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The decision of the Authority follows:
52 FLRA No. 141
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
CORPUS CHRISTI ARMY DEPOT
CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS
May 21, 1997
Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; and Donald S. Wasserman, Member.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on an exception to an award of Arbitrator Raymond L. Britton 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 Regulations. The Agency filed an opposition to the Union's exception.
The Arbitrator found that the grievance was not arbitrable under the parties' collective bargaining agreement. For the following reason, we deny the exception.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
The grievant is an electrical equipment repairer leader. As such, he has work leader status over electrical equipment repairers. The grievant claimed that he also led electrical equipment inspectors, and requested that his position description be changed to accurately reflect this duty. The Agency denied the request, on the ground that he did not lead electrical equipment inspectors.
The grievance was submitted to the Arbitrator on the following issues:
1. Whether the grievance is arbitrable? If so,
2. Should the job description of [the grievant] be changed to include the leading of WG-2854- Electrical Equipment Overhaul Inspectors?
Award at 1.
The Arbitrator found that the grievance was not arbitrable. He noted that the grade applied to work leader jobs is "usually the grade of the highest level nonsupervisory employee in the group led." Id. at 6. The Arbitrator determined that because the grievant was classified as WG-2854-10 and electrical equipment overhaul inspectors were classified as WG-2854-11, a change in the grievant's job description to work leader for the electrical equipment overhaul inspectors would result in the reclassification of the grievant's job to the WG-11 level. The Arbitrator found that because the matter involved a reclassification that would result in an increase in the grievant's pay and grade, it was not arbitrable under Article 36, Section 3(e) of the collective bargaining agreement.(1)
The Arbitrator also rejected the Union's argument that the issue of the grievant's job description was arbitrable under Article 29, Section 7 of the agreement, which states that an issue regarding an employee's position description should be addressed prior to any issue involving an employee's title, job series, code, or grade.(2) The Arbitrator found that the issue of the grievant's position description could not be addressed prior to considering whether his job classification should be changed because to change the grievant's job description "to reflect that he leads inspectors would ipso facto cause a change in his job classification." Id. at 7. The Arbitrator concluded that such a change in job classification is not permitted under the agreement. Having concluded that the grievance was not arbitrable, the Arbitrator did not make a determination as to whether the grievant led electrical equipment inspectors.
III. Positions of the Parties
A. Union's Contention
The Union contends that the grievance is arbitrable. It argues that the Arbitrator misinterpreted Article 29, Section 7, and, "put the cart before the horse . . . ." Exception at 1. It argues that the correctness of the job description must be determined before the propriety of the classification. The Union maintains that the only issue was the correctness of the job description and that the grievant never asked for a change in title, job series, code, or grade.
B. Agency's Opposition
The Agency construes the Union's exception as a claim that the award fails to draw its essence from the parties' collective bargaining agreement and argues that the Union has failed to show that the award is implausible, unfounded, or irrational.
IV. Analysis and Conclusion
We construe the Union's claim that the Arbitrator misinterpreted Article 29, Section 7 of the agreement as a contention that the award is deficient because it fails to draw its essence from the parties' collective bargaining agreement.
In this case, the Arbitrator interpreted and applied the collective bargaining agreement in concluding that he could not address the issue of the grievant's position description prior to the issue of the grievant's job classification. The Arbitrator based this conclusion on a finding that a change in the position description would automatically result in a reclassification with a concomitant increase in the grievant's grade, and that such a reclassification was not arbitrable under Article 36, Section 3(e) of the agreement.(3) The Union has not demonstrated that such an interpretation of the agreement is implausible, irrational, unfounded, or unconnected to the wording of the agreement. See United States Department of Labor (OSHA) and National Council of Field Labor Locals, 34 FLRA 573, 575-76 (1990). Accordingly, the Union's contention that the award fails to draw its essence from the agreement does not establish that the award is deficient.
The Union's exception is denied.
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
1. Article 36, Section 3(e) states, in relevant part:
This negotiated procedure shall not include grievances concerning . . . [t]he classification of any position which does not result in the reduction in grade or pay of an employee.
Award at 5.
2. Article 29, Section 7 states, in relevant part:
If the employee's inquiry involves both the correctness of the job description and the propriety of the title, job series, code or grade, the issue regarding the correctness of the job description will be solved first.
Exception, Attachment 1.
3. We note that Article 36, Section 3(e) mirrors section 7121(c)(5) of the Statute, which excludes from negotiated grievance procedures any grievance concerning the classification of any position which does not result in the reduction in grade or pay of an employee. However, the Union does not claim that the award is inconsistent with section 7121(c)(5) and there is nothing in the record on which to conclude that the award is based on an interpretation of section 7121(c)(5). Therefore, there is no issue before us involving the award's consistency with section 7121(c)(5).