Please note that Friday, January 20, 2017, is a federal holiday for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  The following FLRA offices will not be open to accept in-person case filings or to respond to phone calls on that day:  the Authority’s Case Intake and Publication Office, the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the Washington Regional Office, and the Federal Service Impasses Panel.  The FLRA’s eFiling System remains available.         


[ v29 p465 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

29 FLRA NO. 45




LOCAL 3953


Case No. 0-AR-1398


I. Statement of the Case

This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator Stanley H. Sergent, Jr. 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 Agency filed an opposition. For the reasons stated below, the Union's exceptions are denied.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

The Union grieved the Agency's alleged violation of the parties' agreement by the Agency's refusal to grant the Union President official time and payment of travel and per diem for his representational duties. The grievance was submitted to arbitration. Prior to a scheduled hearing, the Arbitrator permitted the Union to use the hearing for the purpose of addressing procedural questions relating to witnesses. The issues before the Arbitrator in this case were (1) which, if any, of the witnesses requested by the Union were relevant and necessary to testify in the hearing; and (2) whether those witnesses were entitled to travel and per diem expenses.

As to the first issue, the Arbitrator determined, based on his interpretation of the parties' agreement, that the testimony of only one witness was relevant and necessary. As to the second issue, he found that Article 37, Section 4D of the parties' agreement does not compel the Agency to pay travel and/or per diem expenses of employees called as  witnesses in arbitration. He based this determination on the following factors: (1) the section makes no mention of an allowance for travel and per diem expenses; (2) the fact that negotiators of the agreement specifically provided for the payment of travel and per diem in other provisions of the parties' agreement produced a compelling inference that the parties did not intend duty status under Article 37 to include travel and per diem; and (3) the parties' bargaining history showed that during negotiations a proposal by the Union which would have obligated the Agency to pay the travel expenses of witnesses to an arbitration hearing was considered and rejected.

III. Discussion

The Union contends that the part of the award rejecting the Union's request for payment of travel and per diem expenses is contrary to law, specifically 5 U.S.C. 5701. The Union asserts that Federal employees are entitled to travel and per diem while in a duty status.

We conclude that the Union has failed to establish that the Arbitrator's award is deficient on any of the grounds set forth in section 7122(a) of the Statute; that is, that the award is contrary to law, rule, or regulation or that the award is deficient on other grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor-management relations. The Union's arguments constitute nothing more than disagreement with the Arbitrator's interpretation and application of the parties' agreement. We consistently have held that such disagreement provides no basis for finding an award deficient. See, for example, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District and National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 29, 22 FLRA No. 15 (1986). Accordingly, the Union's exceptions are denied.

Issued, Washington, D.C., September 30, 1987.

Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman

Henry B. Frazier III, Member

Jean McKee, Member