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The decision of the Authority follows:
32 FLRA No. 41
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
LEXINGTON-BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS
Case No. 0-AR-1497
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of Arbitrator Howard M. Golob. The Arbitrator determined that the grievant was entitled to receive overtime compensation at a higher grade because he performed the duties of a higher grade position. The Agency filed an exception 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 Union filed an opposition to the Agency's exception.
The Agency contends that the matter at issue concerns the classification of a position and that this matter is expressly prohibited from inclusion in the negotiated grievance procedure under section 7121(c)(5) of the Statute. The Union filed an opposition claiming that the question involved in this case is not a question of classification but one of compensation for performing higher level duties. For the reasons stated below, we find that this case does not involve a classification issue under section 7121(c)(5) of the Statute, and, thus, the Agency's exception is denied.
The facility involved in this case is composed of warehouse type structures located on paved roads, off paved roads, and other sites on rough terrain. The grievant is a WG-8 Motor Vehicle Operator. His duties consist mainly of operating truck tractors with trailers attached. On April 16, 1987, and on other occasions on an "on and off" basis, he was assigned to operate a loader scooper that had been modified to operate as a forklift. He claimed that operation of the modified scoop loader was a part of the WG-10 Engineering Equipment Operator's duties, and that he should have been compensated at that rate whenever he operated the vehicle. He filed a grievance, which the Agency denied. The grievance proceeded to arbitration.
III. Arbitrator's Award
The issues before the Arbitrator were: 1) whether the grievance is arbitrable; 2) if so, whether the grievant was denied compensation at the higher grade level; and 3) if so, what should be the remedy.
The Arbitrator first found that the matter was arbitrable. He recognized that any question concerning the classification of the WG-10 position was not arbitrable. However, he concluded that the question at issue was not one of classification. Rather, he found that the issue involved the "duties required of an employee, but not included in his position description" which, according to the parties' collective bargaining agreement, were to be resolved through the negotiated grievance procedure.
The Arbitrator found that the vehicle operated by the grievant, a modified scoop loader, was in fact heavy equipment. Award at 11. He also found that the operation of that type of equipment is included in the position description of the Engineering Equipment Operator, WG-10, and not in the position description of the Motor Vehicle Operator, WG-8. Id. He further found that the grievant had operated the scoop loader and that he had not been properly compensated for operating WG-10 heavy equipment. Award at 12. He concluded that the Agency violated the collective bargaining agreement when it refused to compensate the grievant at the WG-10 rate of compensation, the rate normally paid to the operators of the oversized equipment. Thus, he ordered that the grievant be compensated for the work in question at the overtime rate of a WG-10 employee.
IV. Positions of the Parties
The Agency argues that the award violates section 7121(c)(5) of the Statute because it directly relates to the classification of specific duties assigned to an employee. According to the Agency, the Arbitrator classified the grievant's operation of the modified forklift as a duty corresponding to a WG-10 employee and awarded compensation based upon that classification.
The Union argues that the issue is not one of classification but one of compensation. The Union asserts that "management classified the positions, and that the Arbitrator merely interpreted the two position descriptions upon which the grievance was based." Opposition at 2 (emphasis in original). The Union also claims that management assigned the grievant to perform duties of a higher level position and that, therefore, he should be compensated at the WG-10 rate.
V. Analysis and Conclusions
We disagree with the Agency's contention that the Arbitrator's award violates section 7121(c)(5) of the Statute because it concerns a classification issue. Section 7121(c)(5) provides that matters concerning the classification of any position which do not result in the reduction in grade or pay of an employee are excluded from the negotiated grievance procedure.
The Arbitrator concluded that the grievant's classification was not at issue in this case. He concluded that the grievance was properly before him because it involved whether the duties required of the grievant were included in his position description and that according to the parties's agreement, the grievance procedure was the proper channel for resolving such disputes. The Arbitrator acknowledged that if the question had been one of classification, the matter would not have been arbitrable.
We find that the grievant's classification was not the issue in this case. The classification of a position, as defined in 5 C.F.R. § 511.101 (c), involves "the analysis and identification of a position and placing it under a class under the position classification plan established by OPM under chapter 51 of title 5 of the United States Code." A position is defined in 5 C.F.R. § 511.101 (e) as "the work, consisting of the duties and responsibilities, assigned by competent authority for performance by an employee."
The grievant did not claim that his position should be reclassified because he performed duties of a higher grade. The grievant merely requested compensation at the higher rate of pay for the times he performed the duties of the WG-10 position. The Arbitrator did not reclassify the grievant as a WG-10, rather the Arbitrator merely interpreted the position descriptions and duties of the WG-10 and WG-8 positions as classified by the Agency. The Arbitrator found that the duties which the grievant performed were included in the position description of a WG-10 position and not in the WG-8 position. Therefore, the Arbitrator concluded that the grievant should have been compensated at the higher rate of pay. The question before the Arbitrator was whether the grievant was entitled to compensation at a higher rate of pay whenever he operated the modified scoop loader, a duty classified under the position description of a WG-10.
Consequently, we conclude that the grievance at issue pertained to whether the grievant should have been compensated at the higher rate of pay during the times he performed the duties of the WG-10 position. The grievance did not concern the classification of a position. See Department of the Army, New Cumberland Army Depot and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2004, 21 FLRA 968 (1986); U.S Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service and National Immigration and Naturalization Service Council, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2805, 15 FLRA 862 (1984); U.S. Department of Labor and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 644, 5 FLRA 60 (1981).
In our view, the Agency's exception constitutes disagreement with the Arbitrator's findings of facts, with his reasonings and conclusions, and with his interpretation of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. Consequently, we find that the Agency 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. The Agency has not established that the award is contrary to law, rule, or regulation or that the award is deficient on any of the grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor relations cases. See Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 916, AFL-CIO, 30 FLRA 482 (1987); Federal Correctional Institution, Petersburg, Virginia and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2052, Petersburg, Virginia, 13 FLRA 108 (1983) (exceptions which attempted to relitigate the merits of the case before the Authority provided no basis for finding the award deficient; the exceptions constituted disagreement with the Arbitrator's findings of fact, reasonings, conclusions, evaluation of the evidence and testimony, and interpretation and application of the agreement).
For the reasons stated above, the Agency's exception is denied.
Issued, Washington, D.C.,
Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
Jean McKee, Member
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)