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The decision of the Authority follows:
23 FLRA NO. 52
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GEORGIA Activity and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2317 Union Case No. 0-AR-1122
This case is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator J. Thomas King filed by the Department of the Navy (the Agency) under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
A grievance was filed and submitted to arbitration claiming that for an extended period of time, the grievant had been denied overtime work assignments in violation of the overtime provisions of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. The grievant was a heavy equipment inspector assigned to shop 714 at the Activity. The overtime to which he claimed entitlement had been assigned to four heavy mobile equipment inspectors in shop 723. At arbitration the Activity explained that the overtime work of shop 723 was not assigned to the grievant because he did not possess the necessary familiarity with the inspection work of shop 723, which was different than shop 714, and did not possess the special skills required to assure the continuity and efficiency of that inspection work. Thus, the Arbitrator stated the dispositive issue to be whether the grievant had the requisite familiarity and special skills for the performance of the inspection work of shop 723. The Arbitrator [ v23 p369 ] found, contrary to the determination of the Activity, that the grievant had the special skills necessary for the performance of the work of shop 723 and that granted an opportunity to perform the work on overtime, the grievant had the capability to become sufficiently familiar with that inspection work. On this basis, the Arbitrator found that under the collective bargaining agreement, the grievant should have been offered overtime work assignments in shop 723, and he sustained the grievance. As a remedy the Arbitrator directed the Activity to assign the grievant overtime work in shop 723 in sufficient amounts to permit him to recoup that which he had been improperly denied since 1983.
In its exceptions the Agency contends that the award is contrary to section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute because it interferes with management's right to assign work. In particular, the Agency argues that the Arbitrator has substituted his judgment for that of management in determining which employees were qualified to perform the work of shop 723 on overtime.
The Authority agrees with the Agency. The Authority has repeatedly held that an arbitration award may not interpret or enforce a collective bargaining agreement so as to improperly deny an agency the authority to exercise the rights enumerated in section 7106(a) of the Statute. See, for example, Southwestern Power Administration and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1002, 22 FLRA No. 48 (1986). Section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute, in particular, reserves to management officials the authority to assign work. Encompassed within that right is the discretion to establish the particular qualifications needed to perform the work assignment and to exercise judgment in determining whether a particular employee meets those qualifications. National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Region, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce, Gloucester, Massachusetts and International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, AFL - CIO, Boston, Massachusetts, 22 FLRA No. 43 (1986); U.S. Customs Service, Laredo, Texas and Chapter 145, National Treasury Employees Union, 17 FLRA 68 (1985).
In this case the Activity had not assigned overtime work of shop 723 to the grievant because the Activity [ v23 p370 ] determined he was not qualified: he did not possess the necessary familiarity with the inspection work of shop 723 and the special skills required to assure the continuity and efficiency of that inspection work. Thus, the Arbitrator has negated the exercise by management of the rights to establish qualifications and to determine whether particular employees meet those qualifications when the Arbitrator as his award found that under the agreement the grievant was qualified for and entitled to have been offered overtime work assignments in shop 723 and directed that he be assigned such work. See U.S. Customs Service, Laredo, Texas, 17 FLRA at 69. Thus, the Arbitrator has not merely enforced a procedure of the parties' collective bargaining agreement by which employees previously judged by management to be equally qualified will be selected to perform certain work. See National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Region. Instead, the Arbitrator has enforced the collective bargaining agreement to improperly interfere with management's right to assign work in accordance with section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute.
Accordingly, for these reasons, the Arbitrator's award is set aside. 1
Issued, Washington, D.C. September 23, 1986. Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman Henry B. Frazier III, Member Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
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Footnote 1 In view of this decision, it is not necessary for the Authority to address the Agency's other contentions in its exceptions.