United States Air Force, 2750th Air Base Wing Headquarters, Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio and Wright-Patterson AFB Fire Fighters Local F-88, International Association Of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO (Labor Organization)

 



[ v07 p738 ]
07:0738(118)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 7 FLRA No. 118
 
 UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
 2750TH AIR BASE WING HEADQUARTERS
 AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND
 WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OHIO
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB FIRE FIGHTERS
 LOCAL F-88, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
 OF FIRE FIGHTERS, AFL-CIO
 Labor Organization
 
                                            Case No. 5-CA-376
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY PURSUANT TO THE REGIONAL
 DIRECTOR'S "ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE TO THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY" IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2429.1(A) OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES
 AND REGULATIONS (5 CFR 2429.1(A)).
 
    UPON CONSIDERATION OF THE ENTIRE RECORD IN THIS CASE, INCLUDING THE
 PARTIES' STIPULATION OF FACTS, ACCOMPANYING EXHIBITS AND BRIEFS
 SUBMITTED BY THE RESPONDENT AND THE GENERAL COUNSEL, AND AN AMICUS BRIEF
 SUBMITTED BY THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (OPM), THE AUTHORITY
 FINDS:
 
    WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB FIRE FIGHTERS, LOCAL F-88, INTERNATIONAL
 ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS, AFL-CIO (THE UNION) IS THE EXCLUSIVE
 REPRESENTATIVE OF A BARGAINING UNIT OF FIREFIGHTERS WHO ARE EMPLOYEES OF
 THE 2750TH AIR BASE WING HEADQUARTERS, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OHIO (THE
 RESPONDENT).  THE UNION IS ALSO THE EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE OF A UNIT
 OF NON-SUPERVISORY GENERAL SCHEDULE (GS) FIREFIGHTERS AND INSPECTORS
 EMPLOYED BY THE DEFENSE ELECTRONICS SUPPLY CENTER, DAYTON, OHIO (DESC).
 /1/
 
    JOHN M. GIBBS, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNION, AND MICHAEL E. LUDWICK,
 THE UNION'S CHIEF NEGOTIATOR IN CONTRACT BARGAINING WITH DESC, ARE BOTH
 EMPLOYEES OF THE RESPONDENT.  ON OR ABOUT JANUARY 24, 1980, THE UNION
 REQUESTED THAT THE RESPONDENT GRANT OFFICIAL TIME TO GIBBS AND LUDWICK
 FOR THE TIME THEY WOULD BE ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATING A COLLECTIVE
 BARGAINING AGREEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE UNION WITH DESC.  THE RESPONDENT
 DENIED THE REQUEST.
 
    THE GENERAL COUNSEL ISSUED A COMPLAINT ALLEGING THAT THE RESPONDENT
 VIOLATED SECTION 7116(A)(1) AND (8) OF THE STATUTE /2/ BY REFUSING TO
 GRANT OFFICIAL TIME TO TWO OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHILE THEY WERE ENGAGED IN
 NEGOTIATING A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNION AND
 DESC.  THE ALLEGATION IS THAT THE RESPONDENT'S REFUSAL TO GRANT OFFICIAL
 TIME UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES IS CONTRARY TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF
 SECTION 7131(A) OF THE STATUTE.  /3/ THE QUESTION STIPULATED BY THE
 PARTIES IS "WHETHER RESPONDENT IS REQUIRED BY (SECTION) 7131(A) TO GRANT
 OFFICIAL TIME TO UNION NEGOTIATORS LUDWICK AND GIBBS, ITS EMPLOYEES,
 WHILE THEY ARE ENGAGED IN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE DEFENSE
 ELECTRONICS SUPPLY CENTER, DAYTON, OHIO."
 
    THE GENERAL COUNSEL CONTENDS THAT SECTION 7131(A) "CLEARLY PROVIDES
 OFFICIAL TIME FOR ANY EMPLOYEE AS LONG AS THE EMPLOYEE IS REPRESENTING
 THE UNION IN BARGAINING UNDER THE STATUTE." IN THIS REGARD, THE GENERAL
 COUNSEL ASSERTS THAT THERE IS NO INDICATION IN THE STATUTE OR ITS
 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THAT CONGRESS INTENDED TO LIMIT THE APPLICATION OF
 SECTION 7131(A) ONLY TO THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE THE UNION REPRESENTATIVE
 IS NEGOTIATING AN AGREEMENT WITH THE AGENCY WHICH EMPLOYS THE
 REPRESENTATIVE.  ON THE OTHER HAND, THE RESPONDENT, AND OPM AS AMICUS,
 CONTEND THAT SECTION 7131(A), WHEN READ IN THE CONTEXT OF THE STATUTE AS
 A WHOLE, MUST BE INTERPRETED TO AUTHORIZE OFFICIAL TIME ONLY FOR THOSE
 EMPLOYEES REPRESENTING AN EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE IN COLLECTIVE
 BARGAINING AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE BARGAINING UNIT
 FOR WHICH THE AGREEMENT IS SOUGHT.  THE RESPONDENT AND OPM ASSERT THAT
 ADOPTION OF AN INTERPRETATION THAT DOES NOT LIMIT OFFICIAL TIME
 ENTITLEMENT TO EMPLOYEES IN THE BARGAINING UNIT WOULD BE INCONSISTENT
 WITH THE STATUTE AND ITS PURPOSES.
 
    AS SET FORTH IN N. 3, SUPRA, SECTION 7131(A) OF THE STATUTE REQUIRES
 THAT AN EMPLOYEE REPRESENTING AN EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE IN THE
 NEGOTIATION OF A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT UNDER THE STATUTE BE
 AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL TIME FOR SUCH PURPOSES DURING THE TIME THE EMPLOYEE
 OTHERWISE WOULD BE IN A DUTY STATUS.  NEITHER THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION
 7131(A) NOR ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY INDICATES THAT CONGRESS DEFINITIVELY
 ADDRESSED THE MATTER HERE IN ISSUE.  HOWEVER, WHEN READ IN CONJUNCTION
 WITH OTHER RELATED PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE AND IN SUCH A MANNER AS TO
 EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSES OF THE STATUTE, IT IS CLEAR THAT SECTION 7131(A)
 CANNOT BE INTERPRETED TO REQUIRE RESPONDENT IN THIS CASE TO GRANT
 OFFICIAL TIME TO TWO OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHILE THEY ARE ENGAGED IN
 COLLECTIVE BARGAINING NEGOTIATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE UNION WITH DESC.
 
    SECTION 7131(A) MUST, OF COURSE, BE CONSTRUED IN A MANNER CONSISTENT
 WITH THE OVERALL SCHEME OF THE STATUTE.  THAT SCHEME DEMONSTRATES THAT
 CONGRESS INTENDED COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UNDER THE STATUTE TO OPERATE
 WITHIN A FRAMEWORK OF APPROPRIATE BARGAINING UNITS IN WHICH EMPLOYEES,
 THROUGH THEIR EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE, CAN PARTICIPATE IN DECISIONS
 WHICH AFFECT THEM.  THUS, SECTION 7103(A)(12) DEFINES "COLLECTIVE
 BARGAINING" AS:
 
    (T)HE PERFORMANCE OF THE MUTUAL OBLIGATION OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OF
 AN AGENCY AND THE
 
    EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE OF EMPLOYEES IN AN APPROPRIATE UNIT IN THE
 AGENCY TO MEET AT
 
    REASONABLE TIMES AND TO CONSULT AND BARGAIN IN A GOOD-FAITH EFFORT TO
 REACH AGREEMENT WITH
 
    RESPECT TO THE CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT AFFECTING SUC