American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of Social Security Payment Center Locals (Union) and Social Security Administration, Office of Program Service Centers, Baltimore, Maryland (Agency)



[ v07 p818 ]
07:0818(139)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 7 FLRA No. 139
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL
 SECURITY PAYMENT CENTER LOCALS
 Union
 
 and
 
 SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION,
 OFFICE OF PROGRAM SERVICE CENTERS,
 BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
 Agency
 
                                            Case No. O-NG-297
 
                DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES
 
    THE PETITION FOR REVIEW IN THIS CASE COMES BEFORE THE FEDERAL LABOR
 RELATIONS AUTHORITY (THE AUTHORITY) PURSUANT TO SECTION 7105(A)(2)(E) OF
 THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE (THE STATUTE),
 AND RAISES THE ISSUE OF THE NEGOTIABILITY OF THE FOLLOWING SEVEN UNION
 PROPOSALS INVOLVING THE AGENCY'S IMPLEMENTATION OF A TERMINAL DIGITS
 WORK ASSIGNMENT METHOD WHEREBY CLAIMS CASES ARE ASSIGNED TO AUTHORIZERS
 BASED UPON THE LAST TWO DIGITS OF CLAIMANTS' SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS.
 UPON CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF THE ENTIRE RECORD, INCLUDING THE PARTIES'
 CONTENTIONS, THE AUTHORITY MAKES THE FOLLOWING DETERMINATIONS.
 
                      UNION PROPOSALS 2, 4 AND 5 /1/
 
    PROPOSAL 2 - INDIVIDUAL SCREENING PROCEDURES ARE TO BE UTILIZED
 UNLESS BOTH THE LOCAL AND
 
    PSC MANAGEMENT AGREE OTHERWISE.
 
    PROPOSAL 4 - UNION OFFICIALS, EEO COUNSELORS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN
 LIKE CIRCUMSTANCES MAY,
 
    AT THEIR OPTION, ELECT TO BE FLOATERS OR ASSIGNED A PROPORTIONATE
 DIGITAL RANGE BASED ON
 
    AVAILABLE WORK TIME.
 
    PROPOSAL 5 - AUTHORIZERS WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SEARCHING AND
 LOCATING FOLDERS EXCEPT
 
    ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL DESKS AND BACKLOGS.
 
    ALL THREE PROPOSALS WOULD PLACE RESTRICTIONS ON MANAGEMENT'S RIGHT TO
 ASSIGN WORK.  PROPOSAL 2 WOULD REQUIRE THE AGENCY TO ASSIGN WORK BASED
 ON THE INDIVIDUAL SCREENING METHOD AND WOULD CONDITION THE USE OF
 ANOTHER PROCEDURE ON THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT OF THE LOCAL UNION AND
 MANAGEMENT.  PROPOSAL 4 WOULD BE ASSIGNED.  PROPOSAL 5 WOULD CONDITION
 THE ASSIGNMENT OF A CERTAIN TYPE OF WORK-- SEARCHING AND LOCATING
 FOLDERS-- TO LIMITED INSTANCES WHEN FOLDERS ARE LOCATED ON AUTHORIZERS'
 DESKS OR IN THEIR BACKLOGS.  IN AGREEMENT WITH THE AGENCY, THE AUTHORITY
 FINDS THAT PROPOSALS SUCH AS THESE WHICH DIRECTLY INTERFERE WITH THE
 EXERCISE OF MANAGEMENT'S RIGHT TO ASSIGN WORK ARE INCONSISTENT WITH
 SECTION WITH SECTION 7106(A)(2)(B) OF THE STATUTE /2/ AND ARE,
 THEREFORE, OUTSIDE THE AGENCY'S DUTY TO BARGAIN.  SEE AMERICAN
 FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1331 AND DEPARTMENT
 OF AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE AND EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION, EASTERN REGIONAL
 RESEARCH CENTER, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, 4 FLRA NO. 2(1980) AND
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO AND AIR FORCE
 LOGISTICS COMMAND, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO, 2 FLRA
 604(1980), ENFORCED SUB NOM.  DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE V. FEDERAL LABOR
 RELATIONS AUTHORITY, 659 F.2D 1140 (D.C. CIR. 1981).
 
                             UNION PROPOSAL 3
 
    DIGITAL RANGES ARE TO BE ASSIGNED IN AN EQUITABLE FASHION TO INSURE
 EACH EMPLOYEE IS
 
    TREATED FAIRLY. STAFF SHORTAGES SHOULD NOT BE USED TO IMPOSE
 INEQUITABLE RANGES ON UNIT
 
    EMPLOYEES.
 
    THE LANGUAGE OF THIS PROPOSAL WOULD SIMPLY REQUIRE THAT, GIVEN THE
 AGENCY'S DECISION TO IMPLEMENT THE USE OF TERMINAL DIGITS, THE
 ASSIGNMENT OF DIGITAL RANGES WILL BE MADE IN AN EQUITABLE FASHION.
 NEITHER THE UNION'S INTENT WITH RESPECT TO THE PROPOSAL AS STATED IN THE
 RECORD BEFORE THE AUTHORITY NOR THE LITERAL LANGUAGE OF THE PROPOSAL
 ITSELF REQUIRES THE CONSTRUCTION ASCRIBED TO IT BY THE AGENCY:  I.E.,
 THAT AN EQUAL NUMBER OF TERMINAL DIGITS WOULD HAVE TO BE ASSIGNED TO
 EACH EMPLOYEE.  BY SPECIFYING THAT DIGITAL RANGES WILL BE ASSIGNED IN AN
 EQUITABLE MANNER, THE UNION'S PROPOSAL CONSTITUTES A NEGOTIABLE
 PROCEDURE UNDER SECTION 7106(B)(2) OF THE STATUTE /3/ BY WHICH THE
 AGENCY WOULD EXERCISE ITS RETAINED RIGHT TO ASSIGN WORK THROUGH THE USE
 OF DIGITAL RANGES AND THUS FALLS WITHIN THE AGENCY'S DUTY TO BARGAIN.
 SEE ASSOCIATION OF CIVILIAN TECHNICIANS AND STATE OF GEORGIA NATIONAL
 GUARD, 2 FLRA 581(1980).  /4/
 
                          UNION PROPOSALS 6 AND 7
 
    PROPOSAL 6 - HIGH OR LOW PRODUCTIVITY IS NOT TO BE DETERMINED BY THE
 SIZE OF BACKLOGS.
 
    PROPOSAL 7 - EMPLOYEE EVALUATIONS MUST NOT BE PREDICATED ON SIZE OF
 BACKLOGS.
 
    IN NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION AND DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY,
 BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT, 3 FLRA NO. 119(1980), APPEAL DOCKETED, NO.
 81-1895 (D.C. CIR. AUGUST 4, 1980), THE AUTHORITY HELD THAT A PROPOSAL
 WHICH WOULD HAVE IDENTIFIED A PARTICULAR CRITICAL ELEMENT OF A POSITION
 AND ESTABLISHED THE STANDARD OF PERFORMANCE FOR THAT ELEMENT WAS OUTSIDE
 THE DUTY TO BARGAIN BECAUSE IT WAS INCONSISTENT WITH MANAGEMENT'S
 STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO DIRECT ITS EMPLOYEES AND ASSIGN WORK UNDER
 SECTION 7106(A)(2)(A) AND (B) OF THE STATUTE.  /5/ ACCORDING TO THE
 RECORD BEFORE THE AUTHORITY, THE PROPOSALS HERE WOULD PREVENT THE AGENCY
 FROM EVALUATING EMPLOYEES ON THE BASIS OF THE SIZE OF THEIR RESPECTIVE
 BACKLOGS.  BY IN EFFECT ELIMINATING THE SIZE OF BACKLOGS AS AN ELEMENT
 IN THE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL, AND FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH IN GREATER
 DETAIL IN BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT, SUPRA, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT
 PROPOSALS 6 AND 7 DIRECTLY INTERFERE WITH THE AGENCY'S RIGHTS TO DIRECT
 EMPLOYEES AND ASSIGN WORK UNDER SECTION 7106(A)(2)(A) AND (B) OF THE
 STATUTE AND THEREFORE ARE OUTSIDE THE AGENCY'S DUTY TO BARGAIN.
 
                             UNION PROPOSAL 8
 
    AUDIT PROCEDURES ARE TO BE EQUITABLE AND FAIR, DETECT TRENDS AND
 FURNISH WAYS OF IMPROVING
 
    WORK PERFORMANCE BY BETTER TRAINING METHODS.
 
    BASED UPON THE RECORD WITH REGARD TO THIS PROPOSAL, IT IS CLEAR THAT
 THE ESSENCE OF THE CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES PRINCIPALLY RELATES TO
 WHETHER THE AGENCY'S DECISION TO IMPLEMENT TERMINAL DIGITS CHANGED OR
 AFFECTED EXISTING AUDIT PROCEDURES SO AS TO GIVE RISE TO AN OBLIGATION
 TO BARGAIN UNDER THE STATUTE.
 
    THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREIN DO NOT GIVE RISE TO A NEGOTIABILITY DISPUTE
 WHICH THE AUTHORITY MAY PROPERLY REVIEW AT THIS TIME PURSUANT TO SECTION
 7117 OF THE STATUTE.  THUS, IT APPEARS THAT THE ESSENCE OF THE DISPUTE
 BETWEEN THE PARTIES CONCERNS THE QUESTION OF THE AGENCY'S OBLIGATION TO
 BARGAIN AND NOT THE NEGOTIABILITY OF THE PARTICULAR PROPOSALS INVOLVED.
 IT IS NOW WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE PROPER FORUM IN WHICH TO RESOLVE
 SUCH A QUESTION IS NOT A NEGOTIABILITY CASE BUT, RATHER, AN UNFAIR LABOR
 PRACTICE PROCEEDING PURSUANT TO SECTION 7118 OF THE STATUTE AND PART
 2423 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS.  SEE, E.G., AMERICAN
 FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 32 AND OFFICE OF
 PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C., 6 FLRA NO. 15(1981), AND CASES
 CITED THEREIN.
 
    ACCORDINGLY, PURSUANT TO SECTION 2424.10 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND
 REGULATIONS (5 CFR 2424.10(1981)), IT IS ORDERED THAT THE UNION'S
 PETITION FOR REVIEW AS TO PROPOSALS 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 AND 8 BE, AND IT
 HEREBY IS, DISMISSED.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT THE AGENCY SHALL UPON
 REQUEST (OR AS OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY THE PARTIES) BARGAIN CONCERNING
 PROPOSAL 3.
 
    ISSUED, WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 29, 1982
 
                       RONALD W. HAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN
 
                       HENRY B. FRAZIER III, MEMBER
 
                        LEON B. APPLEWHAITE, MEMBER
 
                     FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES: ---------------
 
 
    /1/ UNION PROPOSAL 1 IS NO LONGER IN DISPUTE.
 
    /2/ SECTION 7106(A)(2)(B) PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART:
 
    SECTION 7106.  MANAGEMENT RIGHTS
 
    (A) SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION, NOTHING IN THIS
 CHAPTER SHALL AFFECT THE
 
    AUTHORITY OF ANY MANAGEMENT OFFICIAL OF ANY AGENCY--
 
   .          .          .          .
 
 
    (2) IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS--
 
   .          .          .          .
 
 
    (B) TO ASSIGN WORK . . . .
 
    /3/ SECTION 7106(B)(2) PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:
 
    (B) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL PRECLUDE ANY AGENCY AND ANY LABOR
 ORGANIZATION FROM
 
    NEGOTIATING--
 
   .          .