General Services Administration, Region 9, Federal Protective Service Division, San Francisco, California (Respondent) and International Federation of Federal Police, Local 41 (Complainant) 

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[ v03 p153 ]
03:0153(22)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 3 FLRA No. 22
 
 GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION,
 REGION 9, FEDERAL PROTECTIVE
 SERVICE DIVISION
 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF
 FEDERAL POLICE, LOCAL 41
 Complainant
 
                                            Assistant Secretary
                                            Case No. 70-6535(CA)
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE IN THE ABOVE ENTITLED PROCEEDING ISSUED
 HIS RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER FINDING THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD
 ENGAGED IN CERTAIN UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES IN VIOLATION OF SEC. 19(A)(1)
 OF THE ORDER AND RECOMMENDING THAT IT CEASE AND DESIST THEREFROM AND
 TAKE CERTAIN AFFIRMATIVE ACTIONS AS SET FORTH IN THE ATTACHED
 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER.  THE
 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE ALSO FOUND THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD NOT ENGAGED
 IN CERTAIN OTHER ALLEGED UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES AND RECOMMENDED THAT
 THOSE PORTIONS OF THE COMPLAINT BE DISMISSED.  EXCEPTIONS WERE FILED TO
 THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER.
 
    THE FUNCTIONS OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR
 LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS, UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED,
 WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE AUTHORITY UNDER SEC.  304 OF REORGANIZATION PLAN
 NO. 2 OF 1978 (43 F.R. 36040), WHICH TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS IS
 IMPLEMENTED BY SEC. 2400.2 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS (45
 F.R. 3482, JANUARY 17, 1980).  THE AUTHORITY CONTINUES TO BE RESPONSIBLE
 FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE FUNCTIONS AS PROVIDED IN SEC.  7135(B) OF
 THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE (92 STAT. 1215).
 
    THEREFORE, PURSUANT TO SEC. 2400.2 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND
 REGULATIONS AND SEC. 7135(B) OF THE STATUTE, THE AUTHORITY HAS REVIEWED
 THE RULINGS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE MADE AT THE HEARING AND
 FINDS THAT NO PREJUDICIAL ERROR WAS COMMITTED.  THE RULINGS ARE HEREBY
 AFFIRMED.  UPON CONSIDERATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S
 RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER AND THE ENTIRE RECORD IN THE SUBJECT
 CASE, INCLUDING THE EXCEPTIONS FILED BY THE PARTIES, THE AUTHORITY
 HEREBY ADOPTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND
 RECOMMENDATION ONLY TO THE EXTENT CONSISTENT HEREWITH.
 
    AS MORE FULLY SET FORTH IN THE ATTACHED RECOMMENDED DECISION AND
 ORDER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE (ALJ) CONCLUDED THAT THE ACTIVITY
 DID NOT VIOLATE SEC. 19(A)(1) OF THE ORDER BY INTERROGATING EMPLOYEES
 CONCERNING ALLEGED STATEMENTS MADE BY THE ACTIVITY'S SUPERVISOR AT A
 UNION MEETING.  IN THIS REGARD, THE ALJ FOUND THAT THE ACTIVITY STRICTLY
 LIMITED THE INQUIRY TO THE SUPERVISOR'S STATEMENTS, AND PROVIDED
 SUFFICIENT SAFEGUARDS AND ADEQUATE ASSURANCE TO THE AFFECTED EMPLOYEES
 THAT PURGED THE ACTION OF ANY UNLAWFUL CONNOTATIONS.  HOWEVER, HE FOUND
 VIOLATIVE OF SEC. 19(A)(1) AN ACTIVITY DIRECTIVE WHICH RESTRICTED THE
 USE OF LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY WHEN REQUESTED FOR UNION ACTIVITY.  IN THIS
 REGARD, THE ALJ CONCLUDED THAT ANY POLICY WHICH SINGLED OUT UNION
 ACTIVITY AS AN UNACCEPTABLE REASON FOR GRANTING LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY
 CONSTITUTED AN IMPERMISSIBLE LIMITATION ON THE RIGHTS PROVIDED FOR AND
 PROTECTED BY THE ORDER.
 
    CONTRARY TO THE CONCLUSION OF THE ALJ, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT THE
 ACTIVITY VIOLATED SEC. 19(A)(1) OF THE ORDER BY ITS ACTION IN
 INTERROGATING EMPLOYEES CONCERNING STATEMENTS ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE
 AT A UNION MEETING BY A SUPERVISOR.  IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED UNDER THE
 EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT INTERROGATION OF EMPLOYEES CONCERNING THEIR
 PARTICIPATION IN PROTECTED ACTIVITIES /1/ AND SPECIFICALLY INTERROGATION
 OF AN EMPLOYEE CONCERNING A UNION MEETING IS VIOLATIVE OF SEC. 19(A)(1)
 OF THE ORDER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, BUREAU OF HEARINGS AND
 APPEALS, 7 A/SLMR 1040, A/SLMR NO. 945(1977).  AN EXCEPTION TO THIS
 GENERAL RULE UNDER THE EXECUTIVE ORDER WAS RECOGNIZED IN GENERAL
 SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, REGION 10, AUBURN, WASHINGTON, 8 A/SLMR 192,
 A/SLMR NO. 985(1978).  THAT EXCEPTION PERTAINED TO EMPLOYEE
 INTERROGATION AS TO THE UNLAWFUL REMOVAL AND SUBSEQUENT DISCLOSURE AT A
 UNION MEETING OF CONFIDENTIAL AGENCY DOCUMENTS.  IN THAT CASE THE
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY HELD THAT THE INTERROGATION OF AN EMPLOYEE
 CONCERNING THE IDENTITY OF THOSE ATTENDING A UNION MEETING WAS LAWFUL
 WHERE THE INTERROGATION WAS CONDUCTED BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
 AGENCY'S OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS PURSUANT TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE
 INVESTIGATION TO DETERMINE HOW A CONFIDENTIAL AGENCY DOCUMENT HAD BEEN
 REMOVED FROM THE AGENCY FILES AND DISCLOSED AT THE UNION MEETING, AND
 THE PERSON INTERROGATED WAS ASSURED THAT THIS WAS THE ONLY PURPOSE OF
 THE INTERROGATION.
 
    IN THE SUBJECT CASE, HOWEVER, THE AUTHORITY CONCLUDES THAT THE
 STATEMENTS ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY A SUPERVISOR AT THE UNION
 MEETING ARE NOT OF SUCH A NATURE AS WOULD JUSTIFY MANAGEMENT'S ACTIONS
 HEREIN.  THE AUTHORITY DOES NOT INTEND TO BELITTLE THE SERIOUSNESS OF
 THE SUPERVISOR'S ALLEGED STATEMENTS, OR THE CONCERN OF ACTIVITY
 MANAGEMENT WITH RESPECT TO SUCH ALLEGATIONS, NOR TO INDICATE CONDONATION
 MERELY BECAUSE THEY OCCURRED AT A UNION MEETING.  RATHER, IT IS THE
 AUTHORITY'S VIEW THAT ONLY THE MOST SERIOUS OF CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD
 JUSTIFY INTERROGATING EMPLOYEES CONCERNING ACTIVITIES AT A UNION
 MEETING.  MOREOVER, IT IS THE AUTHORITY'S VIEW THAT IN THE SUBJECT CASE
 THERE WERE ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF ACTION WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY
 THE ACTIVITY, OTHER THAN THE INTERROGATION OF EMPLOYEES, TO ASCERTAIN
 WHETHER OR NOT THE ALLEGED STATEMENTS WERE MADE, AND TO CORRECT THEM IF
 THEY HAD BEEN MADE.
 
    HOWEVER, IN AGREEMENT WITH THE ALJ, THE AUTHORITY CONCURS THAT,
 ALTHOUGH THE ACTIVITY HAS WIDE DISCRETION IN ADMINISTERING
 LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INSURING EFFICIENT OPERATIONS, IT
 CANNOT PRESCRIBE RULES WHICH INHIBIT, RESTRAIN OR COERCE EMPLOYEES IN
 THE EXERCISE OF PROTECTED RIGHTS.  /2/
 
                                   ORDER
 
    PURSUANT TO SEC. 2400.2 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE FEDERAL
 LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND SEC. 7135(B) OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE
 LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE, THE AUTHORITY HEREBY ORDERS THAT THE
 GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, REGION 9, FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE
 DIVISION, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA SHALL:
 
    1.  CEASE AND DESIST FROM:
 
    (A) INTERROGATING ITS EMPLOYEES ABOUT STATEMENTS MADE AND/OR EVENTS
 OCCURRING AT UNION MEETINGS.
 
    (B) UTILIZING MEMBERSHIP IN, AND/OR ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF, LOCAL
 41, INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION