53:1353(121)AR - - AFGE Local 1857 and Sacramento Air Logistics Center, McClellan AFB, CA - - 1998 FLRAdec AR - - v53 p1353
[ v53 p1353 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
53 FLRA No. 121
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
SACRAMENTO AIR LOGISTICS CENTER
MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA
February 26, 1998
Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Donald S. Wasserman and Dale Cabaniss, Members.
Decision by Member Wasserman for the Authority.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Gerald R. McKay 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 exceptions.
The Arbitrator found that the grievance was not arbitrable. We conclude that the Union fails to establish that the award is deficient. Accordingly, we deny the Union's exceptions.
II. Background and Arbitrator's Award
A maintenance section at the air base has four WG-11 employees functioning as small shop chiefs. As set forth in their position descriptions, they perform supervisory duties for about 25 percent of their work time, including appraising the performance of a group of WG-10 mechanics in the bargaining unit. The Union filed a grievance on behalf of the mechanics, which claimed that their appraisal by the shop chiefs violated law, regulation, and the parties' collective bargaining agreement.
The Arbitrator noted that the essence of the grievance was that the mechanics did not want to be appraised by the shop chiefs and that to correct this problem, the Union "has sought to remove the obligation" from the position descriptions of the shop chiefs. Award at 9. The Arbitrator explained that although the Union couched its grievance in a manner that attempted to make it arbitrable, the Union's real request was to reclassify the shop chiefs by altering their obligation to supervise. However, the Arbitrator noted that altering their obligation to supervise would change the grade of their positions to WG-10. He found it difficult to understand how he would have the authority to adjust the classification of the shop chiefs under the terms of the grievance procedure. The Arbitrator concluded that if the Union wishes to reclassify the positions of the shop chiefs, it must do so in channels other than the grievance procedure.
The Arbitrator also considered "problematic" the Agency's assertion that the shop chiefs are not unit employees. Id. at 10. Although the Union argued that their unit status made no difference, the Arbitrator "wonder[ed] . . . how he ha[d] the authority to direct the [shop chiefs] not to perform a task which they are assigned as a result of a decision made by headquarters in establishing their PDs." Id.
For these reasons, the Arbitrator determined that the "Union has asked the arbitrator to do something that the Contract does not empower the arbitrator to do." Id. at 11. Accordingly, the Arbitrator ruled that the subject of the content of the position descriptions of the shop chiefs was not subject to the grievance and arbitration procedure.
III. Positions of the Parties
A. Union's Exceptions
The Union contends that the award is deficient on several grounds.
The Union contends that the award is deficient because it fails to draw its essence from the agreement. The Union argues that the award is deficient because Article 17, Section 17.03 allows for grievances concerning the content of a position description.
The Union contends that the award is deficient because the Arbitrator misconstrued the Union's requested remedy. The Union maintains that in its post-hearing brief, it had modified its requested remedy to limit the modification of the position descriptions to remove only the appraisal duties, not all of the supervisory duties, as stated by the Arbitrator in his award. The Union asserts that to remove only the appraisal duties would not have changed the grade of the positions.
The Union contends that the award is deficient because the Arbitrator improperly accepted the Agency's position on the unit status of the shop chiefs. The Union has submitted exhibits that it maintains show that three of the positions are in the unit.
The Union contends that the award is deficient because it is contrary to 5 C.F.R. § 335.103, which sets forth merit promotion requirements. The Union contends that because the Agency fails to comply with merit promotion requirements, the award is contrary to section 335.103.
B. Agency's Opposition
The Agency contends that the Union's exceptions should be denied. The Agency contends that the issue before the Arbitrator involved classification and that the Arbitrator correctly concluded that it was an issue beyond his authority. In addition, the Agency objects to consideration of the Union's exhibits because the exhibits were not, but could have been, presented to the Arbitrator.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
A. The Award Draws its Essence from the Agreement
The Arbitrator interpreted and applied the collective bargaining agreement in concluding that the subject of the content of the position descriptions of the shop chiefs was not arbitrable. He based this conclusion, in part, on a finding that the Union's real request was to reclassify the shop chiefs by altering their obligation to supervise and that such a matter was not arbitrable under the agreement. The Union has not demonstrated that such an interpretation of the agreement disregards the agreement or is implausible, irrational, or unfounded. See American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2142 and U.S. Department of the Army, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Corpus Christi, Texas, 52 FLRA 1518, 1521 (1997) (citing United States Department of Labor (OSHA) and National Council of Field Labor Locals, 34 FLRA 573, 575-76 (1990)). Consequently, the Union's exception provides no