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46:0440(36)AR - - DOD, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, KS City Center, KS City, MO and AFGE Local 2904 - - 1992 FLRAdec AR - - v46 p440

[ v46 p440 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

46 FLRA No. 36











LOCAL 2904





October 30, 1992


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 Stanford C. Madden 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.(1) The Agency filed an opposition to the Union's exceptions.

The Arbitrator denied a Union grievance alleging that the Agency failed to credit employees transferred from the Marine Corps Finance Center (MCFC) to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) with the proper amount of pay and accrued leave as required by the parties' collective bargaining agreement. The Arbitrator determined that the grievance was untimely filed. Alternatively, the Arbitrator determined that the grievance must be denied because the Union did not demonstrate that the Agency's actions violated the collective bargaining agreement.

For the reasons stated below, we conclude that the Union fails to demonstrate that the award is deficient as to the arbitrator's finding that the grievance was untimely. Therefore, we will deny the Union's exceptions.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

As a result of a reorganization, a number of employees from MCFC were transferred to DFAS on January 20, 1991. Although both MCFC and DFAS utilize a payroll year consisting of 26, 2-week pay periods, the MCFC 1991 payroll year began one week earlier than the DFAS 1991 payroll year. Therefore, the transfer of employees became effective in the middle of the first MCFC 1991 pay period and the beginning of the second DFAS 1991 pay period. The transferred employees were informed that they would be paid and accrue leave for the one-half pay period they were employed at MCFC in 1991, in addition to the 25 full pay periods they would be employed at DFAS during the remainder of 1991. On March 18, 1991, a grievance was filed contesting the claimed loss of pay and leave accrual for one-half of one pay period. When the grievance was not resolved, it was submitted to arbitration.

The Arbitrator found that the grievance was untimely filed. According to the Arbitrator, Article 13, section 9 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement(2) establishes "a time for filing" a grievance, and the grievance here "was filed in excess of the contractual time allowed . . . ." Award at 6-7. In addition to finding that the grievance was untimely, the Arbitrator briefly addressed the merits of the Union's claim by stating that the "second basis on which the grievance must be denied is the [Union's] failure to sustain the burden of showing that the [Agency] has violated the Agreement." Id. at 7.

III. Positions of the Parties

A. Union

The Union contends that the award is inconsistent with law and regulation. First, the Union claims that it timely filed the grievance. The Union asserts that it filed the grievance as soon as it realized, during a meeting with Agency officials, that employees were not receiving full credit for accrued leave, and that the Agency had declared its "last denial" of the Union's request to provide employees with a full 26 pay periods. Exceptions at 3. Further, the Union asserts that the failure to provide employees with a full 26 pay periods is inconsistent with 5 U.S.C. Chapter 55 (Pay Administration); 5 U.S.C. Chapter 63 (Leave Accrual); Federal Personnel Manual, chapter 630, subchapters 2, 3 and S2; a Memorandum of Understanding dated January 29, 1991; and Article 13, Section 9 of the Master Labor Agreement. As such, the Union requests "reconsider[ation] of the award." Id. at 2.

B. Agency

The Agency contends that the Union's exceptions are deficient because they fail to state particular grounds for review. In addition, the Agency argues that the Union's exceptions should be dismissed because they constitute mere disagreement with the Arbitrator's conclusions.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

We reject the Union's contention that the award is deficient insofar as the Arbitrator held that the grievance was untimely filed. The Union's exceptions regarding the timeliness issue simply assert the same facts and arguments which were considered and rejected by the Arbitrator, and, therefore, constitute nothing more than disagreement with the Arbitrator's conclusions. Mere disagreement with an arbitrator's evaluation of the evidence and interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement in resolving a question of procedural arbitrability provides no basis on which to find an award deficient. American Federation of Government Employees, Council 236 and General Services Administration, 45 FLRA 813, (1992). Accordingly, the Union's exceptions in this regard will be denied. In view of our decision, we do not address the Arbitrator's additional basis for denying the grievance.

V. Decision

The Union's exceptions to the Arbitrator's finding that the grievance was untimely filed are denied.

(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)

1. In response to an Authority letter requesting the statutorily required number of copies of the exceptions, the Union included three documents which were not filed with their original exceptions. Because the Union did not request permission to submit these documents, they have not been considered in this decision.

2. Article 13, section 9 provides as follows:

If a dispute arises between the local parties, either the president of the local union or the head of the activity (or their respective designee) may file a written grievance with the other party, provided such a grievance is filed within 15 days after the event giving rise to the grievance or within 15 days of the date the grieving party should have known of the event giving rise to the grievance.

Award at 2.