24:0913(87)AR - AFGE Council 236 and GSA -- 1986 FLRAdec AR
[ v24 p913 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
24 FLRA No. 87 AMERICAN FEDERATION GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 236 Union and GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION Agency Case Nos. 0-AR-711 and 0-AR-772 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE These cases are before the Authority at this time on a motion filed by the Agency on April 30, 1985, seeking reconsideration of the establish in its exceptions that the Arbitrator's award was deficient on any of the grounds set forth in section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. The Authority therefore denied the Agency's exceptions. II. AGENCY'S CONTENTIONS In its motion for reconsideration, the Agency essentially contends that the Authority's decisions are inconsistent with the March 26, 1985 decision of the Authority in National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 615 and National Park Service, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, U.S. Department of Interior, 17 FLRA 318 (1985), aff'd sub nom. NFFE Local 615 v. FLRA, 801 F.2d 477 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 12, 1986). The Agency argues that because of this inconsistency, circumstances exist which compel reconsideration by the Authority of the disputed decisions. It also appears that the Agency is seeking a waiver of the expired time limit for filing its motion. /2/ The Agency's motion was filed nearly eight months after the Authority denied the Agency's first motion for reconsideration in Case No. 0-AR-711 and denied the Agency's exceptions in Case No. 0-AR-772. III. ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION Section 2429.17 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations provides, in pertinent part: Section 2429.17 Reconsideration. After a final decision or order of the Authority has been issued, a party to the proceeding before the Authority who can establish in its moving papers extraordinary circumstances for so doing, may move for reconsideration of such final decision or order. The motion shall be filed within 10 days after the service of the Authority's decision or order. We conclude that the Agency has failed to establish any extraordinary circumstance which would warrant waiving the expired time limit for filing its motion for reconsideration and compel or warrant reopening and reconsidering Case Nos. 0-AR-711 or 0-AR-772. The Agency has failed to establish that the decisions in these cases were inconsistent with existing precedent when they were issued. Moreover, even assuming that the decisions are inconsistent with Sequoia and Kings Canyon, such circumstance does not by itself warrant reopening and reconsidering the closed cases. The Authority, like other administrative agencies and the courts, may enunciate a new rule of law without reopening previously decided cases and retroactively applying the new law. To do so would have chaotic results. The determination as to whether the new law will be applied retroactively to closed cases is based upon evaluation of the circumstances involved in each situation and consideration of a number of factors, including the effects of allowing relitigation. See Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97, 106-09 (1971); Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618 (1965); Warring v. Colpoys, 122 F.2d 642 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 314 U.S. 678 (1941); Department of the Treasury v. FLRA, 707 F.2d 574 (D.C. Cir. 1983), remanding National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 8 FLRA 136 (1982). As to Case Nos. 0-AR-711 and 0-AR-772, we find that the Agency has not established any extraordinary circumstances in its motion for reconsideration which would warrant disturbing the finality of the awards of the Arbitrators and the decisions of the Authority resolving the disputes involved. This is particularly true in view of the fact that the statutory grievance arbitration system mandates a high degree of deference to arbitration awards and to finality of arbitration in dispute resolution. See General Services Administration and American (1985). The fact that the Authority's decisions in Case Nos. 0-AR-711 and 0-AR-772 may be inconsistent with the subsequent decision in Sequoia and Kings Canyon is not such an extraordinary circumstance as to warrant either waiving the expired time limit for filing a motion for reconsideration or reopening these closed cases. /3/ IV. DECISION For the above reasons, the Agency's motion for reconsideration is denied. Issued, Washington, D.C., December 19, 1986. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- (1) This is the second motion for reconsideration filed by the Agency in Case No. 0-AR-711. The first was denied by the Authority by Order of August 18, 1984. (2) Section 2429.23(b) of the Rules and Regulations provides, in pertinent part: (T)he Authority . . . may waive any expired time limit in this subchapter in extraordinary circumstances. (3) This case is distinguished from Office of Personnel Management and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 32, AFL-CIO, 17 FLRA 21 (1985). In that case, the Authority declined to find that the agency had committed an unfair labor practice when it failed to comply with an arbitration award concerning the termination of a probationary employee. The Authority had previously denied the agency's exceptions to the award. However, based on a subsequent court decision, the Authority essentially determined that the grievance was not grievable or arbitrable as a matter of law and, therefore, that the arbitrator lacked jurisdiction to even consider the matter.