B-251784, February 19, 1993

B-251784: Feb 19, 1993

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Is advised that Claims Group settlement declining to take jurisdiction of FLSA overtime claims received by GAO on October 22. Is affirmed. Which held that GAO will no longer take jurisdiction of a claim where the claimant is subject to negotiated grievance procedures under a collective bargaining agreement. Since the subject claims are covered by negotiated grievance procedures. GAO does not have jurisdiction under the Riggs decision to accept the claims. Stating that GAO will not settle federal employees' claims concerning matters which are subject to negotiated grievance procedures under collective bargaining agreements entered into pursuant to 5 U.S.C. You protest the Claims Group's action on the basis that the new rule was not intended to have retroactive application to these claims.

B-251784, February 19, 1993

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Compensation Arbitration decisions GAO review President, AFGE Local 2096, is advised that Claims Group settlement declining to take jurisdiction of FLSA overtime claims received by GAO on October 22, 1992, because of change in our regulations in 4 C.F.R. Parts 22 and 30, is affirmed. The change in regulations resulted from a decision of the Comptroller General, Cecil E. Riggs, et al., 71 Comp.Gen. 374, April 23, 1992, which held that GAO will no longer take jurisdiction of a claim where the claimant is subject to negotiated grievance procedures under a collective bargaining agreement. Since the subject claims are covered by negotiated grievance procedures, GAO does not have jurisdiction under the Riggs decision to accept the claims.

Ezra D. Green, President American Federation of Government Employees Local 2096 P.O. Box 579 Dahlgren, Virginia 22448

Dear Mr. Green:

This responds to your December 1, 1992, appeal on behalf of Messrs. Jerome W. Burton, Gary Wayne Lewis, Thomas Shannon Berry, and Clarence T. Jones of our Claims Group's settlement in Z-2868118, November 4, 1992, which involved a request for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Our Claims Group declined to take jurisdiction in this matter citing to a change in our regulations in 4 C.F.R. Parts 22 and 30, 57 Fed. Reg. 31272, 33392, No. 135, 145 (July 14 and 28, 1992), stating that GAO will not settle federal employees' claims concerning matters which are subject to negotiated grievance procedures under collective bargaining agreements entered into pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Sec. 7121(a) (1988).

You protest the Claims Group's action on the basis that the new rule was not intended to have retroactive application to these claims, which were initially filed with the agency on June 19, 1991, and reached the Navy Regional Finance Center on or about April 7, 1992. The claims were received in this Office on October 22, 1992.

Upon review of the record, we find no error of law or fact in the Claims Group's determination. The change in our regulations followed the issuance of a decision of the Comptroller General, Cecil E. Riggs, et al., B-222926.3, Apr. 23, 1992, 71 Comp.Gen. 374. In Riggs, we followed the rationale of several court decisions construing 5 U.S.C. Sec. 7121(a) (1988) as providing that the negotiated grievance procedures under collective bargaining agreements furnish the exclusive means for resolving disputes falling within their coverage. Thus, we held that the General Accounting Office will no longer accept claims from federal employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement containing a negotiated grievance procedure covering such claims.

The collective bargaining agreement between AFGE Local 2096 and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, Virginia, does not specifically exclude overtime claims from the grievance procedure in Article 23, nor from arbitration in Article 24. Therefore, the negotiated grievance procedures furnish a mechanism for resolving disputes concerning FLSA claims.

Accordingly, since the claims you filed are subject to negotiated grievance procedures, we do not have jurisdiction under our Riggs decision to accept the claims. See Turner-Caldwell Reconsideration in view of Wilson v. United States, 61 Comp.Gen. 408 (1982), cited in Riggs at p. 5. The Claims Group's determination is affirmed, and we decline to take jurisdiction in this matter. We are furnishing you with a copy of our Riggs decision and our amending regulations, and we regret that we cannot be of further assistance to you.