10:0550(95)NG - NFFE Local 29 and Army Engineer District, Kansas City, MO -- 1982 FLRAdec NG



[ v10 p550 ]
10:0550(95)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 10 FLRA No. 95
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 29
 Union
 
 and
 
 U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT,
 KANSAS CITY, MO.
 Agency
 
                                            Case No. O-NG-467
 
                 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE
 
    The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority
 pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and raises the question
 of the negotiability of the following Union proposal.
 
                              Union Proposal
 
          1.  That all employees be notified, on travel orders and
       annually of the requirement to file travel vouchers no later than
       15 days after completion of travel;
 
          2.  That employees that do not comply with paragraph 1, or who
       are indebted to the U.S. Government be officially notified that
       payment be made within 15 days of the receipt of the notice;
 
          3.  That payment becomes delinquent after 30 days from the date
       of the notice and payroll deductions will be initiated;  unless a
       waiver or payment arrangements have been made;
 
          4.  That no interest charge be made.  (Interest charge for
       delinquent unused travel advances).  (Only the underscored
       language is in dispute.)
 
    Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the
 contentions of the parties, the Authority makes the following
 determinations:  The proposal is concerned with the conditions under
 which employees will reimburse the Agency for monies they have received
 through advances where the work-related expenses actually incurred are
 less than the advance.  The proposal is in dispute only insofar as it
 provides that no interest will be charged.
 
    The Agency contends that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain
 because it conflicts with the requirement that interest be charged on
 delinquent debts under the regulations of the General Accounting Office
 and the Department of Justice /1/ and correlative guidance in the
 Treasury Fiscal Requirements Manual (TFRM) /2/ referred to in the
 regulations.  /3/ Assuming that the regulations and guidance apply to
 bargaining unit employees, such regulations and guidance, as the Union
 specifically references in its response to the Agency's statement,
 permit agencies to enter into contracts providing for different payment
 rules and to waive late charges in some circumstances.  Thus, as claimed
 by the Union, under the regulations and guidance in question, an agency
 has the discretion to enter into an agreement which could provide for no
 interest to be charged.  The Agency has not shown in the present case
 that such discretion would not apply in its dealings with the bargaining
 unit.  Consequently, as an agency must exercise its discretion
 concerning conditions of employment through collective bargaining upon
 request, see, e.g., American Federation of Government Employees,
 AFL-CIO, Local 32 and Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C.,
 8 FLRA No. 8 (1982), the Authority concludes that the Agency herein must
 bargain over the exercise of such discretion concerning interest
 charges, as proposed by the Union.  /4/
 
    Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations (5 CFR 2424.10), IT IS ORDERED that the Agency shall upon
 request (or as otherwise agreed to by the parties) bargain concerning
 the proposal.  /5/ Issued, Washington, D.C., December 3, 1982
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Chairman
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       Leon B. Applewhaite, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ The pertinent regulations, codified at 4 CFR 102.11, provide as
 follows:
 
    Sec. 102.11 Interest.
 
          In the absence of a different rule prescribed by statute,
       contract, or regulation, interest shall be charged on delinquent
       debts and debts being paid in installments in conformity with the
       Treasury Fiscal Requirements Manual.  . . .
 
 
    /2/ The pertinent provisions of the TFRM, set forth in I TFRM 6-8000,
 provide:
 
          8020.20 - Charges for Late Payments.  Payment of amounts owed
       the U.S. Government by organizations, businesses, and individuals
       are expected to be made in accordance with the terms of the
       arrangement for payment stated in the contract, agreement, or
       notification of indebtedness.  If payment is overdue, a late
       charge will be applied and collected at a percentage rate based on
       the current value of funds to Treasury.  . . .
 
 
    /3/ While the guidance contained in the TFRM uses the term "late
 charges," the correlative regulations previously adverted to as well as
 the explanatory material accompanying their promulgation in the Federal
 Register, 44 Fed.Reg. 22702 (1979), use the term "interest" in referring
 to the same charges for late payment.
 
 
    /4/ In view of the finding of no conflict with the cited regulations
 and guidance, the Authority finds it unnecessary to address the Agency's
 contention that the proposal is barred by its internal regulations which
 it asserts merely reflect the requirements of such outside authority.