Department of the Air Force, 47th Flying Training Wing, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas (Respondent) and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1749, AFL-CIO, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas (Complainant)




[ v02 p213 ]
02:0213(24)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 2 FLRA No. 24
 
 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
 47TH FLYING TRAINING WING
 LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1749, AFL-CIO
 LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS
 Complainant
 
                                            Assistant Secretary
                                            Case No. 63-8164(CA)
 
                      SUPPLEMENTAL DECISION AND ORDER
 
    ON JANUARY 25, 1979, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE ALEXANDER KARST ISSUED
 HIS RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER IN THE ABOVE-ENTITLED PROCEEDING,
 FINDING THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD NOT ENGAGED IN THE UNFAIR LABOR
 PRACTICES ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT AND RECOMMENDING THAT THE COMPLAINT
 BE DISMISSED IN ITS ENTIRETY.  THEREAFTER, THE COMPLAINANT FILED
 EXCEPTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED
 DECISION AND ORDER.  ON JULY 9, 1979, THE AUTHORITY ISSUED ITS DECISION
 AND ORDER IN THIS MATTER.  1 FLRA NO. 81.
 
    THEREAFTER, ON JULY 18, 1979, THE RESPONDENT FILED A MOTION
 REQUESTING THAT THE AUTHORITY REOPEN AND RECONSIDER ITS DECISION AND
 ORDER. IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION, THE RESPONDENT ALLEGED THAT IT HAD NOT
 RECEIVED A COPY OF THE COMPLAINANT'S EXCEPTIONS TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE
 LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER, AND SUPPORTING BRIEF, AND
 CONSEQUENTLY HAD NOT HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO REQUEST LEAVE TO FILE AN
 ANSWERING BRIEF IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AUTHORITY'S REGULATIONS.  ON
 AUGUST 10, 1979, THE COMPLAINT ADVISED THE AUTHORITY THAT IT HAD MAILED
 A COPY OF ITS EXCEPTIONS AND SUPPORTING BRIEF, BY CERTIFIED MAIL, TO THE
 RESPONDENT ON FEBRUARY 9, 1979.  HOWEVER, THE COMPLAINANT OFFERED NO
 PROOF OF RECEIPT THEREOF BY THE RESPONDENT.
 
    CONSEQUENTLY, AS IT APPEARED THAT THE COMPLAINANT'S EXCEPTIONS AND
 SUPPORTING BRIEF WERE NOT IN FACT RECEIVED BY THE RESPONDENT, THE
 AUTHORITY ISSUED AN ORDER RESCINDING DECISION AND ORDER ON AUGUST 23,
 1979, WHICH REQUIRED THE COMPLAINANT TO SERVE A COPY OF ITS EXCEPTIONS
 ON THE RESPONDENT AND GAVE THE RESPONDENT AN OPPORTUNITY TO REPLY
 THERETO.  THE RESPONDENT'S ANSWERING BRIEF WAS RECEIVED BY THE AUTHORITY
 ON OCTOBER 5, 1979.
 
    THE FUNCTIONS OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR
 LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED, WERE
 TRANSFERRED TO THE AUTHORITY UNDER SECTION 304 OF REORGANIZATION PLAN
 NO. 2 OF 1978 (43 F.R. 36040), WHICH TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS IS
 IMPLEMENTED BY SECTION 2400.2 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS
 (44 F.R. 44741, JULY 30, 1979).  THE AUTHORITY CONTINUES TO BE
 RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE FUNCTIONS AS PROVIDED IN
 SECTION 7135(B) OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS
 STATUTE (92 STAT. 1215).  UPON CONSIDERATION OF THE ENTIRE RECORD IN
 THIS MATTER, INCLUDING THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED
 DECISION AND ORDER, THE EXCEPTIONS FILED BY THE COMPLAINANT AND THE
 RESPONDENT'S BRIEF IN REPLY THERETO, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT A RESULT
 CONTRARY TO THAT REACHED IN 1 FLRA NO. 81 IS NOT WARRANTED AS THE
 RESPONDENT'S BRIEF RAISED NO ISSUES THAT WERE NOT CONSIDERED PREVIOUSLY.
 
    THUS, IN HIS RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
 JUDGE CONCLUDED THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD NOT VIOLATED SECTION 19(A)(1)
 AND (6) OF THE ORDER WHEN IT IMPLEMENTED A CHANGE IN THE TELEPHONE
 SYSTEM OF ITS CIVIL ENGINEERING FACILITY WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE TO THE
 COMPLAINANT.  IN REACHING THIS CONCLUSION, HE FOUND, AMONG OTHER THINGS,
 THAT BY DISCUSSING THE IMPACT OF THE CHANGE WITH THE COMPLAINANT AFTER
 ITS IMPLEMENTATION AND BY MAKING EFFORTS TO REMEDY THE TECHNICAL
 DEFICIENCIES OF THE NEW TELEPHONE SYSTEM, THE RESPONDENT HAD DISCHARGED
 SATISFACTORILY ITS DUTY TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE COMPLAINANT OVER THE
 IMPACT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS ACTION.  HE ALSO FOUND THAT THE
 RESPONDENT WAS UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO MEET AND CONFER WITH THE
 COMPLAINANT BEFORE DECIDING TO MODIFY ITS TELEPHONE SYSTEM AND, FURTHER,
 THAT THE FACT THAT THE NEW SYSTEM MADE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE
 COMPLAINTANT'S OFFICIALS TO CARRY OUT THEIR UNION DUTIES FAILED TO GIVE
 RISE TO AN INDEPENDENT VIOLATION OF SECTION 19(A)(1) OF THE ORDER.
 
    THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDATION IS ADOPTED INSOFAR AS
 IT DISMISSED THE PORTIONS OF THE INSTANT COMPLAINT ALLEGING VIOLATIONS
 OF SECTION 19(A)(1) AND (6) OF THE RESPONDENT'S ALLEGED FAILURE TO
 BARGAIN OVER ITS DECISION TO MODIFY THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM.  HOWEVER,
 CONTRARY TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE, IT IS CONCLUDED, IN THE
 CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE, THAT THE RESPONDENT'S FAILURE TO NOTIFY THE
 COMPLAINANT OF THE DECISION PRIOR TO THE MODIFICATION DENIED THE
 COMPLAINANT ITS RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE OVER THE IMPACT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF
 A CHANGE IN WORKING CONDITIONS, THEREBY VIOLATING SECTION 19(A)(1) AND
 (6) OF THE ORDER.  FURTHER, THE RESPONDENT'S SUBSEQUENT NEGOTIATIONS
 OVER THE IMPACT OF THE CHANGE, SEVERAL WEEKS AFTER THE NEW TELEPHONE
 SYSTEM WAS INSTALLED, DID NOT SERVE TO REMEDY THE INITIAL FAILURE TO
 NOTIFY THE COMPLAINANT.  /1/
 
                                 ORDER /2/
 
    PURSUANT TO SECTION 2400.2 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE
 FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND SECTION 7135 OF THE FEDERAL
 SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE, THE AUTHORITY HEREBY ORDERS
 THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, 47TH FLYING TRAINING WING,
 LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS, SHALL:
 
    1.  CEASE AND DESIST FROM:
 
    (A) CHANGING ESTABLISHED PRACTICES WITH REGARD TO THE CIVIL
 ENGINEERING TELEPHONE SYSTEM
 
    WITHOUT NOTIFYING THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 LOCAL 1749, AFL-CIO, THE
 
    EMPLOYEES' EXCLUSIVE BARGAINING REPRESENTATIVE, AND AFFORDING IT A
 REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY TO
 
    MEET AND CONFER, TO THE EXTENT CONSONANT WITH LAW AND REGULATIONS, ON
 THE PROCEDURES TO BE
 
    OBSERVED IN IMPLEMENTING SUCH CHANGES, AND THE IMPACT THE CHANGES
 WILL HAVE ON ADVERSELY
 
    AFFECTED EMPLOYEES.
 
    (B) ON ANY LIKE OR RELATED MANNER INTERFERING WITH, RESTRAINING, OR
 COERCING EMPLOYEES IN
 
    THE EXERCISE OF THEIR RIGHTS ASSURED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS
 AMENDED.
 
    2.  TAKE THE FOLLOWING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:
 
    (A) UPON REQUEST BY THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 LOCAL 1749, AFL-CIO,
 
    MEET AND CONFER, TO THE EXTENT CONSONANT WITH LAW AND REGULATIONS,
 CONCERNING THE PROCEDURES
 
    TO BE OBSERVED IN IMPLEMENTING CHANGES IN ITS CIVIL ENGINEERING
 TELEPHONE SYSTEM, AND ON THE
 
    IMPACT SUCH CHANGES WILL HAVE ON ADVERSELY AFFECTED EMPLOYEES.
 
    (B) POST AT ITS CIVIL ENGINEERING FACILITY COPIES OF THE ATTACHED
 NOTICE MARKED
 
    "APPENDIX" ON FORMS TO BE FURNISHED BY THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY.  UPON RECEIPT OF
 
    SUCH FORMS THEY SHALL BE SIGNED BY THE WING COMMANDER AND SHALL BE
 POSTED AND MAINTAINED FOR
 
    60 CONSECUTIVE DAYS THEREAFTER, IN CONSPICUOUS PLACES, INCLUDING
 BULLETIN BOARDS AND OTHER
 
    PLACES WHERE NOTICES TO EMPLOYEES ARE CUSTOMARILY POSTED.  THE WING
 COMMANDER SHALL TAKE
 
    REASONABLE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT SUCH NOTICES ARE NOT ALTERED,
 DEFACED, OR COVERED BY ANY OTHER
 
    MATERIAL.
 
    (C) NOTIFY THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY, IN WRITING, WITHIN
 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE
 
    OF THIS ORDER AS TO WHAT STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO COMPLY HEREWITH.
 
    IT IS HEREBY FURTHER ORDERED THAT THE REMAINDER OF THE COMPLAINT IN
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASE NO. 63-8164(CA) BE, AND IT HEREBY IS,
 DISMISSED.
 
    ISSUED, WASHINGTON, D.C., DECEMBER 5, 1979
 
                       RONALD W. HAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN
 
                       HENRY B. FRAZIER III, MEMBER
 
                        LEON B. APPLEWHAITE, MEMBER
 
                     FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
        APPENDIX NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO A SUPPLEMENTAL
 
             DECISION AND ORDER OF THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 
           AUTHORITY AND IN ORDER TO EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF
 
          CHAPTER 71 OF TITLE 5 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE FEDERAL
 
          SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS WE HEREBY NOTIFY OUR
 
                             EMPLOYEES THAT:
 
    WE WILL NOT CHANGE ESTABLISHED PRACTICES WITH REGARD TO THE CIVIL
 ENGINEERING TELEPHONE SYSTEM WITHOUT NOTIFYING THE AMERICAN FEDERATION
 OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1749, AFL-CIO, THE EMPLOYEES' EXCLUSIVE
 BARGAINING REPRESENTATIVE, AND AFFORDING IT A REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY TO
 MEET AND CONFER, TO THE EXTENT CONSONANT WITH LAW AND REGULATIONS, ON
 THE PROCEDURES TO BE OBSERVED IN IMPLEMENTING SUCH CHANGES, AND ON THE
 IMPACT THE CHANGES WILL HAVE ON ADVERSELY AFFECTED EMPLOYEES.
 
    WE WILL NOT IN ANY LIKE OR RELATED MANNER INTERFERE WITH, RESTRAIN,
 OR COERCE EMPLOYEES IN THE EXERCISE OF THEIR RIGHTS ASSURED BY EXECUTIVE
 ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED.
 
    WE WILL TO THE EXTENT CONSONANT WITH LAW, REGULATIONS OF APPROPRIATE
 AUTHORITIES, AND EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED, AFFORD AFGE LOCAL
 1749 THE OPPORTUNITY TO BARGAIN OVER THE IMPACT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF
 CHANGES AFFECTING PERSONNEL POLICIES, PRACTICES, OR WORKING CONDITIONS,
 INCLUDING CHANGES IN THE CIVIL ENGINEERING TELEPHONE SYSTEM.
 
                           (AGENCY OR ACTIVITY)
 
    DATED:  BY:  (SIGNATURE)
 
    THIS NOTICE MUST REMAIN POSTED FOR 60 CONSECUTIVE DAYS FROM THE DATE
 OF POSTING AND MUST NOT BE ALTERED, DEFACED, OR COVERED BY ANY OTHER
 MATERIAL.
 
    IF EMPLOYEES HAVE ANY QUESTIONS CONCERNING THIS NOTICE OR COMPLIANCE
 WITH ANY OF ITS PROVISIONS, THEY MAY COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THE
 REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY, WHOSE
 ADDRESS IS:  BRYAN AND ERVAY STREETS, P.O. BOX 2640, DALLAS, TEXAS
 75221;  AND WHOSE TELEPHONE NUMBER IS:  (214) 767-4996.
 
    MAJOR JAMES E. DUMERER
 
    CENTRAL LABOR LAW OFFICE
 
    DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
 
    727 E. DURANGO BOULEVARD, SUITE B604
 
    SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 78206
 
                            FOR THE RESPONDENT
 
    ROY FLORES, PRESIDENT
 
    AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 
    EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1749
 
    P.O. BOX 1165
 
    DEL RIO, TEXAS 78840
 
                            FOR THE COMPLAINANT
 
    DOYLE F. HUNTSMAN, NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
 
    AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 
    EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
 
    442 ROTHE LOOP
 
    NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS 78130
 
                            FOR THE COMPLAINANT
 
    BEFORE:  ALEXANDER KARST
 
    ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    IN THIS PROCEEDING UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, HEARD IN DEL RIO,
 TEXAS ON OCTOBER 3, 1978, THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1749, AFL-CIO (HEREINAFTER AFGE OR UNION), COMPLAINS
 THAT IN OCTOBER 1977, THE LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE (HEREINAFTER LAUGHLIN
 OR RESPONDENT), UNILATERALLY CHANGED THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM IN ITS CIVIL
 ENGINEERING SHOPS WITHOUT NOTICE TO AFGE AND WITHOUT PRIOR NEGOTIATIONS
 ABOUT THE CHANGE OR ITS IMPACT.
 
    PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1977, THE CIVIL ENGINEERING SHOPS AT LAUGHLIN HAD
 CONVENTIONAL DIRECT DIALING TELEPHONES ON WHICH CALLS COULD BE MADE ON
 OR OFF-BASE.  ON OCTOBER 11, 1977, LAUGHLIN REPLACED THESE TELEPHONES
 WITH A NEW SYSTEM REQUIRING ALL CALLS TO BE MADE TO A CENTRAL
 SWITCHBOARD.  INITIALLY THE CALLER COULD ONLY SPEAK WITH THE CENTRAL
 SWITCHBOARD OR BE CALLED BY IT, AND COULD NOT BE CONNECTED WITH ANY
 OTHER TELEPHONE.  THE CHANGE WAS MADE TO COMPLY WITH AIR FORCE
 REGULATION AFR 85-1 PROMULGATED IN 1972 WHICH REQUIRED A CONVERSION OF
 THE CIVIL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT TO A "CONTROLLER SYSTEM" WHEREUNDER ALL
 WORK ASSIGNMENTS AND TELEPHONE CALLS WOULD BE COMMUNICATED THROUGH A
 CENTRAL CONTROLLER.  THE CHANGE OF THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM WAS A PART OF
 THE SWITCH OVER TO THE CONTROLLER SYSTEM.
 
    THE UNION CLAIMS THAT SINCE ITS FIRST COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
 WITH LAUGHLIN WAS ENTERED INTO IN 1971, THE CHANGE OF THE TELEPHONE
 SYSTEM COULD NOT BE MADE WITHOUT PRIOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE UNION, EVEN
 IF SUCH A CHANGE WERE MANDATED BY AFR 85-1, BECAUSE THE UNION CONTRACT
 PRE-DATED AFR 85-1.  LAUGHLIN MAINTAINS THAT THE CHANGE WAS IN FACT MADE
 DURING THE LIFE OF A LATER UNION CONTRACT ENTERED INTO IN 1974, AND THAT
 THE LATTER CONTRACT INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE ALL EXISTING AIR FORCE
 REGULATIONS INCLUDING AFR 85-1.
 
    IT DOES APPEAR THAT WHEN AFR 85-1 WAS PROMULGATED BY THE AIR FORCE IN
 1972, THERE WAS IN EFFECT BETWEEN LAUGHLIN AND AFGE A COLLECTIVE
 BARGAINING AGREEMENT OF NOVEMBER 16, 1971.  ALTHOUGH THE EVIDENCE
 INTRODUCED DOES NOT SHOW IT, AFGE'S "FINAL BRIEF" STATES, NO DOUBT
 CORRECTLY, THAT THE 1971 AGREEMENT EXPIRED IN NOVEMBER 1973, BUT WAS
 EXTENDED UNTIL THE 1974 AGREEMENT CAME INTO EFFECT.  IT WAS STIPULATED
 THAT AT THE TIME THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM WAS CHANGED THE 1974 AGREEMENT WAS
 IN EFFECT.
 
    ASSUMING, ARGUENDO, THAT THE CHANGE OF THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM AFFECTED
 WORKING CONDITIONS, THERE IS SOME QUESTION WHETHER THESE TELEPHONES
 COULD HAVE BEEN CHANGED WITHOUT NEGOTIATION DURING THE LIFE OF THE 1971
 AGREEMENT.  BUT IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT WHEN THAT AGREEMENT EXPIRED, AND
 THE 1974 AGREEMENT CAME INTO BEING, THE 1972 AFR 85-1 BECAME OPERATIVE.
 THE LABOR RELATIONS COUNCIL HAS SO HELD IN ITS DECISION IN DEPARTMENT OF
 THE TREASURY AND NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION ISSUED ON MARCH 17,
 1978 (FLRC NOS. 77A-40 AND 77A-92):
 
    . . . (T)HOSE AGENCY REGULATIONS ISSUED DURING THE TERM OF AN
 AGREEMENT AND WHICH WERE NOT
 
    OPERATIVE WITH RESPECT TO THE BARGAINING UNIT DURING SUCH TERM BECOME
 EFFECTIVE UPON THE
 
    EXPIRATION OF THAT AGREEMENT.  SUCH A RESULT IS MANDATED BY SECTION
 12(A) OF THE ORDER, WHICH,
 
    AS EXPLAINED IN THE REPORT ACCOMPANYING THE ORDER, REQUIRES THAT "'AN
 AGREEMENT MUST BE
 
    BROUGHT INTO CONFORMANCE WITH CURRENT AGENCY POLICIES AND REGULATIONS
 AT THE TIME IT IS
 
    RENEGOTIATED OR BEFORE IT IS EXTENDED, EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIC
 EXCEPTIONS ARE GRANTED OR
 
    RENEWED.'"
 
    NO EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED SHOWING THAT AFR 85-1 WAS EXCEPTED FROM
 THIS AUTOMATIC INCORPORATION INTO THE 1974 AGREEMENT.  THUS AFR 85-1
 BECAME OPERATIVE AT LAUGHLIN AT THE TIME THE 1974 AGREEMENT WAS ENTERED
 INTO AND THEREFORE RESPONDENT WAS NOT REQUIRED TO MEET AND CONFER WITH
 AFGE BEFORE IT BEGAN CARRYING OUT THE MANDATE OF AFR 85-1.
 
    RESPONDENT ALSO ARGUES THAT SINCE SEC. 12(B) OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER
 LEFT LAUGHLIN FREE TO "MAINTAIN THE EFFICIENCY OF (ITS) OPERATIONS" AND
 "TO DETERMINE THE METHODS (AND) MEANS . . . " BY WHICH TO DO IT, IT
 COULD SWITCH OVER TO THE PRESUMABLY MORE EFFICIENT CONTROLLER SYSTEM OF
 WORK AND COMMUNICATIONS WITHOUT NEGOTIATING ABOUT IT WITH THE UNION.  I
 AGREE WITH THIS CONTENTION.  SECTIONS 12(B)(4) AND (5) CLEARLY PERMIT
 LAUGHLIN TO CHANGE ITS METHODS OR MEANS OF CARRYING ON ITS OPERATIONS
 WITHOUT HAVING TO FIRST BARGAIN WITH LABOR UNIONS ABOUT SUCH CHANGES.
 THE CHANGE TO THE CONTROLLER SYSTEM AND THE ATTENDANT CHANGE OF THE
 TELEPHONE SYSTEM HERE IN ISSUE WAS A CHANGE IN METHOD OF OPERATIONS AND
 LAUGHLIN NEED NOT HAVE BARGAINED ABOUT IT BEFOREHAND WITH THE UNION.
 
    IT APPEARS ALSO THAT THE CHANGE OF THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM WAS A PART OF
 "THE TECHNOLOGY OF PERFORMING (LAUGHLIN'S) WORK,' WHICH CHANGE IS
 EXEMPTED FROM THE DUTY TO NEGOTIATE BY SEC. 11(B) OF THE EXECUTIVE
 ORDER.
 
    RESPONDENT CONCEDES THAT IT HAD THE DUTY TO NEGOTIATE OVER IMPACT AND
 IMPLEMENTATION OF AFR 85-1, BUT ASSERTS THAT IT FULFILLED THAT
 OBLIGATION.
 
    ABOUT A MONTH AFTER THE TELEPHONE CHANGE ON NOVEMBER 15, 1977, THERE
 WAS A MEETING BETWEEN THE PARTIES TO DISCUSS THE PROBLEMS CREATED BY THE
 CHANGE.  THESE PROBLEMS INCLUDED INTERFERENCE ON THE TELEPHONE LINES,
 FREQUENT BUSY SIGNALS, INABILITY TO RECEIVE OFF-BASE EMERGENCY CALLS
 FROM THE EMPLOYEES' FAMILIES, AVAILABILITY OF INSTRUMENTS ON WHICH
 EMPLOYEES COULD CALL OFF-BASE, INABILITY OF THE SEVERAL UNION OFFICIALS
 TO TELEPHONE ONE ANOTHER, AND AN INEFFICIENT SYSTEM OF HANDLING
 TELEPHONE MESSAGES.  AFTER THESE DISCUSSIONS LAUGHLIN OFFERED TO INSTALL
 A "TELEPATCHER" SYSTEM, I.E., FACILITIES ENABLING THE CENTRAL
 SWITCHBOARD TO CONNECT THE CALLER TO ANY OTHER INSTRUMENT ON OR
 OFF-BASE, AND TO PROVIDE A MEANS OF HANDLING EMERGENCY CALLS AND
 MESSAGES.
 
    ALTHOUGH THE PARTIES WERE TO MEET AGAIN BY MID-DECEMBER, THEY DID NO
 FORMALLY DISCUSS THE SUBJECT AGAIN UNTIL JANUARY 5, 1978.  EACH SIDE
 BLAMES THE OTHER FOR THE DELAYS.  THE RECORD IS NOT CLEAR WHICH SIDE, IF
 EITHER, OR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON, SHOULD BE BLAMED FOR THE TWENTY-DAY
 DELAY.  IN ANY EVENT, SOMETIME IN EARLY 1978, THE TELEPATCHER EQUIPMENT
 WAS INSTALLED, AND PROCEDURES WERE WORKED OUT WHEREUNDER ANY CALLER,
 WHETHER ON OR OFF-BASE, WHO STATED THAT IT WAS AN EMERGENCY, WOULD BE
 CONNECTED WITH THE DESIRED TELEPHONE INSTRUMENT OR PERSON.
 
    AFGE FILED THIS ACTION BECAUSE IT CONTINUES TO BE DISSATISFIED WITH
 THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM CLAIMING THAT IT MAKES FOR MUCH SLOWER
 COMMUNICATIONS WHICH INTERFERES WITH EFFICIENT HANDLING OF UNION
 BUSINESS, THAT EMPLOYEES CANNOT CONVENIENTLY CALL OFF-BASE DURING
 BREAKS, AND THAT THE MESSAGES COMING FROM THE SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR ARE
 INEFFICIENTLY DELIVERED.
 
    IN AN AGE OF ALMOST INSTANT COMMUNICATIONS IT DOES SEEM THAT THE NEW
 TELEPHONE SYSTEM, AT LEAST INITIALLY, LEFT MUCH TO BE DESIRED.  THE
 CONTROLLER WHOSE FUNCTION IS AKIN TO THAT OF A DISPATCHER, ALSO OPERATES
 THE CENTRAL SWITCHBOARD.  AND ALTHOUGH THERE ARE TWO CONTROLLERS ON
 DUTY, THEIR NON-TELEPHONE MINDING DUTIES KEEP THEM SO BUSY AS TO CAUSE
 THE OPERATION OF THE SWITCHBOARD TO BE LESS THAN OPTIMAL.  THE NEW
 SYSTEM ALSO HAS CONSIDERABLE NOISE ON THE LINES.  BUT HOWEVER POOR A
 TELEPHONE SYSTEM IT MAY BE, IT MAY HAVE BROUGHT ABOUT SOME OTHER
 EFFICIENCIES DESIRED BY LAUGHLIN.  IN ANY CASE, THE QUALITY OF THE NEW
 TELEPHONE SYSTEM IS NOT IN ISSUE.  THE ISSUE BEFORE ME IS WHETHER
 LAUGHLIN COMMITTED AN UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE BY FAILING TO NEGOTIATE
 ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE CHANGE PRIOR TO MAKING THE CHANGE, BUT DOING SO
 SOME THIRTY DAYS LATE.
 
    ADMITTEDLY LAUGHLIN SHOULD HAVE CONFERRED WITH THE UNION ABOUT THE
 IMPACT BEFORE IT DID.  BUT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE TARDINESS WAS
 OTHER THAN INADVERTANT OR THAT IT WAS MOTIVATED BY ANY ILL WILL TOWARDS
 THE UNION OR BY BAD FAITH.  A UNION OFFICIAL WAS ONE OF THE PLANNERS OF
 THE CHANGE AND IT DOES NOT SEEM UNREASONABLE FOR LAUGHLIN TO HAVE
 ASSUMED THAT THE UNION WAS AWARE OF THE IMPENDING CHANGE.
 
    WHEN MANAGEMENT DID LEARN OF THE UNION'S UNHAPPINESS IT DID MEET AND
 CONFER WITH THE UNION.  NOT ONLY DID LAUGHLIN NEGOTIATE ABOUT THE
 IMPACT, BUT IT HAS SUBSTANTIALLY MODIFIED THE TELEPHONE SYSTEM AND THE
 EMERGENCY CALL PROCEDURES TO MEET THE UNION'S OBJECTIONS.  THAT LAUGHLIN
 DID SO SOMEWHAT TARDILY IS AT MOST A TECHNICAL VIOLATION OF THE
 EXECUTIVE ORDER, AND IN MY VIEW, DE MINIMUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF
 VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE V. LOCAL UNION 1001 NFFE, 3 FLRC 492, FLRC NO.
 74A-77.  THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT LAUGHLIN'S DISCUSSIONS WITH THE
 UNION ABOUT IMPACT WERE OTHER THAN IN GOOD FAITH.  WHILE THE RESULTS
 WERE NOT SATISFACTORY TO THE UNION, THE EXECUTIVE ORDER DID NOT IMPOSE
 ON LAUGHLIN THE DUTY TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE TO THE UNION'S SATISFACTION.
  ALL THE ORDER REQUIRES IS THAT LAUGHLIN MEET WITH THE UNION AND CONFER
 IN GOOD FAITH, AND I FIND THAT LAUGHLIN DID DO THAT.
 
    THE UNION PLACES MUCH EMPHASIS ON THE POINT THAT THE NEW TELEPHONE
 SYSTEM HAMPERS THE VARIOUS UNION OFFICIALS IN CARRYING OUT THEIR LAWFUL
 UNION FUNCTIONS.  BUT I FIND NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PROPOSITION THAT
 LAUGHLIN IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE THE UNION'S OFFICIALS A MORE EFFICIENT
 TELEPHONE SYSTEM THAN THE ONE LAUGHLIN USES TO CONDUCT ITS BUSINESS.  IN
 THE ABSENCE OF DELIBERATE EFFORT TO INTERFERE WITH UNION ACTIVITIES, OF
 WHICH THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SHOWING, THE UNION CANNOT COMPLAIN UNDER
 THE EXECUTIVE ORDER MERELY BECAUSE THE OLD SYSTEM PERMITTED A MORE
 EXPEDITIOUS HANDLING OF ITS BUSINESS.
 
    ACCORDINGLY, I FIND NO SIGNIFICANT VIOLATION OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER
 BY RESPONDENT AND CONCLUDE THAT THE COMPLAINT MUST BE DISMISSED IN ITS
 ENTIRETY.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED, THE FEDERAL LABOR
 RELATIONS AUTHORITY HEREBY ORDERS THAT THE COMPLAINT IN THIS MATTER BE
 DISMISSED IN ITS ENTIRETY.
 
    SO ORDERED THIS THE 25TH DAY OF JANUARY, 1979, IN SAN FRANCISCO,
 CALIFORNIA.