U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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53:0017(4)AR - - GPO and Columbia Typographical Union No. 101-12 ::: [ Government Printing Office, Washington DC ] - - 1997 FLRAdec AR - - v53 p17

[ v53 p17 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

53 FLRA No. 4













June 11, 1997


The Agency filed exceptions to the award of Arbitrator Charles Feigenbaum in the above-entitled case pursuant to section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority's Regulations. The Union filed an opposition to the exceptions.

As relevant here, the Arbitrator sustained the grievances of two employees who were not offered incentive separation payments as a result of erroneous information provided, or improper actions taken, by Agency representatives. As for the relief available to the grievants, the Arbitrator stated the following in his award:

As was agreed to in a telephone conference call on this date between the Arbitrator and the parties, the parties are directed to develop appropriate remedies for [the] Grievants . . . . The Arbitrator will retain jurisdiction for the sole purpose of fashioning a specific award in the event the parties are unable to do so on their own.

Award at 29-30. The Agency filed exceptions to the award claiming that "the decision of the arbitrator ordering it to provide incentive separation payments" violates law and regulation. Agency's Exceptions at 2.

Under section 2429.11 of the Authority's Regulations, the Authority ordinarily will not resolve exceptions to an arbitration award that are interlocutory. An exception is considered interlocutory when there has not been a complete determination of all the issues submitted to arbitration. E.g., U.S. Department of Defense, Army and Air Force Exchange Service and National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 977, 38 FLRA 587 (1990); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland and American Federation of Government Employees, SSA General Committee, 34 FLRA 373 (1990). The exceptions in this case are interlocutory.(1)

One of the issues before the Arbitrator was the determination of an appropriate remedy. The Arbitrator found that a remedy was necessary, but did not make an ultimate disposition of that issue. Rather, he ordered the parties to develop an appropriate remedy themselves and stated that he would fashion a remedy only if the parties were unable to do so on their own. Under these circumstances, the award does not contain a complete determination of the remedy issue. E.g., Navy Public Works Center, San Diego, California and National Association of Government Employees, Local R12-35, 27 FLRA 407 (1987); Social Security Administration and Local 3239, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, 21 FLRA 22 (1986).

Furthermore, the Arbitrator did not order the Agency to provide incentive separation payments for the grievants. Although the Agency states that the Arbitrator directed such a remedy, the Agency fails to point to anything in the award that supports such a finding. Because the legality of separation incentive payments is not before the Authority in this case, a decision addressing that issue would constitute an advisory opinion. Cf. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245 and U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 17 FLRA 552 (1985). Section 2429.10 of the Authority's Regulations prohibits the Authority from issuing advisory opinions. National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1998 and U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Passport Services, 48 FLRA 1074 (1993). As a result, there is no need to determine whether there are extraordinary circumstances warranting consideration of the Agency's interlocutory exceptions.

Accordingly, the Agency's exceptions are dismissed. The dismissal is without prejudice to the timely filing of exceptions with the Authority after a final award is rendered by the Arbitrator.(2)

For the Authority.

Edward F. Bachman, Acting Director
Case Control Office

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

1. The Authority's Case Control Office previously advised the Agency that its exceptions appeared to be interlocutory because the Arbitrator had not yet rendered a final award on the entire dispute submitted for arbitration. Accordingly, the Agency was ordered to show cause why its exceptions should not be dismissed as interlocutory or, in the alternative, to show that extraordinary circumstances exist for the Authority to consider the Agency's interlocutory exceptions. The Agency responded to the show cause order.

2. In view of the disposition of the exceptions, the Agency's motion that the Authority consider a Comptroller General decision is denied.