B-235624.2, Dec 4, 1989

B-235624.2: Dec 4, 1989

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Compensation - Arbitration decisions - GAO review DIGEST: Claim which was the subject of a final and binding arbitration proceeding will not be reviewed by our Office even where the result of that proceeding was to dismiss the grievance as untimely. 4 C.F.R. Local 2-779: This decision is in response to a request by Ms. This request was filed under our labor management regulations in 4 C.F.R. part 22 (1989). We lack jurisdiction to decide the claim since it was the subject of an arbitration award. J. James and Jackie Armound are histopathology technicians at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They claim that they were entitled to premium pay for regularly scheduled standby duty which they were required to perform on various weekends during the period from 1971 to August 1986. /1/ The employees filed a grievance for this premium pay in May 1988.

B-235624.2, Dec 4, 1989

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Compensation - Arbitration decisions - GAO review DIGEST: Claim which was the subject of a final and binding arbitration proceeding will not be reviewed by our Office even where the result of that proceeding was to dismiss the grievance as untimely. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 22.7(a) (1989).

American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2-779:

This decision is in response to a request by Ms. Gladys Caracci, President, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Local 2779, on behalf of four employees who claim premium pay for regularly scheduled standby duty. This request was filed under our labor management regulations in 4 C.F.R. part 22 (1989). We lack jurisdiction to decide the claim since it was the subject of an arbitration award.

BACKGROUND

Messrs. George Perry, Jimmie Brown, C. J. James and Jackie Armound are histopathology technicians at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida. They claim that they were entitled to premium pay for regularly scheduled standby duty which they were required to perform on various weekends during the period from 1971 to August 1986. /1/

The employees filed a grievance for this premium pay in May 1988, almost 2 years after the agency ceased to require weekend work. The arbitrator dismissed the grievance on the basis that it was untimely under Article 13 of the collective bargaining agreement. /2/ Article 13 provides that a grievance must be filed within 30 days of the date the employee or union became aware of the act giving rise to the grievance, unless the parties waive the time limit. The agency declined to waive the time limit and the employees did not appeal the arbitrator's decision.

The union argues that since the arbitrator merely denied the grievance on what it characterizes as a "procedural" ground, our Office should adjudicate this matter as a labor-management relations case pursuant to our separate and independent statutory authorities under 31 U.S.C. Secs. 711, 3529, and 3702 (1982) and our labor-management relations regulations in 4 C.F.R. part 22 (1989).

OPINION

Under the statutes which govern federal labor-management relations, arbitration awards that may result from grievance proceedings are subject to review by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and not by this Office. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 7122(a) (1982). As noted in our labor-management regulations in 4 C.F.R. Sec. 22.7(a) (1989), our Office will not review a claim which is the subject of a final and binding arbitration award. This principle applies even when the arbitration does not reach the merits of the claim. Thus, in Gerald M. Hegarty, 60 Comp.Gen. 579 (1981), we were asked to review an arbitrator's decision which limited an award of environmental differential pay to the period beginning 15 days before the grievance was filed. We held that we would not review the employee's claim for the prior 10-year period. 60 Comp.Gen. at 580. See also American Federation of Government Employees, Local 916, B-211954, Oct. 3, 1983.

The claims involved here were presented for arbitration and the union did not file any exceptions to the arbitrator's decision with the Federal Labor Relations Authority under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 7122(a) (1982). Accordingly, under the provisions of 4 C.F.R. Sec. 22.7(a), we consider this final and binding arbitration decision as conclusive, and we will not review or comment on the underlying claims.

/1/ The union recognizes that a portion of the claims may be barred by our 6-year statute of limitations, 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3702(b)(1) (1982).

/2/ U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center v. American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2779, FMCS Case No. 88-24671 (Apr. 27, 1989) (Nolan, Arb).