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The decision of the Authority follows:
50 FLRA No. 42
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
913TH AIRLIFT WING
WILLOW GROVE, PENNSYLVANIA
March 13, 1995
Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Pamela Talkin, Members.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on an exception to an award of Arbitrator Louis E. Seltzer 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 filed an opposition to the Union's exception.
The Arbitrator determined that the grievance was not timely filed and dismissed the grievance.
For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the Union has failed to establish that the award is deficient under section 7122(a) of the Statute. Accordingly, we deny the Union's exception.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
On January 12, 1994,(1) the grievant received a notice that she would be suspended for 5 days, effective January 24. As relevant here, the notice stated:
If you consider this action improper, you may submit a grievance under the negotiated agreement for bargaining unit employees or AFR 40-771 for non-bargaining unit employees, not later than 14 days after the effective date of this action.
Award at 4. The Union filed a grievance on February 3.
The Arbitrator relied on Article 24 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement to find that the grievance had not been timely filed.(2) He found that the grievant was "undisputedly aware" on January 12 of the Agency's decision to suspend her, and that, therefore, to be timely a grievance had to be filed by January 26. Id. at 6. Accordingly, he dismissed the grievance.
A. Union's Contention
The Union contends that the grievance was filed within the time limits set forth in the Agency's January 12 letter. The Union claims the letter permitted the grievant to file a grievance within 14 days of the effective date of the suspension.
B. Agency's Opposition
The Agency asserts that the Union is merely disagreeing with the Arbitrator's decision and that the exception should be rejected on that basis.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
An arbitrator's determination of the procedural arbitrability of a grievance under the parties' agreement is not subject to challenge. American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2921 and U.S. Department of the Army, Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Dallas, Texas, 50 FLRA 184, 185 (1995). Such determination may be found deficient only on grounds other than grounds that challenge the determination of procedural arbitrability itself. Id. at 186. The Union's contention that the grievance was timely filed constitutes a challenge to the Arbitrator's determination regarding the procedural arbitrability of the grievance. As no other grounds for finding the award deficient are asserted by the Union, the exception provides no basis for finding the award deficient under section 7122(a) of the Statute.
The Union's exception is denied.
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
1. All dates hereafter refer to 1994.
2. Article 24 states in pertinent part:
The following procedure will be followed in processing employee grievances:
(a) Step 1 - The grievance must be submitted by the aggrieved employee, or his/her designee, orally or in writing, within 14 calendar days from the date of the act or occurrence, or the employee's awareness thereof, to the employee's immediate supervisor. . . .