National Association of Government Employees, Local R4-45 and U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Lee, Virginia

[ v55 p521 ]

55 FLRA No. 90




(54 FLRA 1376 (1998))



June 28, 1999

Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Donald S. Wasserman and Dale Cabaniss, Members.

I.     Statement of the Case

      This case is before the Authority on the Union's motion for reconsideration of the Authority's Decision in National Association of Government Employees, Local R4-45 and U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Lee, Virginia, 54 FLRA 1376 (1998). The Agency filed an opposition to the motion.

      Section 2429.17 of the Authority's Regulations permits a party who can establish extraordinary circumstances to request reconsideration of an Authority decision. For the following reasons, we conclude that the Union has failed to establish that extraordinary circumstances exist, and we deny the Union's motion.

II.     Decision in 54 FLRA 1376

      In 54 FLRA 1376, the Authority concluded that the Union failed to establish that the Arbitrator's award was deficient under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute). The award denied a grievance as not arbitrable based on the Arbitrator's findings that the grievance and the Union's request for arbitration were not timely filed. In particular, the Arbitrator found that the grievance was "clearly untimely," and that the Union's request for arbitration was untimely because the parties' collective bargaining agreement "explicit[ly]" states that the time for invoking arbitration tolls the "issuance" date of an Agency's final grievance decision letter, not the date the letter is received. Award at 4-5, 10.

      The Union excepted to both findings on the grounds that the award was "clearly erroneous," did "not draw its essence from the contract," and "erroneously interpret[ed] laws, rules and regulations[.]" Exceptions at 7-8. The claim that the award failed to draw its essence from the parties' agreement was the only ground for which the Union provided arguments. In this regard, the Union claimed that the grievance was timely filed because the Union filed the grievance when the Agency actually violated the parties' agreement, rather than in anticipation of that violation. The Union also claimed that arbitration was timely invoked and that the Agency's claim to the contrary should have been barred because it was not timely raised by the Agency under the parties' agreement.

      On review, the Authority considered the Union's exceptions, and concluded that the award was not deficient. Accordingly, the Authority denied the Union's exceptions.

III.     Motion for Reconsideration

      In its motion for reconsideration, the Union contends that the Authority should reconsider 54 FLRA 1376 based on the following three "extraordinary circumstances":

(1)     The case was decided solely on the issue of . . . the timeliness of the grievance.
(2)      The contract explicitly requires the [A]gency raise the issue of non-arbitrability "no later than the final decision being issued." . . . The [A]gency did not raise arbitrability prior to the final decision being issued and therefore the Arbitrator's Award is absolutely contrary to the parties' negotiated agreement.
(3)     The Arbitrator's Award, if allowed to stand, would create a bizarre rule regarding the "issuing" of a [final Agency] decision.

Motion to Reconsider at 1.

IV.     Analysis and Conclusions

      Under section 2429.17 of the Authority's Regulations, a party seeking reconsideration after the Authority has issued a final decision or order bears the heavy bur- [ v55 p522 ] den of establishing that extraordinary circumstances exist to justify this unusual action. See U.S. Department of the Air Force, 375th Combat Support Group, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, 50 FLRA 84, 85 (1995) (Scott Air Force Base). In Scott Air Force Base, the Authority identified a limited number of situations in which extraordinary circumstances have been found to exist. These include situations where a moving party has established that the Authority erred in its remedial order, process, conclusion of law, or factual finding. Attempts to relitigate conclusions reached by the Authority are insufficient to satisfy the extraordinary circumstances requirement. Id. at 86-87. See U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Distribution Region West, Stockton, California and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1857, 48 FLRA 543, 545 (1993) (Defense Logistics Agency).

      The Union's first claim -- that the "case" was decided solely on the issue of arbitrability -- does not provide a basis for the Authority to grant the Union's motion for reconsideration. Motion to Reconsider at 1. The only issue before the Authority in 54 FLRA 1376 was the Arbitrator's arbitrability determination because that was the only issue resolved by the Arbitrator in his award and the only ground on which the Union challenged the award. Thus, it was appropriate for the Authority to resolve the exceptions solely on that ground.

      The Union's second claim -- that the Agency's assertion regarding the arbitrability of the grievance was not timely raised under the parties' agreement -- is a reiteration of the Union's exception to the award in 54 FLRA 1376. As such, it does not establish extraordinary circumstances warranting reconsideration of 54 FLRA 1376. See Defense Logistics Agency, 48 FLRA at 545.

      The Union's final claim -- that allowing the Arbitrator's award to stand would create a "bizarre rule regarding the `issuing' of a decision" -- also does not provide a basis for the Authority to grant the Union's motion for reconsideration. Motion to Reconsider at 1. The Union has not offered any explana