United States Department of the Air Force, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California (Agency) and Sport Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Union)
65 FLRA No. 212
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
AIR FORCE FLIGHT TEST CENTER
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA
SPORT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ORGANIZATION
ORDER DISMISSING EXCEPTIONS
July 11, 2011
Before the Authority: Carol Waller Pope, Chairman, and Thomas M. Beck and Ernest DuBester, Members
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Edna E.J. Francis filed by the Agency under § 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority’s Regulations. The Union filed an opposition to the Agency’s exceptions.
The Arbitrator found that the Agency violated the parties’ agreement and the Statute by failing to fulfill its bargaining obligations before changing a past practice. The Arbitrator directed the Agency to return to the status quo until it satisfied its bargaining obligations, and directed the parties to agree on a remedy for affected employees. For the reasons that follow, we dismiss the exceptions, without prejudice, as interlocutory.
II. Background and Arbitrator’s Award
The Union filed a grievance alleging, in pertinent part, that the Agency violated the parties’ agreement and the Statute when it refused to follow the past practice of granting administrative leave in the amount necessary for employees to receive a minimum of twelve hours of rest after working an overtime shift (rest policy). Award at 2. The grievance was unresolved and submitted to arbitration.
Before the Arbitrator, the Agency conceded that it ceased following the rest policy, but argued that it had fulfilled its bargaining obligation by offering the Union the opportunity to submit impact and implementation proposals concerning its new policy under which the Agency would ensure an eight-hour minimum interval between shifts. Id. at 10-11.
The Arbitrator found that the Agency’s notice to the Union was insufficient, id. at 22-23, and that the Agency violated the parties’ agreement and the Statute by changing the rest policy past practice before fulfilling its statutory bargaining obligations, id. at 24. As one element of the remedy, the Arbitrator directed the Agency to “return to the status quo ante” and “cease and desist from enforcing the change in past practice until it has satisfied its statutory bargaining obligations.” Id.
In addition, the Arbitrator found that the Agency’s failure to continue following the rest policy affected employees. See id. at 18. In this regard, the Arbitrator found that there was “no dispute” that, on several occasions, employees were “offered irregular and unscheduled overtime on their regular day off . . . and were not granted administrative leave” consistent with the rest policy. Id. The Arbitrator also found that, on a particular date, the Union president “was forced to work overtime and was not granted administrative leave in the amount necessary” under the rest policy. Id. Because the Arbitrator found that the Agency changed the rest policy past practice before it had satisfied its bargaining obligations, the Arbitrator stated:
[T]he Agency and the Union shall attempt to fashion a remedy regarding the case of any bargaining uni