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U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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19:0246(29)AR - SSA, Office of Assessment, Office of Field Operations and AFGE, National Council of SSA Field Assessment Locals -- 1985 FLRAdec AR

[ v19 p246 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 19 FLRA No. 29
                                            Case No. O-AR-943
    This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of
 Arbitrator Sinclair Kossoff 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 before the Arbitrator concerned the Activity's
 implementation of revised performance standards for the position of
 quality review specialist.  A grievance was filed and submitted to
 arbitration contending that the new performance standards "violate the
 statutory requirement concerning use of single and multiple performance
 standards under non-SES performance systems as well as the National
 Agreement between SSA and AFGE dated June 11, 1982, Articles 1, 2, 3,
 and 21." The Arbitrator first determined that the grievance was
 arbitrable notwithstanding the Activity's contention that the revised
 standards had not been applied to any employee.  On the merits, the
 Arbitrator determined that one of the revised performance standards
 violated the parties' collective bargaining agreement and ordered that
 it be revised in accordance with his opinion accompanying the award.
    As one of its exceptions, the Agency contends that by finding the
 grievance arbitrable, the award is contrary to section 7106(a)(2)(A) and
 (B) of the Statute.  The Authority agrees.
    Although the Authority has held that a grievance challenging the
 application of performance standards to a particular employee does not
 interfere with the exercise of management rights under the Statute,
 e.g., American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 32 and
 Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C., 3 FLRA 784, 789-94
 (1980), the Authority has uniformly found deficient, as contrary to
 management's right to direct employees and to assign work under section
 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute, arbitration awards which have
 determined grievances challenging an agency's establishment of
 performance standards to be grievable and arbitrable, National Treasury
 Employees Union and U.S. Customs Service, 17 FLRA No. 12 (1985);
 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1917 and United
 States Immigration and Naturalization Service, 15 FLRA No. 147 (1984)
 (both cases citing American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO,
 Local 1968 and Department of Transportation, Saint Lawrence Seaway
 Development Corporation, Massena, New York, 5 FLRA 70, 79-80 (1981),
 aff'd sub nom. AFGE Local 1968 v. FLRA, 691 F.2d 565 (D.C. Cir. 1982),
 cert. denied, 461 U.S. 926 (1983)).  In terms of this case, contrary to
 the Union's argument that the grievance merely objected to the procedure
 used to adopt the revised standards, the grievance plainly objected to
 the content of the revised standards and directly challenged the
 Activity's exercise of its authority to establish new standards.
 Consequently, the Authority concludes that the award, by finding the
 grievance arbitrable and resolving the grievance on the merits, is
 deficient in its entirety as contrary to section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B)
 of the Statute.  Accordingly, the award is set aside.  /1/ Issued,
 Washington, D.C., July 22, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    /1/ In view of this decision, it is unnecessary for the Authority to
 address the Agency's other exceptions to the award.