10:0468(79)CA - VA, Iron Mountain, MI and AFGE Local 2280 -- 1982 FLRAdec CA



[ v10 p468 ]
10:0468(79)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 10 FLRA No. 79
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
 IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2280, AFL-CIO
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case No. 5-CA-371
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE ISSUED HIS DECISION IN THE
 ABOVE-ENTITLED PROCEEDING, FINDING THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD ENGAGED IN
 THE UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT AND RECOMMENDING
 THAT IT CEASE AND DESIST THEREFROM AND TAKE CERTAIN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.
 THEREAFTER, THE RESPONDENT FILED EXCEPTIONS TO THE JUDGE'S DECISION AND
 A SUPPORTING BRIEF AND THE CHARGING PARTY FILED AN OPPOSITION THERETO
 ENTITLED "CROSS-EXCEPTIONS."
 
    PURSUANT TO SECTION 2423.29 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS
 AND SECTION 7118 OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS
 STATUTE (THE STATUTE), THE AUTHORITY HAS REVIEWED THE RULINGS OF THE
 JUDGE MADE AT THE HEARING AND FINDS THAT NO PREJUDICIAL ERROR WAS
 COMMITTED.  THE RULINGS ARE HEREBY AFFIRMED.  UPON CONSIDERATION OF THE
 JUDGE'S DECISION AND THE ENTIRE RECORD, THE AUTHORITY HEREBY ADOPTS THE
 JUDGE'S FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS AS MODIFIED BELOW.
 
    THE JUDGE FOUND THAT THE RESPONDENT VIOLATED SECTION 7116(A)(1), (5)
 AND (8) OF THE STATUTE /1/ BY CHANGING AN ESTABLISHED PAST PRACTICE OF
 PROVIDING, FREE OF CHARGE, COPIES OF NECESSARY AND RELEVANT INFORMATION
 REQUESTED BY THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL
 2280, AFL-CIO (THE UNION), THE EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
 RESPONDENT'S EMPLOYEES, IN CONNECTION WITH THE UNION'S REPRESENTATIONAL
 RESPONSIBILITIES IN A PENDING GRIEVANCE.  IN THIS REGARD, THE JUDGE
 FOUND THAT "THE UNION'S REQUEST WAS NOT FOR CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS,
 BUT FOR INFORMATION DIRECTLY RELATED TO A GRIEVANCE IN PROGRESS;" /2/
 THAT THE INFORMATION REQUESTED WAS NECESSARY AND RELEVANT IN ORDER FOR
 THE UNION TO FULFILL ITS REPRESENTATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES IN CONNECTION
 WITH THE GRIEVANCE;  THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD AN ESTABLISHED PRACTICE OF
 PROVIDING SUCH INFORMATION FREE OF CHARGE WHEN REQUESTED BY THE UNION IN
 MATTERS RELATING TO ARBITRATION, GRIEVANCES AND POTENTIAL GRIEVANCES;
 AND THAT THE RESPONDENT'S DECISION TO CHARGE A FEE FOR SUCH INFORMATION
 IN THE ABSENCE OF AGREEMENT OR IMPASSE VIOLATED SECTION 7116(A)(1) AND
 (5) OF THE STATUTE AND ADDITIONALLY CONSTITUTED A FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH
 THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 7114(B)(4) /3/ IN VIOLATION OF SECTION
 7116(A)(1) AND (8) OF THE STATUTE.
 
    THE AUTHORITY CONCLUDES, IN AGREEMENT WITH THE JUDGE, THAT THE
 RESPONDENT VIOLATED SECTION 7116(A)(1), (5) AND (8) OF THE STATUTE BY
 CHARGING THE UNION A FEE FOR INFORMATION REQUESTED BY THE UNION WHICH
 WAS SOLELY IN THE POSSESSION OF AND REASONABLY AVAILABLE TO THE
 RESPONDENT, AND WHICH WAS NECESSARY AND RELEVANT FOR THE UNION TO
 FULFILL ITS REPRESENTATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES IN CONNECTION WITH A
 PENDING GRIEVANCE.  /4/ IN SO CONCLUDING, HOWEVER, THE AUTHORITY FINDS
 IT UNNECESSARY TO RELY UPON THE EXISTENCE OF A PAST PRACTICE WHEREBY THE
 RESPONDENT PROVIDED SUCH INFORMATION TO THE UNION WITHOUT COST.  RATHER,
 FOR THE REASONS STATED IN VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REGIONAL OFFICE,
 DENVER, COLORADO, 10 FLRA NO. 78(1982), THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT AN
 AGENCY'S OBLIGATION TO "FURNISH" SUCH DATA TO AN EXCLUSIVE
 REPRESENTATIVE WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 7114(B)(4) OF THE STATUTE
 REQUIRED THE RESPONDENT TO PROVIDE A COPY THEREOF WITHOUT COST TO THE
 EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE.  /5/ ACCORDINGLY, THE RESPONDENT'S REFUSAL TO
 DO SO HEREIN CONSTITUTED A FAILURE TO MEET THE DUTY TO BARGAIN IN GOOD
 FAITH AND NONCOMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 7114(B)(4) IN VIOLATION OF SECTION
 7116(A)(1), (5) AND (8) OF THE STATUTE.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    PURSUANT TO SECTION 2423.29 OF THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS AND SECTION 7118 OF THE STATUTE, IT IS
 HEREBY ORDERED THAT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, IRON MOUNTAIN,
 MICHIGAN, SHALL:
 
    1.  CEASE AND DESIST FROM:
 
    (A) FAILING AND REFUSING TO PROVIDE, WITHOUT CHARGE TO THE AMERICAN
 FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2280, THE EMPLOYEES'
 EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE, REQUESTED DATA WHICH IS NECESSARY AND RELEVANT
 TO ENABLE SUCH EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE TO PERFORM ITS REPRESENTATIONAL
 DUTIES IN CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE'S GRIEVANCE.
 
    (B) IN ANY LIKE OR RELATED MANNER INTERFERING WITH, RESTRAINING, OR
 COERCING EMPLOYEES IN THE EXERCISE OF THEIR RIGHTS ASSURED BY THE
 FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE.
 
    2.  TAKE THE FOLLOWING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN ORDER TO EFFECTUATE THE
 PURPOSES AND POLICIES OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS
 STATUTE:
 
    (A) REPAY TO THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2280, THE EMPLOYEES' EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE, THE $12.15
 CHARGED FOR NECESSARY AND RELEVANT DATA REQUESTED BY THE EXCLUSIVE
 REPRESENTATIVE IN ORDER TO PERFORM ITS REPRESENTATIONAL DUTIES IN
 CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE'S GRIEVANCE.
 
    (B) POST AT ITS FACILITIES IN IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN, COPIES OF THE
 ATTACHED NOTICE ON FORMS TO BE FURNISHED BY THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY.  UPON RECEIPT OF SUCH FORMS THEY SHALL BE SIGNED BY THE
 DIRECTOR, AND SHALL BE POSTED AND MAINTAINED BY HIM FOR 60 CONSECUTIVE
 DAYS THEREAFTER, IN CONSPICUOUS PLACES, INCLUDING ALL BULLETIN BOARDS
 AND OTHER PLACES WHERE NOTICES TO EMPLOYEES ARE CUSTOMARILY POSTED.  THE
 DIRECTOR SHALL TAKE REASONABLE STEPS TO INSURE THAT SUCH NOTICES ARE NOT
 ALTERED, DEFACED, OR COVERED BY ANY OTHER MATERIAL.
 
    (C) PURSUANT TO SECTION 2423.30 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND
 REGULATIONS, NOTIFY THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, REGION V, 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.
 
    ISSUED, WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 18, 1982
 
                       RONALD W. HAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN
                       HENRY B. FRAZIER III, MEMBER
                       LEON B. APPLEWHAITE, MEMBER
                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
        NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO A 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 FAIL OR REFUSE TO PROVIDE WITHOUT CHARGE TO THE AMERICAN
 FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2280, THE EMPLOYEES'
 EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE, REQUESTED DATA WHICH IS NECESSARY AND RELEVANT
 TO ENABLE THE EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE TO PERFORM ITS REPRESENTATIONAL
 DUTIES IN CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE'S GRIEVANCE.
 
    WE WILL NOT IN ANY LIKE OR RELATED MANNER INTERFERE WITH, RESTRAIN,
 OR COERCE EMPLOYEES IN THE EXERCISE OF THEIR RIGHTS ASSURED BY THE
 STATUTE.
 
    WE WILL REPAY TO THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2280, THE EMPLOYEES' EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE, THE $12.15
 CHARGED FOR NECESSARY AND RELEVANT DATA REQUESTED BY THE EXCLUSIVE
 REPRESENTATIVE IN ORDER TO PERFORM ITS REPRESENTATIONAL DUTIES IN
 CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE'S GRIEVANCE.
 
                           (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 QUESTION CONCERNING THIS NOTICE, OR COMPLIANCE
 WITH ANY OF ITS PROVISIONS, THEY MAY COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THE
 REGIONAL DIRECTOR, FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY, REGION V, WHOSE
 ADDRESS IS:  175 WEST JACKSON BLVD., SUITE 1359-A, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
 60604 AND WHOSE TELEPHONE NUMBER IS:  (312) 353-0139.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS --------------------
 
    JUDITH RAMEY, ESQ.
    GREGORY MISKA, ESQ.
                   FOR THE GENERAL COUNSEL
 
    FRANKLIN WINSLOW, ESQ.
                   FOR THE RESPONDENT
 
    BEFORE:  ELI NASH, JR.
                   ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
 
                             CASE NO. 5-CA-371
 
                                 DECISION
 
                           STATEMENT OF THE CASE
 
    THIS IS A PROCEEDING UNDER THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT
 RELATIONS STATUTE, CHAPTER 71 OF TITLE 5 OF THE U.S. CODE, 5 U.S.C.
 7101, ET SEQ., AND THE RULES AND REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER, FED.
 REG., VOL. 45, NO. 12, JANUARY 17, 1980, 5 C.F.R. CHAPTER XIV, PART
 2411, ET SEQ.
 
    PURSUANT TO AN AMENDED CHARGE FIRST FILED ON JANUARY 25, 1980, BY
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2280, AFL-CIO,
 (HEREINAFTER CALLED THE UNION), A COMPLAINT AND NOTICE OF HEARING WAS
 ISSUED ON MARCH 18, 1980.  THE AMENDED COMPLAINT ALLEGES THAT VETERANS
 ADMINISTRATION, IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN, (HEREINAFTER CALLED THE
 RESPONDENT), VIOLATED SECTIONS 7116(A)(1), (5) AND (8) OF THE FEDERAL
 SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE, (HEREINAFTER CALLED THE
 STATUTE), BY REFUSING TO FURNISH NECESSARY AND RELEVANT INFORMATION
 REQUESTED BY THE UNION;  AND, BY REFUSING TO PROVIDE THE UNION WITH
 NECESSARY AND RELEVANT INFORMATION UNLESS IT AGREED TO PAY A FEE SET BY
 RESPONDENT FOR SUCH INFORMATION.
 
    A HEARING WAS HELD IN THIS MATTER ON JUNE 26, 1980, IN CHICAGO,
 ILLINOIS.  ALL PARTIES WERE AFFORDED FULL OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD, TO
 EXAMINE AND CROSS-EXAMINE WITNESSES, AND TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE BEARING
 ON THE ISSUES INVOLVED HEREIN.  ALL PARTIES SUBMITTED TIMELY BRIEFS
 WHICH HAVE BEEN DULY CONSIDERED.  /6/
 
    UPON THE BASIS OF THE ENTIRE RECORD, INCLUDING MY OBSERVATION OF THE
 WITNESSES AND THEIR DEMEANOR, I MAKE THE FOLLOWING FINDING OF FACT AND
 CONCLUSIONS.
 
                             FINDINGS OF FACT
 
    THE RESPONDENT AND THE UNION, WHICH IS THE EXCLUSIVE BARGAINING
 REPRESENTATIVE OF ALL PROFESSIONAL AND NON-PROFESSIONAL REGULAR WORK
 FORCE EMPLOYEES AT ITS IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN FACILITY ARE PARTIES' TO
 A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT COVERING ALL PERIODS MATERIAL HEREIN.
 
    THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT INCLUDES IN ARTICLE XII A
 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE WHICH IS "THE SOLE PROCEDURE FOR PROCESSING
 GRIEVANCES OVER THE INTERPRETATION OR APPLICATION OF THIS NEGOTIATED
 AGREEMENT."
 
    ARTICLE X, SECTION 5 OF THE PARTIES' COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
 DEALING WITH MERIT PROMOTIONS PROVIDES THAT THE EMPLOYEE OR HIS
 DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE:
 
    WILL BE PERMITTED TO REVIEW HIS/HER PROMOTION QUALIFICATIONS, AND
 RATINGS AND RANKING
 
    POSITION, WHEN SAID EMPLOYEE IS A CANDIDATE FOR SUCH PROMOTION AND IS
 NOT SELECTED.
 
    ARTICLE X, SECTION 7 OF THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING ANTICIPATES THE
 FILING OF GRIEVANCES OVER NON-SELECTIONS.
 
    UNION PRESIDENT PATRICIA KUHL TESTIFIED THAT OVER THE PAST THREE AND
 ONE HALF YEARS SHE HAD REQUESTED INFORMATION ON BEHALF OF THE UNION ON
 20 TO 30 DIFFERENT OCCASIONS, AND THAT THE REQUESTS WERE RELATED TO
 REPRESENTATIONAL FUNCTIONS SUCH AS GRIEVANCES, POTENTIAL GRIEVANCES, AND
 OTHER FUNCTIONS.  ACCORDING TO KUHL SOME RECORDS HAD TO BE SANITIZED BUT
 THERE WERE MANY OCCASIONS ON WHICH MORE THAN 10 PIECES OF PAPER WERE
 REQUESTED.  SHE ALSO STATED THAT RESPONDENT HAD SUPPLIED THE UNION WITH
 COPIES OF REQUESTED INFORMATION WITHOUT CHARGE OR WITHOUT LIMIT.
 
    THE INCIDENT WHICH FIRST GAVE RISE TO THE COMPLAINT HEREIN OCCURRED
 AROUND OCTOBER 12, 1979.  AT THAT TIME, ACCORDING TO PRESIDENT KUHL, A
 UNIT EMPLOYEE DALE MICHAUD, RECEIVED A BILL CHARGING FOR CLASSIFICATIONS
 STANDARDS HE HAD REQUESTED BECAUSE HE WAS CONTEMPLATING APPEALING THE
 CLASSIFICATION OF HIS POSITION.
 
    WHEN MICHAUD CALLED PRESIDENT KUHL, SHE TOLD HIM NOT TO PAY THE BILL,
 BECAUSE TO HER KNOWLEDGE "NOBODY HAD EVER PAID ONE BEFORE."
 
    SHORTLY THEREAFTER, AT THE PARTIES REGULAR UNION-MANAGEMENT MEETING
 IN OCTOBER 1979 PRESIDENT KUHL AND OTHER UNION MEMBERS DISCUSSED THE
 UNION'S ACCESS TO INFORMATION WITH JOHN ST. ANGELO, RESPONDENT'S
 PERSONNEL DIRECTOR.  ACCORDING TO KUHL, THE PARTIES AGREED TO THE POLICY
 OF A LENDING LIBRARY FOR CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS AND EACH INITIALED
 THAT AGREEMENT.  MR. ST. ANGELO ALSO SUGGESTED "THE PAYMENT OF FEES BY
 THE UNION FOR OTHER INFORMATION THAT WE WANTED.  HE INDICATED A TEN-COPY
 CHARGE THAT WOULD BE FREE, ANYTHING OVER TEN COPIES WE WOULD PAY FOR."
 THE UNION DISAGREED STATING THAT, "(IT) WOULD NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING,
 WHETHER IT WAS TEN COPIES OR ANYTHING OVER THAT." THE ISSUE WAS
 DISCUSSED BACK AND FORTH WITH ST. ANGELO STATING THAT RESPONDENT WOULD
 PROVIDE REASONABLE COPIES AND THE UNION FINALLY TAKING THE POSITION ITS
 REQUESTS WOULD BE REASONABLE BECAUSE THE INFORMATION WOULD BE NEEDED TO
 CARRY OUT ITS RESPONSIBILITIES.
 
    SOMETIME IN NOVEMBER 1979, TWO EMPLOYEES APPROACHED PRESIDENT KUHL
 AND REQUESTED THAT SHE LOOK INTO A MERIT PROMOTION ACTION.  AFTER A
 EXAMINATION OF THE TOP SIDE UNION RANKING SHEET AND TOP SIDE ELEMENT
 RATING SHEET PRESIDENT KUHL MADE AN INITIAL DETERMINATION THAT THE MERIT
 PROMOTION PLAN HAD BEEN VIOLATED.  SHE THEN RECEIVED CLEARANCE FROM THE
 TWO EMPLOYEES TO REPRESENT THEM IN A GRIEVANCE ACTION.  IN CONNECTION
 WITH THE GRIEVANCE, PRESIDENT KUHL, REQUESTED TEN COPIES OF THE RATING
 AND RANKING SHEETS OF THE TOP FIVE CANDIDATES AND THE ELEMENTAL RATING
 SHEETS OF THE TOP FIVE CANDIDATES AND SUPERVISORY AND QUALIFICATION
 STATEMENTS.  BY REFERENCE SLIP AND BILL OF COLLECTION DATED DECEMBER 12,
 1979 THE UNION WAS NOTIFIED THAT THE REQUEST FOR "SUPPLEMENTAL
 QUALIFICATIONS STATEMENTS AND SUPERVISORY APPRAISALS CONCERNING THE
 MAINTENANCE HELPER MERIT PROMOTION ACTION IS APPROPRIATE UNDER THE
 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT." THE UNION WAS CHARGED $1.60 FOR THE
 REQUESTED INFORMATION.
 
    THE UNION REFUSED TO PAY THE $1.60 AND THE MATTER WAS RAISED AGAIN AT
 THE PARTIES REGULAR DECEMBER 1979 UNION-MANAGEMENT MEETING.  AT THAT
 TIME THE UNION TOOK THE POSITION THAT THE CHARGE FOR THE REQUESTED
 INFORMATION WAS INAPPROPRIATE AND THAT IT HAD NEVER PAID IN THE PAST.
 
    A FURTHER MEETING WAS HELD ON DECEMBER 17, 1979 BETWEEN KUHL AND
 OTHER UNION REPRESENTATIVES, AND JAMES PICUCCI, THEN RESPONDENT'S ACTING
 PERSONNEL DIRECTOR.  THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEETING WAS TO DISCUSS THE
 $1.60 BILL.  ACCORDING TO KUHL, PICUCCI WAS DEFINITE THAT "IT WAS
 APPROPRIATE THAT WE PAY UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.  THE UNION
 REITERATED THAT WE WOULD NOT PAY, WE WENT OVER, THE REGULATIONS, THE VA
 REGULATIONS FROM THE PERSONNEL MANUAL AND THERE WERE DIFFERENCES OF
 INTERPRETATION." RESPONDENT THROUGH PICUCCI STILL CONTENDED THAT THE
 CHARGE AND PAYMENT WAS APPROPRIATE.  KUHL TESTIFIED THAT PICUCCI STATED,
 AFTER SHE TOLD HIM THAT THE CASE WAS POSSIBLY ONE FOR ARBITRATION THAT,
 THE "APPROPRIATE METHOD TO FOLLOW WAS TO TAKE THIS ISSUE TO THAT
 ARBITRATION CASE AND LET THE ARBITRATION DECIDE." KUHL RESPONDED THAT
 THE ISSUE OF WHETHER OR NOT THE UNION SHOULD PAY FOR EVIDENCE TO BE USED
 AS SUPPORTING EVIDENCE WAS NOT FOR THE ARBITRATOR.
 
    AT THE DECEMBER 17, 1979 MEETING, KUHL STATES THAT SHE TOLD PICUCCI
 THAT THE UNION HAD TO HAVE THE INFORMATION, THAT IT WOULD PROCESS THE
 MATTER UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, BUT WHILE CONSIDERED THE
 CHARGE A UNILATERAL CHANGE OF A PAST PRACTICE AND WOULD FILE AN UNFAIR
 LABOR PRACTICE CHARGE.  PICUCCI INDICATED TO KUHL THAT RESPONDENT'S
 POSITION CONTINUED TO BE THAT A PAST PRACTICE OF THE UNION PAYING
 EXISTED.  KUHL RESPONDED THAT THE UNION HAD PAID ONLY ONCE, WHEN IT HAD
 REQUESTED INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.  INDEED THE
 UNION HAD PAID $4.40 FOR INFORMATION SUPPLIED TO IT ON OCTOBER 12, 1979,
 BUT THIS INFORMATION, THE MINUTES OF THE MEDICAL CENTERS POSITION
 MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, INVOLVED A MATTER WHICH WAS NOT GRIEVABLE OR
 POTENTIALLY GRIEVABLE AND THE UNION APPARENTLY FELT IT COULD OBTAIN THE
 MINUTES ONLY THROUGH USE OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.
 
    FOLLOWING THE ABOVE MEETING, THE UNION ON DECEMBER 21, 1979 REQUESTED
 CERTAIN INFORMATION "FOR THE MAINTENANCE MECHANIC POSITION WHICH IS THE
 SUBJECT OF A CURRENT GRIEVANCE." THE LETTER STATED IN PART:
 
    THE REQUEST IS FOR INFORMATION TO BE USED AS EVIDENCE IN THE CURRENT
 GRIEVANCE OF THIS
 
    PROMOTION ACT.  LOCAL 2280 DOES NOT WILLINGLY ACCEPT ANY CHARGES FOR
 THIS INFORMATION, AS WE
 
    HAVE NEVER BEEN CHARGED IN THE PAST FOR ANYTHING;  EXCEPT ONE
 SUBMISSION UNDER FOIA, WHICH WAS
 
    NOT AVAILABLE OTHERWISE.  ANY CHARGES WILL BE CONSIDERED EVIDENCE OF
 A UNILATERAL CHANGE BY
 
    THE EMPLOYER, AND ON OF INTERFERENCE AND RESTRAINT AGAINST THE UNION.
 
    ON DECEMBER 26, 1979 THE UNION WAS SUPPLIED WITH THE REQUESTED
 INFORMATION AND BILLED $12.15.  ACCORDING TO KUHL THE INFORMATION WAS
 USED TO HELP IN A DECEMBER 31, 1979 PRESENTATION OF THE MAINTENANCE
 HELPER MERIT PROMOTION ACTION AT STEP FOUR OF THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE.
 
    UNION CHIEF STEWARD, JEAN FARLEY TESTIFIED THAT OVER A TWO AND ONE
 HALF YEAR PERIOD SHE HAD REQUESTED INFORMATION FROM RESPONDENT IN
 PURSUING POSSIBLE GRIEVANCES AND ARBITRATIONS.  ACCORDING TO FARLEY, THE
 UNION HAD NEVER RECEIVED A BILL FOR ANY OF THE REQUESTED INFORMATION
 UNTIL THE FALL OF 1979.  FARLEY ALSO CORROBORATED KUHL'S STATEMENT
 CONCERNING THE UNION'S REFUSAL TO PAY FOR ANYTHING OVER 10 COPIES
 DISCUSSED AT THE OCTOBER 22, 1979 UNION-MANAGEMENT MEETING ADDING, THAT
 "WE NEVER PAID FOR IT BEFORE AND WE WEREN'T GOING TO PAY FOR IT NOW."
 FURTHER, FARLEY TESTIFIED THAT PERSONNEL DIRECTOR ST. ANGELO STATED THAT
 RESPONDENT WOULD SUPPLY A "REASONABLE" NUMBER OF COPIES.  FINALLY,
 FARLEY STATED THAT SHE WOULD CHARACTERIZE THIS MEETING AS ENDING WITH
 "GOING ALONG WITH GETTING A REASONABLE NUMBER OF COPIES."
 
    RESPONDENT OFFERED TESTIMONY THAT PRESIDENT KUHL'S HUSBAND DANIEL
 KUHL AND DALE MICHAUD SOMETIME DURING SEPTEMBER 1979 HAD ON EIGHT
 DIFFERENT OCCASIONS REQUESTED CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS AND COPIES OF
 MATERIALS FROM THE PERSONNEL OFFICE.  ACCORDING TO RESPONDENT'S WITNESS
 DONNA POUPORE THESE REQUESTS INVOLVED UNREASONABLE AMOUNTS OF COPING
 AND
 HAD A DISRUPTIVE EFFECT ON THE PERSONNEL OFFICE.
 
    RESPONDENT ALSO OFFERED EVIDENCE OF SEVERAL REPORTS OF CONTACT
 BETWEEN ITS PERSONNEL OFFICE AND THE UNION BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 27, 1979
 INDICATING AN INTENTION TO CHARGE FOR COPIES.  HOWEVER, NONE OF THE
 REPORTS OF CONTACT SUGGEST THAT THE UNION HAD AGREED TO PAY A $.05 PER
 COPY FEE.
 
    ACCORDING TO POUPORE, THE PERSONNEL STAFF WAS TOLD AT ON OCTOBER 28,
 1979 MEETING BY ST. ANGELO THAT "WE COULD PROVIDE UP TO TEN COPIES FREE
 OF CHARGE, ANYTHING OVER TEN COPIES THEY WOULD BE CHARGED $.05 PER COPY
 AND A BILL OF COLLECTION WOULD BE PREPARED.  POUPORE ADDED THAT THE
 CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS AND MANUALS, AS WELL AS LOANER COPIES WERE
 AVAILABLE AND THAT AN EMPLOYEE COULD CHARGE THEM OUT, MAKE THEIR OWN
 COPIES AND RETURN THEM TO PERSONNEL.  POUPORE ALSO TESTIFIED THAT
 SUPPLYING THE REQUESTS TO MR. KUHL AND MICHAUD DURING SEPTEMBER CREATED
 A DISRUPTIVE ATMOSPHERE IN THE PERSONNEL OFFICE BECAUSE THE NATURE OF
 SUPPLYING THE INFORMATION INTERRUPTED THE WORK OF PERSONNEL EMPLOYEES.
 
    PERSONNEL DIRECTOR JOHN ST. ANGELO CORROBORATED POUPORE'S TESTIMONY
 THAT SUPPLYING INFORMATION REQUESTED BY MR. KUHL IN SEPTEMBER 1979 HAD
 CAUSED A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF DISRUPTION IN THE PERSONNEL OFFICE.
 
    ACCORDING TO ST. ANGELO, HE FIRST DISCUSSED THE VOLUME OF REQUESTS
 FOR CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS WITH UNION PRESIDENT MRS. KUHL SOMETIME
 AROUND SEPTEMBER 27, 1979.  ST. ANGELO TESTIFIED THAT HE TOLD KUHL THAT
 RESPONDENT WOULD ALLOW FULL ACCESS TO THE STANDARDS IT HAD IN THE OFFICE
 AND THAT IT WOULD MEET WITH EMPLOYEES AND ATTEMPT TO TONE THEIR REQUESTS
 AND CULL OUT IRRELEVANT MATERIAL.  HE OFFERED TO ALLOW THE UNION TO
 CHECK OUT MATERIALS AND RUN THEM OFF ON ITS DUPLICATING MACHINE.  HE
 MAINTAINED THAT ALL REQUESTS EXCEEDING TEN REPRODUCTION PAGES WOULD
 CARRY A $.05 PER IMAGE CHARGE.  KUHL DID NOT AGREE.
 
    ST. ANGELO FURTHER TESTIFIED THAT HIS INVESTIGATION, INCLUDING A
 REVIEW OF THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT, PRIOR TO INSTITUTING A
 CHARGE DID NOT REVEAL PREVIOUS REQUESTS FOR "LARGE NUMBERS OF REQUESTS
 FOR LARGE VOLUMES" AND THAT, "IT HAD ALWAYS BEEN THE PRACTICE TO PROVIDE
 SOME OR A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF COPIES FREE."
 
    THE CONTRACTUAL PROVISION WHICH ST. ANGELO STATES THAT HE EXAMINED
 PROVIDES:
 
    ARTICLE XXII, SECTION 2 - EMPLOYEE PERSONNEL FILES
 
    THE EMPLOYER WILL PROVIDE AN EMPLOYEE OR HIS DESIGNATED UNION
 REPRESENTATIVE A PHOTOCOPY OF
 
    ANY SUCH DOCUMENTS, PROVIDED, SUCH COPY IS REQUESTED FOR A GRIEVANCE
 OR APPEAL OR OTHER
 
    SIMILAR ACTION PENDING OR IN PROGRESS.  THE EMPLOYER FURTHER AGREES
 TO PROVIDE A COPY OF OTHER
 
    DOCUMENTS RELATED TO GRIEVANCE AND/OR APPEAL ACTIONS WITHIN
 REASONABLE LIMITS TO THE EMPLOYEE.
 
    ST. ANGELO ALSO TESTIFIED THAT HE HAD CONCLUDED THAT TWO COPIES WERE
 INTENDED BY THE ABOVE CONTRACTUAL LANGUAGE.
 
    IN ADDITION ST. ANGELO STATED THAT HE RELIED ON CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF
 THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT AND SECTION 555 OF THE VETERANS
 ADMINISTRATION RECORDS IN MAKING HIS DECISION.  THESE PROVISIONS CONCERN
 THEMSELVES WITH REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION MADE BY INDIVIDUALS.  HOWEVER,
 ACCORDING TO ST. ANGELO, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS STATE THAT
 ALL REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION REGARDLESS OF HOW FORMAL SHALL BE
 CONSIDERED REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
 ACT.
 
    WITH REGARD TO THE OCTOBER 12, 1979 UNION-MANAGEMENT MEETING ST.
 ANGELO TESTIFIED THAT THE PARTIES DID ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH
 RESPECT TO COPIES WHICH HE UNDERSTOOD TO MEAN "THE UNION WOULD NOT
 REQUEST OVER 10 COPIES UNLESS THEY WERE WILLING TO PAY."
 
    JAMES PICUCCI, WHO WAS A PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST AND LATER
 ACTING PERSONNEL DIRECTOR TESTIFIED THAT THE POLICY PRIOR TO THE FALL OF
 1979 CONCERNING FURNISHING COPIES TO THE UNION WAS TO FURNISH THE COPIES
 TO THE UNION "WITHIN REASONABLE LIMITS AT NO COST." ORDINARILY HE FELT
 THAT A LIMITED NUMBER OF COPIES HAD BEEN SUPPLIED, LESS THAN TEN (10).
 HOWEVER, HE TESTIFIED THAT UNLIMITED COPIES OF MATERIALS WOULD BE
 PROVIDED IN CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS AND FORMAL PROCEEDINGS ORDINARILY
 REQUIRING COPIES FOR BOTH SIDES.
 
    MINUTES OF THE DECEMBER 17, 1979 UNION-MANAGEMENT MEETING INTRODUCED
 THROUGH PICUCCI ARE CONSISTENT WITH PRESIDENT MRS. KUHL'S TESTIMONY AND
 INDICATE THE FOLLOWING:
 
    PICUCCI:  WE HAD TO RERATE ALL OF THE APPLICANTS THAT APPLIED.  THE
 PROBLEM WAS NOT THAT
 
    WIDESPREAD BUT PROBABLY TO 3 OR 4 PEOPLE.  WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THE
 LIST?
 
    KUHL:  IT PROBABLY WOULD BE USED AS EVIDENCE.  THIS IS CLEAR CUT
 PRE-SELECTION.
 
    PICUCCI:  THIS RELATES TO WHAT WE DISCUSSED LAST FRIDAY.  JOHN WAS
 DEFINITE-- HE LOOKED AT
 
    ALL OF THE PROVISIONS IN OUR CONTRACT AND ALSO RULES AND UNDER FOIA.
 THE POLICY OF CHARGING
 
    FOR COPIES OVER 10 IS LEGITIMATE.  HE ASKED MRS. KUHL TO GIVE HIM A
 LIST OF EVERYTHING SHE
 
    WANTS FROM THE MERIT PROMOTION FILE.  WE WILL RESPOND TO THIS REQUEST
 UNDER FOIA.  UNION STILL
 
    WANTS ALL THESE COPIES PLUS POSSIBLE MORE COPIES.
 
    KUHL:  I NEVER AGREED TO PAY FOR IT AT ANY TIME.
 
    PICUCCI:  LABOR ORGANIZATIONS AS WELL AS PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS COME
 UNDER THE RULES AND
 
    REGULATIONS OF FOIA.  IN ADDITION, ALL INFORMATION MUST BE SANITIZED
 SINCE SUPERVISORY
 
    APPRAISALS, QUALIFICATION STATEMENTS AND RATING SHEETS OF EMPLOYEES
 CANNOT BE RELEASED WITH
 
    IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON THEM.  EMPLOYEES HAVE NOT SIGNED CONSENT
 FORMS.
 
    KUHL:  I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR ANYTHING.  WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE
 (G)O TO ARBITRATION,
 
    YOU WILL HAVE TO FURNISH ME A COPY OF THIS AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO
 TELL THE ARBITRATOR WHY
 
    THIS WAS NOT FURNISHED.
 
    PICUCCI:  RECOMMENDED A SPECIFIC REQUEST BE MADE, IN WRITING, AS TO
 WHAT IS NEEDED AND A
 
    TIMELY RESPONSE WILL BE GIVEN.
 
    KUHL:  ASKED FOR AND WAS SHOWN THE REGULATIONS CONCERNING FOIA
 CONTAINED IN THE
 
    FPM.  BROUGHT UP THE ISSUE OF PAST PRACTICE-- NO PAST PRECEDENT.
 JOHN ST. ANGELO EVEN TALKED
 
    WITH VACO, PAST PERSONNEL OFFICERS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN PERSONNEL
 SERVICE.
 
    PICUCCI:  RECOMMENDED AGAIN MAKING A LIST OF THINGS NEEDED.  I AM
 RESPONDING UNDER FOIA AND
 
    GIVE YOU A SUMMARY OF CHARGES FOR THESE ITEMS.  THEN IF A 3RD PARTY
 HAS TO DECIDE WE WILL HAVE
 
    TO RELY ON THAT.  WITH A THIRD PARTY LOOKING AT THAT IT SEEMS THERE
 WOULD HAVE TO BE A
 
    REASONABLE CUT-OFF WHERE COPIES ARE FURNISHED FREE.
 
    KUHL:  YOU HAVE ALREADY ADMITTED THAT YOU DID THE DAMN THINK WRONG TO
 BEGIN WITH.
 
    PICUCCI:  OUR OPINION IS NOT ONLY BASED ON OUR LOCAL POLICY, BUT WHAT
 OUR EXPERTS IN CO ARE
 
    TELLING US.  THIS IS A VA POLICY TO CHARGE $.05 FOR FOIA REQUESTS.  I
 KNOW YOU DON'T AGREE ON
 
    OUR OPINION BUT A THIRD PARTY WILL HAVE TO DECIDE THIS IF YOU WANT
 THIS TO BE AN ISSUE.
 
    KUHL:  THE ONLY THING WE WILL HAVE TO DO IS TO FILE AN UNFAIR LABOR
 PRACTICE CHARGE.
 
    DEITER:  COULDN'T WE MAKE OUR OWN COPIES?
 
    PICUCCI ADDED THAT HE FELT SOME OF THE INFORMATION REQUESTED HAD
 NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GRIEVANCE AT THAT POINT.  HE FURTHER STATED THAT
 HE FELT SOME OF THE INFORMATION WAS BEING REQUESTED AS A FISHING
 EXPEDITION FOR PURPOSES OF OBTAINING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION TO POSSIBLY
 DETERMINE IF THERE WERE OTHER ISSUES THAT COULD BE GRIEVED.
 
                        DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
 
    IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING REPRESENTATIVE
 HAS A RIGHT TO INFORMATION SOLELY WITHIN AN EMPLOYER'S POSSESSION WHICH
 IS NECESSARY AND RELEVANT TO THE UNION'S REPRESENTATIONAL
 RESPONSIBILITIES.  SUCH RIGHT EXTENDS NOT ONLY TO INFORMATION NECESSARY
 TO PROCESS A PENDING GRIEVANCE BUT ALSO TO INFORMATION NECESSARY TO
 DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO FILE A GRIEVANCE IN THE FIRST INSTANCE.  SEE
 DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD AND PORTSMOUTH FEDERAL
 EMPLOYEES METAL TRADES COUNCIL, AFL-CIO, 4 FLRA NO.  82(1980);
 DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE AND IRS MILWAUKEE
 DISTRICT, A/SLMR NO. 1133;  UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
 FOREST SERVICE, BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, A/SLMR NO. 573.
 
    IT IS EQUALLY WELL SETTLED THAT PARTIES MAY ESTABLISH TERMS AND
 CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT BY PRACTICE, OR OTHER FORM OF TACIT OR INFORMAL
 AGREEMENT, AND THAT THIS, LIKE OTHER ESTABLISHED TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF
 EMPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE ALTERED BY EITHER PARTY IN THE ABSENCE OF
 AGREEMENT OR IMPASSE FOLLOWING GOOD FAITH BARGAINING.  DEPARTMENT OF THE
 NAVY, NAVAL UNDERWATER SYSTEMS CENTER, NEWPORT NAVAL BASE 3 FLRA NO.
 64(1980);  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE,
 NEW ORLEANS DISTRICT, 8 A/SLMR NO. 497, A/SLMR NO. 1043(1978).
 
    RESPONDENT ARGUES THAT IT DECIDED TO IMPOSE A FEE FOR COPIES OF
 MATERIALS REQUESTED BY EMPLOYEES AND THE UNION HAD DISRUPTED ITS
 PERSONNEL OFFICE AND INTERFERED WITH THE MISSION OF THE AGENCY.  INDEED
 EXCESSIVE REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION WOULD APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY
 EMPLOYEES MICHAUD AND MR. KUHL, WHO WAS A UNION STEWARD.  THE RECORD,
 HOWEVER, DOES NOT SUPPORT A FINDING THAT THE REQUESTS BY THESE TWO
 EMPLOYEES WERE FOR MATERIALS TO BE USED BY THE UNION, BUT FOR,
 INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE CLASSIFICATION MATTERS.  WHILE THE ACTIONS OF THESE
 EMPLOYEES MIGHT CERTAINLY GIVE RESPONDENT REASON TO MODIFY OR CHANGE ITS
 PRACTICE OF ALLOWING TOTAL USE OF ITS CLASSIFICATION MATERIALS THERE IS
 NO INDICATION THAT THE UNION SHOULD BEAR THE BRUNT OF THIS CHARGE,
 WITHOUT BARGAINING.  FURTHERMORE, THE UNION'S REQUEST WAS NOT FOR
 CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS, BUT FOR INFORMATION DIRECTLY RELATED TO A
 GRIEVANCE IN PROCESS.
 
    RESPONDENT ALSO CONTENDS THAT IT ENGAGED IN BARGAINING CONCERNING THE
 IMPOSITION OF CHARGES.  WHILE THE RECORD ESTABLISHES THAT THE PARTIES
 DID MEET AND DISCUSS CHARGES FOR COPIES, IT DOES NOT SUPPORT
 RESPONDENT'S ARGUMENT THAT THERE WAS AGREEMENT REGARDING CHARGES FOR
 COPIES OR THAT THE PARTIES HAD BARGAINED TO IMPASSE CONCERNING THE FEES.
  IN THIS REGARD, RESPONDENT POINTED OUT, TO THE UNION FOR THE FIRST
 TIME, THAT IT INTENDED TO APPLY VA, FOIA AND FPM REGULATIONS, AND THESE
 REGULATIONS HAD NEVER BEFORE BEEN APPLIED.
 
    RESPONDENT'S RELIANCE ON ARTICLE XXII WAS MISPLACED.  /7/ ARTICLE
 XXII STATES THAT COPIES WILL BE SUPPLIED WITHIN "REASONABLE LIMITS."
 HOWEVER, THAT ARTICLE APPLIES ONLY TO THE INDIVIDUAL GRIEVING EMPLOYEES
 PERSONNEL FILE AND NOT TO A CONSIDERATION OF THE ENTIRE PROMOTION
 PROCESS WHICH WAS INVOLVED IN THIS MATTER.
 
    THE REAL QUESTION IN THIS MATTER IS WHETHER OR NOT A PAST PRACTICE OF
 ALLOWING UNLIMITED COPIES OF NECESSARY AND RELEVANT MATERIALS REQUESTED
 BY THE UNION, IN ORDER TO FULFILL ITS REPRESENTATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
 HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED.  THE RECORD DISCLOSED THAT OVER A THREE AND ONE
 HALF YEAR PERIOD RESPONDENT HAD SUPPLIED UNLIMITED COPIES OF MATERIALS
 TO THE UNION IN MATTERS RELATING TO ARBITRATION, GRIEVANCES AND POSSIBLE
 GRIEVANCE.  /8/ BURDENSOME REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION BY THE HUSBAND OF
 THE UNION PRESIDENT AND ANOTHER EMPLOYEE REQUIRED RESPONDENT TO MODIFY
 ITS POSITION WITH REGARD TO ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION AND COPIES.  WHILE
 THE PARTIES DISCUSSED THE MATTER ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS THE UNION'S
 POSITION WAS ALWAYS THAT A PRACTICE HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED OF NOT PAYING
 AND THAT IT WOULD NOT PAY.  NO AGREEMENT WAS EVER REACHED.  HOWEVER,
 RESPONDENT UNILATERALLY INSTITUTED ITS FEE PAYMENT SCHEDULE OF $.05 PER
 COPY CLAIMING THAT SUCH INFORMATION WOULD BE SUPPLIED ONLY UNDER THE
 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.  RESPONDENT HAD NEVER IN THE PAST SOUGHT TO
 CHARGE A FEE FOR SUCH INFORMATION OR COPIES OF THE REQUESTED
 INFORMATION.  FURTHERMORE, RESPONDENT HAD PROVIDED WITHOUT COST
 INFORMATION SOUGHT IN CONNECTION WITH GRIEVANCES AND POSSIBLE GRIEVANCES
 AND NO LIMIT WAS SET ON HOW MUCH INFORMATION IT WOULD PROVIDE FREE TO
 THE UNION.  IN MY OPINION A PRACTICE OF PROVIDING SUCH INFORMATION FREE
 OF CHARGE IS ESTABLISHED ON THE RECORD.  ACCORDINGLY, RESPONDENT'S
 DECISION TO CHARGE A FEE FOR COPIES OF INFORMATION WHEN IT HAD NOT DONE
 SO IN THE PAST IN THE ABSENCE OF AGREEMENT OR IMPASSE IS VIOLATIVE OF
 SECTION 7116(A)(1) AND (5) THE STATUTE.
 
    RESPONDENT CONTENDS THAT IT "FURNISHED" THE REQUESTED INFORMATION
 WITHIN THE MEANING OF 5 U.S.C. 7114(B)(4).  /9/ WHILE RESPONDENT DID
 INDEED SUPPLY THE REQUESTED INFORMATION IT EXACTED A FEE FOR COPIES WHEN
 IT HAD NEVER BEFORE CHARGED FOR SUCH INFORMATION.  CONCERNING THE FACT
 THAT THE UNION HAD ON ONE OCCASION PAID FOR INFORMATION, THE RECORD
 CLEARLY REVEALED THAT THIS INFORMATION WAS BOTH REQUESTED AND SUPPLIED
 UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT AND IN NO WAY CONSTITUTES A PAST
 PRACTICE OF PAYING FOR INFORMATION SOUGHT BY THE UNION TO CARRY OUT ITS
 REPRESENTATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING GRIEVANCES.
 
    BASED ON THE FOREGOING, IT IS FOUND THAT THE REQUESTED INFORMATION
 SOUGHT BY THE UNION WAS RELEVANT AND NECESSARY TO ITS REPRESENTATIONAL
 DUTIES AND THAT RESPONDENT'S DECEMBER 17, 1979 CHARGE FOR SUPPLYING
 COPIES OF INFORMATION WHEN THE UNION WAS PURSUING A GRIEVANCE CONCERNING
 THE MAINTENANCE MECHANIC POSITION WAS A CHANGE IN AN ESTABLISHED PAST
 PRACTICE WITHOUT BARGAINING TO AGREEMENT OR IMPASSE WITH THE UNION AND
 IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 7116(A)(1), (5) OF THE STATUTE.  FURTHERMORE, IT
 IS FOUND THAT EXACTING A REQUIREMENT OF PAYMENT FOR COPIES OF
 INFORMATION SOUGHT BY THE UNION IN ORDER TO MEET IN REPRESENTATIONAL
 RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN SUCH PAYMENT HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN REQUIRED DOES
 NOT COMPLY WITH SEC. 7114(B)(4)(A) AND (B) OF THE STATUTE AND IS IN
 VIOLATION OF SECTION 7116(A)(1) AND (8) OF THE STATUTE.
 
    HAVING FOUND AND CONCLUDED THAT RESPONDENT HAS VIOLATED 5 U.S.C.
 SEC. 7116(A)(1), (5) AND (8), I RECOMMEND THAT THE FEDERAL LABOR
 RELATIONS AUTHORITY HEREBY ORDER THAT VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL,
 IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN SHALL:
 
    1.  CEASE AND DESIST FROM:
 
    (A) UNILATERALLY ALTERING OR CHANGING THE ESTABLISHED PAST PRACTICE
 OF SUPPLYING
 
    INFORMATION WHICH IS NECESSARY AND RELEVANT TO PERFORM ITS
 REPRESENTATIONAL DUTIES TO AMERICAN
 
    FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2280, AFL-CIO, WITHOUT
 CHARGE, WITHOUT FIRST
 
    BARGAINING TO AGREEMENT OR IMPASSE, WITH AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL
 
    2280, AFL-CIO, OR ANY OTHER EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE.
 
    (B) IN ANY LIKE OR RELATED MANNER INTERFERING WITH, RESTRAINING
 COERCING EMPLOYEES IN THE
 
    EXERCISE OF RIGHTS ASSURED BY THE STATUTE.
 
    2.  TAKE THE FOLLOWING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN ORDER TO EFFECTUATE THE
 PURPOSES AND POLICIES OF THE STATUTE.
 
    (A) UPON REQUEST, FROM AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 LOCAL 2280, AFL-CIO
 
    REPAY THE $12.15 CHARGED FOR RELEVANT AND NECESSARY INFORMATION IN
 CONNECTION WITH THE
 
    MAINTENANCE HELPER POSITION GRIEVANCE.
 
    (B) POST AT ITS FACILITIES IN THE IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN COPIES OF
 THE ATTACHED NOTICE
 
    MARKED "APPENDIX" ON FORMS TO BE FURNISHED BY THE AUTHORITY.  UPON
 RECEIPT OF SUCH FORMS, THEY
 
    SHALL BE SIGNED BY THE DIRECTOR AND SHALL BE POSTED AND MAINTAINED BY
 HIM FOR 60 CONSECUTIVE
 
    DAYS THEREAFTER IN CONSPICUOUS PLACES, INCLUDING ALL BULLETIN BOARDS
 AND OTHER PLACES WHERE
 
    NOTICES TO EMPLOYEES ARE CUSTOMARILY POSTED.  REASONABLE STEPS SHALL
 BE TAKEN TO ENDURE THAT
 
    PAID NOTICES ARE NOT ALTERED, DEFACED, OR COVERED BY ANY OTHER
 MATERIAL.
 
    (C) NOTIFY THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, REGION V, 175 WEST JACKSON
 BOULEVARD, SUITE A-1359,
 
    CHICAGO, IL 60604, IN WRITING, WITHIN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THIS
 ORDER AS TO WHAT STEPS
 
    HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO COMPLY HEREWITH.
 
                      ELI NASH, JR.
                      ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
 
    DATED:  JANUARY 12, 1981
            WASHINGTON, D.C.
 
                                 APPENDIX
 
        NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO A DECISION AND ORDER OF
 
           THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND IN ORDER TO
 
                EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF FEDERAL SERVICE
 
            LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE LABOR-MANAGEMENT
 
           RELATIONS IN THE FEDERAL SERVICE WE HEREBY NOTIFY OUR
 
                             EMPLOYEES THAT:
 
    WE WILL NOT UNILATERALLY ALTER OR CHANGE THE PAST PRACTICE OF
 SUPPLYING INFORMATION TO AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 LOCAL 2280, AFL-CIO, WHICH IS RELEVANT AND NECESSARY FOR IT TO PERFORM
 ITS REPRESENTATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES, WITHOUT CHARGE, WITHOUT FIRST
 BARGAINING WITH AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2280,
 AFL-CIO, OR ANY OTHER EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE.
 
    WE WILL NOT IN ANY LIKE OR RELATED MANNER INTERFERE WITH, RESTRAIN,
 OR COERCE OUR EMPLOYEES IN THE EXERCISE OF THEIR RIGHTS ASSURED UNDER
 THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE.
 
    WE WILL, UPON REQUEST REPAY THE $12.15 CHARGED FOR RELEVANT AND
 NECESSARY INFORMATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAINTENANCE MECHANIC
 POSITION GRIEVANCE.
 
                           (AGENCY OR ACTIVITY)
 
    DATED:  BY:
 
    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, FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY, REGION V, 175 WEST
 JACKSON, SUITE A-1359, CHICAGO, IL 60604.
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ SECTION 7116(A)(1), (5) AND (8) PROVIDES:
 
    SEC. 7116.  UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES
 
    (A) FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS CHAPTER, IT SHALL BE AN UNFAIR LABOR
 PRACTICE FOR AN AGENCY--
 
    (1) TO INTERFERE WITH, RESTRAIN, OR COERCE ANY EMPLOYEE IN THE
 EXERCISE BY THE EMPLOYEE OF
 
    ANY RIGHT UNDER THIS CHAPTER;
 
   *          *          *          *
 
 
    (5) TO REFUSE TO CONSULT OR NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH WITH A LABOR
 ORGANIZATION AS REQUIRED
 
    BY THIS CHAPTER;
 
   *          *          *          *
 
 
    (8) TO OTHERWISE FAIL OR REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH ANY PROVISION OF THIS
 CHAPTER.
 
    /2/ SPECIFICALLY, HE FOUND THAT THE INFORMATION CONSISTED OF RATING
 AND RANKING SHEETS AS WELL AS SUPERVISORY AND QUALIFICATIONS STATEMENTS
 CONCERNING THE TOP FIVE CANDIDATES IN A MERIT PROMOTION ACTION WHICH WAS
 THE SUBJECT OF AN EMPLOYEE GRIEVANCE.
 
    /3/ SECTION 7114(B)(4) OF THE STATUTE PROVIDES:
 
    (B) THE DUTY OF AN AGENCY AND AN EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE TO
 NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH UNDER
 
    SUBSECTION (A) OF THIS SECTION SHALL INCLUDE THE OBLIGATION--
 
   *          *          *          *
 
 
    (4) IN THE CASE OF AN AGENCY, TO FURNISH TO THE EXCLUSIVE
 REPRESENTATIVE INVOLVED, OR ITS
 
    AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE, UPON REQUEST AND, TO THE EXTENT NOT
 PROHIBITED BY LAW, DATA--
 
    (A) WHICH IS NORMALLY MAINTAINED BY THE AGENCY IN THE REGULAR COURSE
 OF BUSINESS;
 
    (B) WHICH IS REASONABLY AVAILABLE AND NECESSARY FOR FULL AND PROPER
 DISCUSSION,
 
    UNDERSTANDING, AND NEGOTIATION OF SUBJECTS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF
 COLLECTIVE BARGAINING;  AND
 
    (C) WHICH DOES NOT CONSTITUTE GUIDANCE, ADVICE, COUNSEL, OR TRAINING
 PROVIDED FOR
 
    MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS OR SUPERVISORS, RELATING TO COLLECTIVE
 BARGAINING(.)
 
    /4/ THE RESPONDENT CONTENDED FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE HEARING BEFORE
 THE JUDGE THAT THE INFORMATION REQUESTED WAS NOT ESTABLISHED TO BE
 NECESSARY AND RELEVANT.  SUCH CONTENTION WAS PROPERLY REJECTED BY THE
 JUDGE.  SEE, E.G., DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD, 4
 FLRA NO. 82(1980);  BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS, NATIONAL
 OFFICE AND WESTERN REGION, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, 8 FLRA NO.
 108(1982).
 
    /5/ CONTRARY TO THE RESPONDENT'S ASSERTION, THE UNION'S REQUESTS, AS
 THE EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE, FOR INFORMATION HEREIN COULD NOT PROPERLY
 BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN MADE PURSUANT TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
 ACT UNDER WHICH A FEE MAY BE CHARGED.  SEE VETERANS ADMINISTR