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31:1268(114)AR - Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH and AFGE Council 214 -- 1988 FLRAdec AR

[ v31 p1268 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

31 FLRA NO. 114






                                         Case No. 0-AR-1473


     I. Statement of the Case

     This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the
award of Arbitrator Donald V. Staudter 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. This case concerns the Arbitrator's
interpretation of the time limit for the Union to invoke
expedited arbitration under the parties' collective bargaining
agreement. For the reasons stated below, the Union's exception is

     II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

     The Union filed a grievance over the interpretation of
section 7.08(c) of the parties' master labor agreement, entitled
"Invoking Expedited Arbitration." That section states that if the
Union wishes to invoke expedited arbitration, the Union must
present to the Agency "a written request for expedited
arbitration within five workdays of the (Agency's) Step 3
decision." The issue before the Arbitrator was whether the time
limit for the Union to invoke expedited arbitration was within 5
workdays of the date of the Step 3 grievance decision or within 5
workdays of the Union's receipt of the Step 3 grievance decision.

     Based on his interpretation of the parties' agreement, the
Arbitrator determined that the time limit for the Union to invoke
expedited arbitration was within 5 workdays of the date of the
Agency's Step 3 grievance decision. He found no evidence or past
practice establishing a different time frame.

     III. Discussion

     The Union contends that the Arbitrator's award violates
section 7121(b) of the Statute. Specifically, the Union asserts
that the award violates the requirements of section 7121(b) that
the parties' negotiated grievance procedure: (1) "be fair and
simple"; (2) "assure an exclusive representative the right, in
its own behalf or on behalf of any employee in the unit
represented by the exclusive representative, to present and
process grievances"; and (3) "provide that any grievance not
satisfactorily settled under the negotiated grievance procedure
shall be subject to binding arbitration which may be invoked by
either the exclusive representative or the agency." The Union
asserts that under the award, it will not be able to invoke
expedited arbitration if it receives Step 3 decisions more than 5
workdays after the date of those decisions. According to the
Union, the award violates section 7121(b) because it may prevent
the Union from invoking expedited arbitration. The Agency did not
file an opposition.

     We find that the award does not conflict with section
7121(b) of the Statute. The Arbitrator's interpretation of the
contractual provision, which requires the Union to present a
written request to the Agency within 5 workdays of the Agency's
Step 3 grievance decision, is not in and of itself unfair, does
not necessarily preclude the Union from invoking expedited
arbitration, and is not otherwise in violation of section
7121(b). We conclude, therefore, 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 it
is deficient on other grounds similar to those applied by Federal
courts in private sector labor-management relations.

     This case does not present an issue as to a specific
application of the parties' contractual provision. Therefore, we
do not address whether or not any particular application of this
contractual provision would violate section 7121(b) of the

     The Union's contentions constitute no more than disagreement
with the Arbitrator's interpretation of the parties' agreement.
We consistently have held that such disagreement provides no
basis for finding an award deficient. See, for example, Defense
Logistics Agency and The DLA council of American Federation of
Government Employees (AFGE) AFL - CIO Locals, Local 3953, 29 
FLRA  465 (1987). Therefore, the Union's exception is denied.

Issued, Washington, D.C., April 28, 1988.

                         Jerry L. Calhoun,        Chairman

                         Jean McKee,                Member