Orlando, FL—In a decision dated April 26, 2006, Arbitrator James Sherman fully sustained the American Federation of Government Employees’ (AFGE) grievance on behalf of Local 2113 President Lorraine Tuliano, and nullified the 30-day suspension imposed against her by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in Orlando. The 30 day suspension was proposed as a removal, although it began as a proposed suspension of 14 days; specious charges added to make it appear more serious. Tuliano is the vice-chair of the Defense Conference (DEFCON) Steering Group Caucus for the Navy and the principal spokesperson for Navy locals represented by AFGE on NSPS issues.
Sherman found that with respect to an "inappropriate behavior" charge, investigators were biased, the supervisors conducted an incomplete and biased investigation, and Tuliano acted reasonably and responsibly in protecting the interest of a bargaining unit employee being escorted from the facility and deserved a civil reply to what was happening to him; with respect to a "failure to follow orders charge" regarding a time card, Tuliano entered her time card properly and timely, the supervisors focused on "minutia," and they easily could have resolved any confusion regarding her authorization to use official time with one phone call; and finally, regarding an "insubordination" charge, the supervisor's order was not specific or clear, and Tuliano's conduct was not willful or deliberate.
According to AFGE District 5 Assistant General Counsel Stuart Kirsch, “NAVAIR brought frivolous charges against Tuliano motivated by vindictiveness and anti-union animus for her participation in NSPS and partnership meetings. In demonstrating its bad faith, NAVAIR had the audacity to take a proposed suspension and elevate it to a proposed removal after AFGE interceded on her behalf.”
NAVAIR is required to pay in full for the arbitration, Tuliano is to be made whole for all losses, and AFGE will seek attorney fees for its involvement in this case for over 18 months.