American Federation of Government Employees, Council of Prison Locals 33, Local 3976 (Union) and United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Institution, Estill, South Carolina (Agency)  

 
66 FLRA No. 49                
       
AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
COUNCIL OF PRISON LOCALS 33
LOCAL 3976
(Union)
 
and
 
UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
ESTILL, SOUTH CAROLINA
(Agency)
 
0-AR-4755
 
_____
 
DECISION
 
October 20, 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 Lawrence M. Oberdank filed by the Union under § 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor‑Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority’s Regulations.  The Agency filed an opposition to the Union’s exceptions.   
                The Arbitrator denied the grievance, finding that it was procedurally deficient under the parties’ master agreement (agreement).  For the reasons that follow, wedeny the Union’s exceptions.
 
II.            Background and Arbitrator’s Award
The Agency barred the grievant from returning to work until he presented a medical certificate clearing him for unrestricted duty.  Award at 3 n.1; Exceptions at 1-2.  The Union filed a grievance, which was unresolved and submitted to arbitration.  Award at 3.  The Arbitrator bifurcated the arbitration proceedings in order to first determine whether the grievance was arbitrable.  Id.  The Arbitrator found that the Union had failed to comply with the agreement’s “unequivocal” requirement to state in writing, in its “Notice of Intent to Arbitrate” (arbitration notice), the issue to be litigated.  Id. at 7.  Consequently, the Arbitrator found that the grievance was not arbitrable, and he denied the grievance.  Id. at 7-8.
III.          Positions of the Parties
 
A.            Union’s Exceptions
The Union asserts that the award is based on a nonfact because, in its view, it provided in the arbitration notice a statemen