· What procedural issues have arisen that affected the FLRA’s ability to decide an exception? Timeliness? Failure to state a basis? Etc.?
What to Take to the Focus Group Meeting
If you decide to attend, must take items include the applicable statutory provisions of which there are only three and the current regulations. Both are listed below.
From the statute at title 5:
§ 7105. Powers and duties of the Authority
(a) (2) The Authority shall, to the extent provided in this chapter and in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Authority—
(H) resolve exceptions to arbitrator’s awards under section 7122 of this title; and
§ 7121. Grievance procedures
(a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, any collective bargaining agreement shall provide procedures for the settlement of grievances, including questions of arbitrability. Except as provided in subsections (d), (e), and (g) of this section, the procedures shall be the exclusive administrative procedures for resolving grievances which fall within its coverage.
(b) (1) Any negotiated grievance procedure referred to in subsection (a) of this section shall—
(C) include procedures that (iii) provide that any grievance not satisfactorily settled under the negotiated grievance procedure shall be subject to binding arbitration which may be invoked by either the exclusive representative or the agency.
(2) (A) The provisions of a negotiated grievance procedure providing for binding arbitration in accordance with paragraph (1)(C)(iii) shall, if or to the extent that an alleged prohibited personnel practice is involved, allow the arbitrator to order—
(i) a stay of any personnel action in a manner similar to the manner described in section 1221 (c) with respect to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and
(ii) the taking, by an agency, of any disciplinary action identified under section 1215 (a)(3) that is otherwise within the authority of such agency to take.
(B) Any employee who is the subject of any disciplinary action ordered under subparagraph (A)(ii) may appeal such action to the same extent and in the same manner as if the agency had taken the disciplinary action absent arbitration.
7122. Exceptions to arbitral awards
(a) Either party to arbitration under this chapter may file with the Authority an exception to any arbitrator’s award pursuant to the arbitration (other than an award relating to a matter described in section 7121 (f) of this title). If upon review the Authority finds that the award is deficient—
(1) because it is contrary to any law, rule, or regulation; or
(2) on other grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor-management relations;
the Authority may take such action and make such recommendations concerning the award as it considers necessary, consistent with applicable laws, rules, or regulations.
(b) If no exception to an arbitrator’s award is filed under subsection (a) of this section during the 30-day period beginning on the date the award is served on the party, the award shall be final and binding. An agency shall take the actions required by an arbitrator’s final award. The award may include the payment of backpay (as provided in section 5596 of this title).
The FLRA’s current Regulations:
PART 2425—REVIEW OF ARBITRATION AWARDS
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 7134.
§ 2425.1 Who may file an exception; time limits for filing; opposition; service.
(a) Either party to arbitration under the provisions of chapter 71 of title 5 of the United States Code may file an exception to an arbitrator’s award rendered pursuant to the arbitration.
(b) The time limit for filing an exception to an arbitration award is thirty (30) days beginning on the date the award is served on the filing party.
(c) An opposition to the exception may be filed by a party within thirty (30) days after the date of service of the exception.
(d) A copy of the exception and any opposition shall be served on the other party.
[45 FR 3513, Jan. 17, 1980, as amended at 46 FR 40675, Aug. 11, 1981; 49 FR 22623, May 31, 1984]
An exception must be a dated, self-contained document which sets forth in full:
(a) A statement of the grounds on which review is requested;
(b) Evidence or rulings bearing on the issues before the Authority;
(c) Arguments in support of the stated grounds, together with specific reference to the pertinent documents and citations of authorities; and
(d) A legible copy of the award of the arbitrator and legible copies of other pertinent documents.
(e) The name and address of the arbitrator. [45 FR 3513, Jan. 17, 1986, as amended at 51 FR 45755, Dec. 22, 1986]
(a) The Authority will review an arbitrator’s award to which an exception has been filed to determine if the award is deficient—
(1) Because it is contrary to any law, rule or regulation; or
(2) On other grounds similar to those applied by Federal courts in private sector labor-management relations.
(b) The Authority will not consider an exception with respect to an award relating to:
(1) An action based on unacceptable performance covered under 5 U.S.C. 4303;
(2) A removal, suspension for more than fourteen (14) days, reduction in grade, reduction in pay, or furlough of thirty (30) days or less covered under 5 U.S.C. 7512; or
(3) Matters similar to those covered under 5 U.S.C. 4303 and 5 U.S.C. 7512 which arise under other personnel systems. [45 FR 3513, Jan. 17, 1980]
The Authority shall issue its decision and order taking such action and making such recommendations concerning the award as it considers necessary, consistent with applicable laws, rules, or regulations. [45 FR 3513, Jan. 17, 1980]
Why It’s Important to Attend
Please take the FLRA up on its invitation. If they want to train on filing exceptions to arbitration awards, that’s obviously their business. However if they want to train on arbitration and grievance handling, what is their expertise? FLRA has absolutely no role in grievance handling and unless you’re talking about some of the current political appointees, no experience in taking a case through the grievance process and on to arbitration. Remind them of that if you get the chance.
As always, these views are mine and do not represent my employer, publisher or wife who, by the way, remains convinced with good evidence that Executive Order 13522’s deadlines will not be met.