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The decision of the Authority follows:
45 FLRA No. 80
Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on a motion for reconsideration of 45 FLRA 23 (1992) filed by the Union under section 2429.17 of the Authority Rules and Regulations. The Agency did not file an opposition to the motion. Because the Union fails to establish that extraordinary circumstances exist warranting reconsideration of the decision, we will deny the Union's motion.
II. The Decision in 45 FLRA 23
In 45 FLRA 23, we denied the Union's exception because it provided no basis for finding the award deficient. As set forth in more detail in our decision, the Arbitrator denied the Union's grievance. The grievance alleged Agency noncompliance with a provision of the parties' collective bargaining agreement that provides unit employees affected by a reduction in force (RIF) with priority reemployment rights to their former positions. The Arbitrator also denied the Union's motion for attorney fees. The Arbitrator concluded that there was no merit in the Union's position that the Agency failed to comply with the parties' agreement. The Arbitrator further concluded that the placement of a former supervisor in the vacant position claimed by a unit employee was not a violation of the specific agreement provision at issue and that "'the Union's interpretation of the provision [was] not acceptable.'" 45 FLRA at 27 (quoting Award at 19). In reaching this conclusion, the Arbitrator examined a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeal filed by the unit employee. In that case, an administrative judge of the MSPB found that the Agency had not violated the unit employee's assignment rights under the RIF regulations by placing the former supervisor in the vacant position.
We found that, in the absence of a stipulation of the issue by the parties, the Arbitrator viewed the issue before him narrowly, concluding that the "primary purpose" of the grievance was whether the unit employee should have been placed into the position that was assigned to the former supervisor. In our view, the Arbitrator's award fully resolved that issue. Consequently, we found that the Union's arguments regarding an issue the Arbitrator did not address provided no basis for finding the award deficient. Further, we found that, contrary to the Union's contention, the Arbitrator appropriately used the MSPB decision to support his conclusion that the Agency did not violate the parties' agreement when it placed the former supervisor, instead of the unit employee, into the vacant position. Moreover, we found that the Union had not shown that the Arbitrator's interpretation of the agreement provision disregarded the agreement or was irrational, implausible, or unconnected to the wording and purpose of the agreement.
III. Union's Request for Reconsideration
The Union argues that extraordinary circumstances exist warranting reconsideration of the decision in 45 FLRA 23. In particular, the Union contends that the Arbitrator did not fully resolve the issue presented to him because he did not understand the difference between the MSPB case that addressed assignment rights and the grievance over reemployment rights. The Union argues that the "Authority's decision is clearly in error when it finds the Arbitrator 'appropriately used' the MSPB decision to support his conclusion that the [A]gency did not violate the parties' agreement." Request for Reconsideration at 3. The Union further contends that the primary purpose of the grievance was to ensure that unit employees receive the preference provided for by the parties' agreement.
The Union requests the granting of oral argument to further clarify any confusion between the issue raised in the grievance and the MSPB decision.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
Section 2429.17 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations permits a party that can establish the existence of "extraordinary circumstances" to request reconsideration of a decision of the Authority. We conclude that the Union has not established extraordinary circumstances within the meaning of section 2429.17 to warrant reconsideration of our decision in 45 FLRA 23.
We reject the Union's argument that the Arbitrator misunderstood the grievance and that, therefore, the Arbitrator did not fully resolve the issue presented to him. As we concluded in 45 FLRA 23, the Arbitrator viewed the issue before him narrowly and concluded that the "primary purpose" of the grievance was whether the unit employee should have been placed into the position that was assigned to the former supervisor. In the absence of a stipulation of the issue to be resolved, an arbitrator's formulation of the issue is accorded substantial deference. 45 FLRA at 28. In 45 FLRA 23, we concluded that the Arbitrator's award fully resolved the issue as he framed it. Further, in 45 FLRA 23 we addressed and rejected the Union's contention that the Arbitrator erred by relying on the MSPB decision. We found in 45 FLRA 23 that the Arbitrator appropriately used the MSPB decision to support his conclusion that the Agency did not violate the parties' agreement when it placed the former supervisor, instead of the unit employee, into the vacant position.
We find that the Union's motion for reconsideration is merely an attempt to relitigate the merits of our decision in 45 FLRA 23. As such, the motion does not establish extraordinary circumstances warranting reconsideration of the decision and we will deny the motion. See, for example, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Great Plains Region and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1759, 43 FLRA 314, 317 (1991). Consequently, we will also deny the Union's motion for oral argument. See 5 C.F.R. ° 2429.6.
The Union's motion for reconsideration and granting of oral argument is denied.
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