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18:0416(57)AR - VA Medical Center, Kerrville, TX and AFGE Local 2281 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR

[ v18 p416 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 18 FLRA No. 57
                                            Case No. 0-AR-482
    This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
 Arbitrator I. B. Helburn filed by the Activity under section 7122(a) of
 the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of
 the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
    The dispute in this matter concerns the grievant's claim that she was
 reassigned improperly from a retail cash register position to a
 dishwashing machine position.  The Arbitrator found that the decision to
 reassign the grievant from the cash register position was justified
 because of the grievant's unacceptable performance in that job.
 However, the Arbitrator further found that since the dish machine
 position had been filled in the past by the most junior employees in
 terms of seniority, reassignment of the grievant to that job rather than
 to an intermediate position more consistent with her seniority was an
 unfair departure from past practice and violative of the parties'
 collective bargaining agreement.  As a remedy, the Arbitrator directed
          The grievant is to be given her choice of positions in the
       Veterans' Canteen Service, with the exception of the retail cash
       register position, provided that she is qualified and further
       provided that in exercising her choice, the grievant will not
       displace another employee with more seniority than herself.
    In its exception, the Agency contends, among other things, that the
 award is deficient because it is contrary to management's right to
 assign employees under 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.  The Authority
    In American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 214
 and Department of the Air Force, Headquarters, Air Force Logistics
 Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 8 FLRA 425 (1982), the
 Authority found that proposals, which would have permitted employees who
 were to be reassigned to choose the vacant position to which they would
 be reassigned and which would have required reassignments based upon
 employee preference and seniority, directly interfered with management's
 right to assign employees under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.
 Further in that regard, it is well-established that an arbitrator's
 award likewise may not interfere with the exercise by an agency of its
 rights under section 7106(a) of the Statute.  Veterans Administration,
 Lebanon, Pennsylvania and American Federation of Government Employees,
 AFL-CIO, Local 1966, 11 FLRA No. 43 (1982).
    Thus, in terms of this case, by directing that the grievant be given
 a choice of reassignment and in effect requiring that if she exercised
 such choice that she be reassigned based upon her preference and her
 seniority, the Arbitrator's award directly interferes with management's
 right to assign employees under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.
    Accordingly, the award is set aside.  Issued, Washington, D.C., June
 13, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY