Tuesday, April 05, 2011
NATCA Settles with the FAA on a Three-Day Suspension Case
An ARC bargaining unit employee was suspended for three days in October 2010 for a charge of providing inaccurate entries to the organization’s Time and Attendance recording system. The allegation was based on the entry log of a secured computer lab that the grievant uses to perform his duties. The agency claimed that the grievant’s access to the secured lab did not match the T&A entries. While the grievant works in the computer lab, he also performs his duties at his desk outside the lab so there was a real question as the validity of the agency's claim since he might have been at his desk. The case was scheduled for a hearing at the end of April 2011, but the parties agreed to settle the matter by reducing the three-day to a one-day suspension served on his regular-day-off, resulting in three days of back pay for lost wages.
NATCA Awarded Fees and Expenses in Successful Arbitration
NATCA was just awarded $49,158.54 in attorney fees and another $1,031.04 expenses as a result of a successful arbitration. The underlying case involved the issuance of a Letter of Reprimand for inattention to duty in 2008. The arbitrator determined that the FAA failed to prove the charge and its actions were arbitrary, capricious and without a reasonable basis. He ordered that the LOR be removed. During the course of the hearing, NATCA was able to establish that the grievant did not receive an SCI due to the Letter of Reprimand. Accordingly, the arbitrator ordered that the grievant receive the 1.2 percent SCI he lost but otherwise would have received. The arbitrator also agreed with NATCA that it was entitled to attorney fees since NATCA prevailed, that fees were warranted, and that the grievant had suffered a loss of pay and/or benefits but for the improper action by the agency. The FAA disagreed with the portion of the arbitrator's award regarding fees and filed an appeal with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). The FLRA denied the exceptions and agreed with the arbitrator that the award was not deficient, it was not improper for the arbitrator to award fees, and that NATCA had met the criteria for an award of fees. On that basis, the FAA's exceptions were dismissed. NATCA subsequently filed with the arbitrator its petition and declaration for fees. The arbitrator granted NATCA's request in total.