11:0600(101)CA AFGE, LOCAL 3342, 3343 VS HHS, SSA -- 1983 FLRAdec CA
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The decision of the Authority follows:
11 FLRA NO. 101
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, BUREAU OF FIELD OPERATIONS (NEW YORK, NEW YORK) Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCALS 3342 AND 3343 Charging Party Case Nos. 21-CA-481 21-CA-546 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, BUREAU OF FIELD OPERATIONS, NEW YORK, NEW YORK Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, NATIONAL SSA COUNCIL, FIELD OPERATIONS, AFL-CIO Charging Party Case No. 2-CA-630
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.
Upon consideration of the entire record, including the stipulation of facts and the parties' contentions, 1 the Authority finds:
The consolidated complaint in Case Nos. 21-CA-481 and 21-CA-546 alleges that the Respondent violated sections 7116(a)(1),(5) and (8) and the complaint in Case No. 2-CA-630 alleges that the Respondent [ v11 p 600] violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the Statute) by its actions in continuing a practice of revoking dues all allotments twice annually in violation of section 7115 of the Statute. 2
The Charging Parties (the Locals) are the exclusives bargaining representatives of certain of the Respondent's employees. In January 1979, the New York - New Jersey AFGE SSA Council (the Council) met with the Social Security Administration, Region II (SSA) and an oral understanding was apparently reached that, pursuant to the terms of the Statute, requests by employees to revoke dues allotments would be effectuated only one (rather than twice) a year and that the revocation period would occur in March. 3 However, this understanding was never implemented. Rather, subsequent to the meeting at which the understanding was reached, SSA submitted to each of the Locals involved a written "Amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding for Dues Withholding." This "Amendment" was never agreed to by the Locals. Thereafter, on August 30, 1979, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) was certified as the exclusive bargaining representative for a nationwide, consolidated bargaining unit which included the units involved herein. Following consolidation, the Respondent took the position that it no longer had any obligation to bargain with the Locals regarding the subject of revocation of dues allotments and that, inasmuch as the Locals had failed to sign the written documents, the previously existing memoranda of understanding providing for effectuation of revocation twice a year remained in effect.
Thereafter, the Respondent, which had effectuated revocations of dues allotments in March 1979, did so again in September 1979 and March 1980. The Council raised no objection to the revocations of September 1979, later indicating that it had not objected because it [ v11 p601 ] felt such revocations were "justified on the basis of fairness to members who had joined the various Locals prior to the passage of the (Statute)." However, by letters dated March 10, June 13 and August 25, 1980, the Council registered its objection to a continuation of the Respondent's effectuation of revocations at periods occurring twice annually. It argued that the Statute dictated that such revocations should be effectuated only at annual intervals and reiterated its desire that the terms of the Statute in this regard be implemented. The Respondent, noting that no changes to the previously existing memoranda of understanding had been reduced to writing prior to the unit consolidation, and that dues allotment was one of the subjects being negotiated at the national level, informed the Council that, absent any management-initiated change relating thereto, the Respondent had no option but to continue to adhere to the terms of the existing memoranda of understanding which it viewed as still in effect and binding on the parties. The Respondent again effectuated revocations of dues allotments in September 1980.
The Statute, in contrast to Executive Order 11491, does not make dues allotments dependent upon a written agreement between an agency and an exclusive representative. Additionally, unlike the Executive Order which required a contractual provision that employees could revoke dues authorizations at six-month intervals, section 7115 of the Statute requires that authorizations may not be revoked for a period of one year. Parties to an existing agreement are not precluded, however, from mutually agreeing to continue or renew contractual provisions establishing six-month intervals for revocations. However, when either party objects to the continuation of a provision for the revocation of dues allotments at six-month intervals, the provision in section 7115(a) of the Statute limiting such revocations to one-year periods would apply. Interpretation and Guidance, 1 FLRA 183 (1979). Moreover, in U.S. Army, U.S. Army Materiel Development and Readiness Command, Warren, Michigan, 7 FLRA No. 30 (1981), the Authority held that "the language in section 7115(a) that 'any such assignment may not be revoked for a period of 1 year' must be interpreted to mean that authorized dues allotments may be revoked only at intervals of 1 year."
With respect to the instant case, in view of the Council's expressed opposition to continuing or renewing the practice of permitting revocations at six-month intervals, as first communicated to the Respondent in January 1979, the statutory provision requiring revocations only at one-year intervals became applicable prior to the unit consolidation. Thus, pursuant to section 7115 of the Statute, and absent any agreement to the contrary, the unit consolidation had no impact upon the Respondent's obligation to honor dues revocation requests only at yearly intervals. Furthermore, the annual dues revocations should have commenced in September 1979 or on the [ v11 p602 ] anniversary date of an employee's dues withholding authorization, whichever was later. Interpretation and Guidance, 1 FLRA 183 (1979). Hence, the Authority finds that the Respondent, by effectuating revocations of dues allotments in March 1980, 4 failed to comply with section 7115(a) of the Statute and thereby violated section 7116(a)(1) and (8) of the Statute as alleged in Case No. 21-CA-481. U.S. Army, U.S. Army Materiel Development and Readiness Command, Warren, Michigan, 7 FLRA No. 30 (1981). 5 Noting however, that the unfair labor practice charges in Case Nos. 21-CA-546 and 2-CA-630 were filed on November 10, 1980 and October 17, 1980, respectively, i.e., more than six months after the March 22, 1980 revocations, the Authority finds that such charges are untimely and that the complaints pertaining thereto must be dismissed. 6
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 Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Bureau of Field Operations, New York, New York, shall:
1. Cease and desist from:
(a) Honoring revocations from bargaining unit employees of assignments authorizing the deduction from pay of the amount of regular and periodic union dues at other than one-year intervals.
(b) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing any employee in the exercise of any rights assured by the Statute.
2. Take the following affirmative action: [ v11 p603 ]
(a) Reinstate to dues withholding status every bargaining unit employee whose dues assignment was terminated improperly at less than one-year intervals, by reason of an improper dues revocation procedure, and whose assignment has not reached a date appropriate for termination pursuant to section 7115(a) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute.
(b) Reimburse the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO, or its constituent Local 3343, an appropriate, for all dues revocations effectuated in a manner inconsistent with section 7115(a) of the Statute as interpreted in this Decision and Order.
(c) Post at its facilities 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 an authorized official and shall be posted and maintained by that official for 60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places, including bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken to insure that such Notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material.
(d) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, notify the Regional Director of Region II, 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.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the complaints in Case Nos. 21-CA-546 and 2-CA-630 be, and they hereby are, dismissed.
Issued, Washington, D.C., March 14, 1983 Ronald W. Haughton, Chairman Henry B. Frazier III, Member Leon B. Applewhaite, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
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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 honor revocations from bargaining unit employees of assignments authorizing the deduction from pay of the amount of regular and periodic union dues at other than one-year intervals.
WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner interfere with, restrain, or coerce any employee in the exercise of any rights assured by the Statute.
WE WILL reinstate to dues withholding status every bargaining unit employee whose dues assignment was terminated improperly at less than one-year intervals, by reason of an improper dues revocation procedure, and whose assignment has not reached a date appropriate for termination pursuant to section 7115(a) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute.
WE WILL reimburse the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO, or its constituent Local 3343, as appropriate, for all due