Decision on Request for General Statement of Policy or Guidance

 



[ v03 p233 ]
03:0233(33)PS
The decision of the Authority follows:


 3 FLRA No. 33
 
                                            Case No. 0-PS-14
 
          DECISION ON REQUEST FOR GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY OR
                                 GUIDANCE
 
    THE AUTHORITY RECEIVED A REQUEST FROM THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES (NFFE) THAT THE AUTHORITY ISSUE A MAJOR POLICY
 DETERMINATION CONCERNING, IN EFFECT, THE PROPRIETY OF AN AGENCY
 RECOUPING AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO UNION DUES ERRONEOUSLY DEDUCTED FROM A
 SUPERVISOR'S PAY.
 
    ACCORDING TO NFFE'S SUBMISSION, THE REQUEST ARISES FROM THE SITUATION
 PRESENTLY FACED BY SOME NFFE LOCALS WHEREIN AN EMPLOYEE, FORMERLY A
 BARGAINING UNIT MEMBER PAYING UNION DUES THROUGH A WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT
 AUTHORIZING THE AGENCY TO DEDUCT THE DUES FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S PAY, HAS
 BEEN PROMOTED TO A SUPERVISORY POSITION AND THE AGENCY DOES NOT
 IMMEDIATELY TERMINATE SUCH EMPLOYEE'S DUES ASSIGNMENT.  NFFE CLAIMS THE
 CURRENT PRACTICE IS THAT AFTER THE AGENCY DISCOVERS ITS OVERSIGHT, IT
 TERMINATES THE SUPERVISOR'S UNION DUES ASSIGNMENT, REFUNDS ALL DUES
 WITHHELD TO THE SUPERVISOR SINCE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS OR HER
 PROMOTION, AND THEN RECOUPS AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE DUES REFUNDED FROM
 THE NFFE LOCAL.  IN ADDITION, NFFE CLAIMS THAT IN MANY CASES, THE
 SUPERVISOR IN QUESTION HAS NOT REQUESTED A REFUND OF THE UNION DUES AND
 HAS RECEIVED SERVICES FROM THE NFFE LOCAL IN EXCHANGE FOR THE DUES.
 FURTHER, NFFE CLAIMS THAT RECOUPING UNION DUES ERRONEOUSLY DEDUCTED FROM
 SUPERVISORS' PAY BY AGENCIES HAS RESULTED IN FINANCIAL INSTABILITY FOR
 MANY NFFE LOCALS, WHICH, IN TURN, HAS AFFECTED THE ABILITY OF THESE
 LOCALS TO PERFORM THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES AS THE EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE
 OF EMPLOYEES.
 
    IN THIS CONTEXT, NFFE ASKS THE AUTHORITY TO ISSUE A MAJOR POLICY
 DETERMINATION PROHIBITING THE REFUNDING OF DUES ERRONEOUSLY DEDUCTED
 FROM A SUPERVISOR'S PAY AND PROHIBITING THE RECOUPMENT OF THE DUES FROM
 THE LOCAL UNION.  IN ADDITION, NFFE REQUESTS THAT AGENCIES BE REQUIRED
 TO REFUND TO THE LOCAL UNIONS AMOUNTS RECOUPED SINCE THE PASSAGE OF THE
 FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE.
 
    THE AUTHORITY HAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THIS REQUEST AND HAS
 DETERMINED THAT IT DOES NOT SATISFY THE STANDARDS GOVERNING THE ISSUANCE
 OF GENERAL STATEMENTS OF POLICY AND GUIDANCE SET FORTH IN SECTION 2427.5
 OF THE RULES OF THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY, WHICH PROVIDES IN
 PERTINENT PART:
 
    SEC. 2427.5 STANDARDS GOVERNING ISSUANCE OF GENERAL STATEMENTS OF
 POLICY
 
    AND GUIDANCE.
 
    IN DECIDING WHETHER TO ISSUE A GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY OR
 GUIDANCE, THE AUTHORITY SHALL
 
    CONSIDER:
 
    (A) WHETHER THE QUESTION PRESENTED CAN MORE APPROPRIATELY BE RESOLVED
 BY OTHER MEANS;
 
    (B) WHERE OTHER MEANS ARE AVAILABLE, WHETHER AN AUTHORITY STATEMENT
 WOULD PREVENT THE
 
    PROLIFERATION OF CASES INVOLVING THE SAME OR SIMILAR QUESTION(.)
 
    THE MATTER RAISED IN THIS REQUEST FOR A MAJOR POLICY DETERMINATION
 CAN BE MORE APPROPRIATELY RESOLVED BY OTHER MEANS.  FOR EXAMPLE,
 PROCEDURES SET FORTH IN THE STATUTE AND APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS FOR THE
 RESOLUTION OF UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES PROVIDE A MECHANISM FOR THE
 ADJUDICATION OF ISSUES OF FACT WITH RESPECT TO THE VARIED CIRCUMSTANCES
 LIKELY TO BE PRESENT IN A SPECIFIC TERMINATION OF DUES ASSIGNMENT
 SITUATION.  /1/
 
    MOREOVER, AUTHORITY ACTION ON THIS REQUEST IS NOT WARRANTED SINCE IT
 WOULD NOT PREVENT THE PROLIFERATION OF CASES INVOLVING THE SAME OR A
 SIMILAR MATTER.  AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED, THE VARIED CIRCUMSTANCES
 LIKELY TO BE PRESENT IN A SPECIFIC TERMINATION OF DUES ASSIGNMENT
 SITUATION MAKE IT DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE TO RENDER A MEANINGFUL POLICY
 STATEMENT.  THE AUTHORITY WOULD BE COMPELLED TO ENGAGE IN CONJECTURE
 REGARDING THESE VARIED CIRCUMSTANCES AND IN SO DOING RUNS THE RISK OF
 CREATING MORE CASES THAN ISSUANCE OF A POLICY STATEMENT WOULD PREVENT.
 
    ACCORDINGLY, THE REQUEST FOR A MAJOR POLICY DETERMINATION IS DENIED.
 
    ISSUED, WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 21, 1980
 
                       RONALD W. HAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN
 
                       HENRY B. FRAZIER III, MEMBER