CONGRATS FOR AFGE’S AGGRESSIVENESS; BUT BEWARE THIS FILING DEADLINE RULE
We love it when a union decides to take on an unusual issue as AFGE did in its recent win in Dept. of Army, NC and AFGE, Local 1770. The federal sector’s 800 pound gorilla of a union stood up for a member who thought she was being cheated out of a retention incentive payment for the last six years and convinced an arbitrator to award her six years of retroactive incentive pay. That should amount to more than a year’s pay. WOW! But as wonderful as this victory is, readers should not miss the reason why Abbott & Kiko were unable to screw over the employee by overturning the award as is their practice.
The majority ruled that the agency filed its exceptions late. The arbitrator issued his award on May 24, 2017 and at the union’s request issued a clarification of his award on June 5, 2017, extending the employee’s back pay entitlement for another year. The agency then filed its exceptions on July 3, 2017, which was well within the 30 days of the June 5 clarification. But clarifications of awards don’t count to extend the filing deadline for the original award, especially if the clarification does not change the issue the agency objects to. The FLRA majority ruled that the agency must file exceptions within 30 days of the May 24 ruling. Because it did not, the two FLRA union bashers could not overturn the award.