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National Association of Government Employees, Federal Union of Scientists and Engineers, Local R12-198 (Union) and United States Department of the Navy, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, Port Hueneme, California (Agency)

[ v63 p7 ]

63 FLRA No. 5

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
FEDERAL UNION OF SCIENTISTS
AND ENGINEERS, LOCAL R12-198
(Union)

and

UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER
PORT HUENEME DIVISION
PORT HUENEME, CALIFORNIA
(Agency)

0-AR-4373

_____

DECISION

November 4, 2008

_____

Before the Authority: Thomas M. Beck, Chairman and
Carol Waller Pope, Member

      This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Samuel A. Vitaro filed by the Union under § 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.

      Under § 7122(a) of the Statute, an award is deficient if it is contrary to any law, rule, or regulation, or it is deficient on other grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor-management relations. Upon careful consideration of the entire record in this case and Authority precedent, the Authority concludes that the award is not deficient on the grounds raised in the exceptions and set forth in § 7122(a). See AFGE, Local 2921, 50 FLRA 184, 185-86 (1995) (arbitrator's determination of the procedural arbitrability of a grievance is subject to challenge only on grounds other than those that directly challenge the procedural arbitrability determination); United States Dep't of the Navy, Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Long Beach, Cal., 48 FLRA 612, 618-19 (1993) (award not deficient as contrary to public policy where excepting party fails to establish that the award violates an explicit public policy based on well-defined and dominant laws and legal precedents); United States Dep't of Labor (OSHA), 34 FLRA 573, 575 (1990) (award not deficient as failing to draw its essence from the parties' collective bargaining agreement where excepting party fails to establish that the award cannot in any rational way be derived from the agreement; is so unfounded in reason and fact and so unconnected to the wording and purpose of the agreement as to manifest an infidelity to the obligation of the arbitrator; does not represent a plausible interpretation of the agreement; or evidences a manifest disregard of the agreement). [n*] 

      Accordingly, the Union's exceptions are denied.



Footnote # * for 63 FLRA No. 5 - Authority's Decision

   The Union excepted to this arbitral award on the basis that the Arbitrator exceeded his authority by "bifurcat[ing]" the procedural question of the grievance's timeliness from the merits of the grievance -- that is, by treating the procedural question as a threshold matter to be decided before proceeding to the merits. Exceptions at 3. Absent statutory or contractual provisions to the contrary, it is presumed that arbitrators enjoy substantial latitude to manage such procedural issues as arbitrators deem appropriate to the circumstances of the matter before them, provided, of course, that arbitrators must at all times abide by basic notions of due process. United States DHS, U.S. Customs & Border Prot., JFK Airport, Queens, N.Y., 62 FLRA 360, 362 (2008) (citing AFGE, Local 22, 51 FLRA 1496, 1497-98 (1996)).