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The Honorable Richard HastingsUnited States House of Representatives 25 N. Wenatchee Avenue, Suite 202Wenatchee, WA 98801
Dear Congressman Hastings:
This is in response to your letter of April 9, 1997, in which you forwarded a letter from your constituent, [XXX], an official of the [union], who wrote to you concerning the back pay claims of [XXX], employees of the [agency]. Because the letter that you forwarded was from a union official, we contacted the [agency] Human Resource office in [XXX], and were informed that these claimants are subject to a negotiated grievance procedure between a recognized labor organization and their agency. We regret that we were not aware of this fact when we responded to you in our previous letter.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) cannot take jurisdiction over the claim of a Federal employee on a matter that is subject to a negotiated grievance procedure under a collective bargaining agreement between the employees agency and union, unless that matter is or was specifically excluded from the agreements grievance procedure. This is because the courts have found that Congress intended that such a grievance procedure is to be the exclusive remedy for matters not excluded from the grievance process. Carter v. Gibbs, 909 F.2d 1425, 1453 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (en banc), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 811 (1990), construing the provision in the Civil Service Reform Act, codified at 5 U.S.C. 7121 (a). That Act mandates that the grievance procedures in negotiated collective bargaining agreements be the exclusive remedy for matters covered by the agreements. Accord, Cecil E. Riggs et al., B-222962.3, April 23, 1992. We regret that we are without authority to further consider these claims.
Murray M. Meeker