving a
 written order that the grievant returned to work.  Thereafter, the
 grievant received the written reprimand which was the subject of the
    The Arbitrator ruled that the grievant had been insubordinate by not
 obeying the first order to return to work and that the written reprimand
 was appropriate.  Accordingly, as his award, the Arbitrator denied the
    In its exception the Union principally contends that the award is
 contrary to the Statute.  In support the Union argues that on the
 morning of June 30, the grievant was absent from his work site for the
 purpose of conducting union business and that he was not subject to
 being ordered to return to his work site until he was satisfied that he
 had fulfilled his responsibilities as union president.  Thus, the Union
 maintains that the grievant was engaged in activities protected under
 the Statute and the parties' collective bargaining agreement and
 consequently was not subject to discipline for actions while so engaged.
    Upon careful consideration of the entire record before the Authority,
 including the contentions of the Union, the Authority concludes that the
 Union has failed to establish that the award is deficient.  There is no
 support in the record for the Union's contention that the Statute and
 corresponding provisions of the agreement precluded the Arbitrator from
 finding that the grievant was insubordinate.  There is no authority
 under the Statute to support the assertion that the grievant was immune
 from discipline until such time as he determined that his
 responsibilities as union president had been fulfilled.  To the
 contrary, nothing in the Statute operates to insulate the grievant from
 discipline in the circumstances of this case.  See United States Forces
 Korea/Eighth United States Army and National Federation of Federal
 Employees, Local 1363, 11 FLRA No. 79(1983), at 3 n.3.  Accordingly, the
 Union's exception is denied.
    Issued, Washington, D.C., March 16, 1984
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Member
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY