[ v41 p1409 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
41 FLRA No. 108
Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Horace W. Rice 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 did not file an opposition to the Union's exceptions.
The Arbitrator found that the grievant's 14-day suspension for unauthorized absence and failure to properly request leave was for just cause and denied the grievance.
For the following reasons, we conclude that the Union has not demonstrated that the award is deficient. Accordingly, the Union's exceptions will be denied.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The Agency issued the grievant a 14-day suspension for unauthorized absence from August 7 through August 11, 1989, and for failing to properly request leave prior to his unauthorized absence on October 4, 1989. A grievance was filed over the suspension and, when the grievance was not resolved, it was submitted to arbitration. The Arbitrator stated that the issues before him were:
I. Was the Agency's action untimely pertaining to the first charge . . . [under] the Master Labor Agreement?
II. Was the Agency's suspension of the grievant for just cause? If not, what should be the remedy?
Award at 3.
The Arbitrator concluded on the first issue that the Union did not establish that the Agency violated section 5.02 of the parties' agreement by proposing a suspension for the August absences in an untimely manner.(1) According to the Arbitrator, "the first offense . . . was within 45 days of . . . [another] offense that was within 45 days of the October 4, 1989 AWOL." Id. at 12-13.
On the merits, the Arbitrator stated that the grievant did not comply with his "contract[ual] obligation" to notify his supervisor regarding his absences in August 1989, and that the Agency did not act improperly in denying the grievant's request for annual leave for those absences. Id. at 19.(2) The Arbitrator also concluded that the Agency did not violate the parties' agreement or act in bad faith in denying the grievant's request for annual leave for October 4, 1989. Accordingly, the Arbitrator concluded that the disputed suspension "was for just cause" and he denied the grievance. Id. at 22.
III. The Union's Exceptions
The Union states that it does not "agree" with the Arbitrator's award. Exceptions at 1. According to the Union, the grievant's rights were violated because the Branch Chief improperly retained the grievant's records and time sheets and "conspired" with other staff members to "get [the grievant's] job." Id. at 2. The Union claims, without elaboration, that the "matter was not handled in a timely manner" and asserts that the grievant properly requested leave. Id.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
Section 7122(a) of the Statute provides that an arbitration award may be found deficient if it is contrary to any law, rule, or regulation, or on other grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor-management relations cases.
The Union asserts that the grievant's rights were violated. The Union does not, however, specify the rights that allegedly were violated and does not otherwise argue or demonstrate that the award is contrary to any law, rule or regulation. This exception, therefore, provides no basis for finding the award deficient.
We construe the Union's assertions that the "matter was not handled in a timely manner" and that the grievant properly requested leave as arguments that the award fails to draw its essence from the parties' agreement. To demonstrate that an award is deficient on this ground, a party must show that the award: (1) cannot in any rational way be derived from the agreement; or (2) is so unfounded in reason and fact and so unconnected with the wording and purpose of the agreement as to manifest an infidelity to the obligation of the arbitrator; or (3) evidences a manifest disregard for the agreement; or (4) does not represent a plausible interpretation of the agreement. For example, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1923, 37 FLRA 1144, 1150 (1990).
The Union has not shown that the Arbitrator's conclusions that the disputed suspension was timely proposed or that the grievant failed to properly request leave are irrational, implausible, or unconnected with the wording and purpose of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. Therefore, the Union has not shown that the award fails to draw its essence from the parties' agreement. In our view, these Union contentions constitute mere disagreement with the Arbitrator's interpretation and application of the parties' agreement and as such, provide no basis for finding the award deficient. For example, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3615, 39 FLRA 407, 414-15 (1991).
The Union's exceptions are denied.
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
1. Section 5.02 of the agreement provides, in relevant part:
Where an employee is subject to discipline, it is agreed that within 45 calendar days of the offense, the Employer's awareness of the offense, or the completion of [a]n investigation of the matter by other than the supervisor, whichever occurs later, the Employer will . . . :
. . . .
b. In the case of a written reprimand, suspension, or removal, a notice of proposed reprimand, suspension, or removal[.]
2. The Arbitrator did not specify the contractual obligation to which he referred.