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53:0043(10)AR - - SSA, Raleigh, NC and AFGE Local 3509 - - 1997 FLRAdec AR - - v53 p43

[ v53 p43 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

53 FLRA No. 10









LOCAL 3509





June 24, 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 Robert G. Williams filed by the Agency under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority's Regulations. The Union did not file an opposition to the Agency's exception.

The Arbitrator sustained a grievance alleging that the Agency violated the parties' agreement and applicable regulations when it refused to grant administrative leave to "[g]rieving employees" who were prevented from reporting to work because of hazardous weather conditions. Exception, Attachment C. For the following reasons, we conclude that the award is deficient under section 7122(a) of the Statute and, accordingly, must be modified.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

Because of hazardous weather conditions, the Agency delayed opening its office on 2 days. Four employees were granted administrative leave for being absent on one or both days. Fourteen employees filed a grievance contending that they requested, but were improperly denied, administrative leave for being absent on one or both days. See Exception, Attachment C. As a remedy, the "[g]rieving employees request[ed] that annual leave charged to employees . . . be excused and such annual leave be restored to employee leave balances." Id. The parties were unable to resolve the grievance with respect to 12 employees(*) and the matter was submitted to expedited arbitration.

The Arbitrator sustained the grievance and found that "[a]ll bargaining unit employees" who were absent on one or both days because of the hazardous weather conditions were entitled to administrative leave. Award at 4.

III. Agency's Exception

The Agency asserts that the grievance specifically sought relief for "'[g]rieving employees,'" named in the grievance. Exception at 2 (quoting grievance) and Attachment C. The Agency also contends that the stipulated issue before the Arbitrator concerned whether the Agency improperly denied administrative leave to "the grievants." Exception at 1 (emphasis in original, citing statement of the issue (Attachment B)). The Agency asserts, therefore, that as the grievance and the issue before the Arbitrator concerned only the 12 grievants, the Arbitrator exceeded his authority by awarding relief to "all bargaining unit employees" who were absent on the days in dispute. Id. at 2.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

An arbitrator exceeds his or her authority when, as relevant here, the arbitrator awards relief to persons who are not encompassed within the grievance. E.g., U.S. Department of the Air Force, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 916, 42 FLRA 680, 685-86 (1991) (arbitrator exceeded his authority by ordering agency to conduct classification audits of all positions in certain wage grades where stipulated issue concerned only the grievant and did not refer to any other employee); American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, National Immigration and Naturalization Service Council and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 15 FLRA 355, 356-57 (1984) (arbitrator exceeded his authority by ordering relief under the parties' agreement to other employees where stipulated issue pertained solely to the accounting of official time for the grievant).

In this case, the Agency asserts that the issue before the Arbitrator, as stipulated by the parties, concerned only the individual grievants. The Agency's assertion is: (1) not disputed by the Union; (2) not inconsistent with the award, which is silent about the issue before the Arbitrator; and (3) consistent with attachments to the Agency's exception, including the grievance itself. Therefore, we find that the Agency has established that the parties stipulated that the issue before the Arbitrator was limited to whether specified grievants were improperly denied administrative leave.

The Arbitrator awarded relief to employees who were not encompassed by the stipulated issue. Consequently, we conclude that the award is deficient because the Arbitrator exceeded his authority. Accordingly, we modify the award to provide relief only to the 12 grievants.

V. Decision

The Arbitrator's award is modified to delete that part of the award providing administrative leave to all bargaining unit employees who were absent from work as a result of severe weather conditions on the 2 days involved in this case. The following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Bargaining unit employees named in the grievance, other than the two employees whose grievances were withdrawn or resolved, who were absent on January 8th and/or 12th as a result of severe weather conditions are entitled to administrative leave.

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

*/ The Agency asserts, without contravention, that one employee's grievance was withdrawn and another employee's grievance was resolved, leaving 12 grievants. Hereinafter, these 12 employees are referred to as "the 12 grievants."