13:0296(47)CA - Treasury, IRS, Des Moines District and NTEU and NTEU Chapter 4 -- 1983 FLRAdec CA
[ v13 p296 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
13 FLRA No. 47 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, DES MOINES DISTRICT Respondent and NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION AND NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION, CHAPTER 4 Charging Party Case No. 57-CA-20001 DECISION AND ORDER The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached Decision in the above-entitled proceeding, finding that the Respondent had not engaged in the unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint, and recommending that the complaint be dismissed in its entirety. The General Counsel and the Charging Party filed exceptions to the Judge's Decision and the Respondent filed a brief in opposition to the 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 recommendation that the complaint be dismissed. ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 57-CA-20001 be, and it hereby is, dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., September 30, 1983 Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member Henry B. Frazier III, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS -------------------- Case No. 57-CA-20001 Denise Jarrett Dow, Attorney for Respondent Judith Ramey, Attorney for the General Counsel Federal Labor Relations Authority Matthew Rennert, Attorney for the Charging Party Before: ISABELLE R. CAPPELLO Administrative Law Judge DECISION This is a proceeding under Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-454, 92 Stat. 1192, 5 U.S.C. 7101 et seq. (Supp. V, 1981), commonly known as the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, and hereinafter referred to as the "Statute," and the rules and regulations issued thereunder and published at 5 CFR 2411 et seq. Pursuant to a charge filed on October 2, 1981, by the Charging Party, the Regional Director of Region V of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (hereinafter, the "Authority") investigated and, on July 16, 1982, filed the complaint initiating this proceeding. The complaint alleges that Respondent violated 5 U.S.C. 7116(a)(1) and (5) /1/ when, on or about July 9, 1981, it unilaterally changed a past practice of granting the Charging Party's representatives on the Labor-Management Relations Committee one-half hour of official time prior to the Committee meetings, during which time they discussed the scheduled agenda of the Committee meeting and did, thereafter, refuse to negotiate with the Charging Party concerning the substance, impact, and implementation of such change. Respondent denies the allegations of illegal conduct. A hearing was held in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 11, 1983. The parties appeared, adduced evidence, and examined witnesses. Briefs were filed by the General Counsel on March 7, by the Respondent on March 8, and by the Charging Party on March 10, pursuant to an order extending briefing time until March 10, for good cause shown. Based upon the record made in this proceeding, my observation of the demeanor of the witnesses, and the briefs, I make the following findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended order. Findings of Fact /2/ 1. It is admitted that Respondent has operated and maintained a District Office in Des Moines, Iowa, during all times material to this proceeding. 2. It is admitted that the Charging Party (hereinafter collectively referred to as "NTEU" or the "Union") has been certified as the exclusive representative of a consolidated unit of Respondent's employees, including employees in the Des Moines District, during all times material herein. The Des Moines District covers offices in Des Moines, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Mason City, and Sioux City, Iowa. There are five union stewards at the Des Moines office, and one at each of the other offices. The current collective bargaining agreement, covering the national office and all regions and districts, is known as "NORD"; and it became effective on January 26, 1981. See Jt 1. Its predecessors were known as "MDAIII" and "MDAII." See R 5 and 6. 3. Since as early as 1969, the Union and Respondent have met in Labor-Management Relations Committee ("LMRC") meetings, in the Des Moines District, to discuss labor-management problems and working conditions. Before 1977, such meetings were scheduled to meet on a quarterly basis. By supplemental agreement, reached on September 12, 1977, and continuing in effect, such meetings are now scheduled to meet on the second Tuesday of every second month, in the headquarters office in Des Moines. See Jt 2. /3/ Special meetings may be called by mutual consent; but there was no evidence that any were called. Written agenda items are exchanged no later than five workdays prior to the scheduled date of the meeting. The Union shall be represented by all stewards and no more than three other representatives. Minutes are taken and approved and signed by both parties, and then posted on bulletin boards. The typical LMRC meeting is attended by the Union stewards, including the out-of-town stewards; the Union President; and one other Union representative. Management representatives include the District Director, one or more Division Chiefs, and the Personnel Officer. Usually the LMRC meetings commence at 10:30 a.m. 4. Since as early as 1969, it had been the custom of union officials to meet one-half hour before the commencement of the LMRC meetings to discuss the agenda, and then to proceed, as a group, to the LMRC meeting. Stewards from out of town would check in with their Des Moines supervisors, or go to the cafeteria, or mill around until the start of the "pre-LMR" meeting, which is the term they used for their one-half hour preparatory session (TR 26). The union officials had always claimed official time for the pre-LMR meetings and, until July 10, 1981, management had never disallowed their claims. The key factual issue in this case is whether responsible management officials knew these preparatory sessions were being held. 5. None of the collective bargaining agreements between Respondent and the Union have explicitly provided for official time to be used for preparatory sessions. They have provided for official time for a variety of other purposes in categories referred to as "B," "C," "D," "E," and "F" time. See Article 6, Section 2 of Jt 1.3-4 and R5. 7-18 and Article 6, Section 3 of R6. For some purposes, official time is counted as "bank time," with limits being placed on the use of "bank time" by the Union. 6. The collective bargaining agreements have provided that union officials wishing to use official time must check with their supervisors, and inform them of where they will be, and the approximate time they will be away from their work area. See Article 6, Section H of R5. 12. The union officials always did inform their supervisors where they could be located, and for that period. 7. A "Dir-Des-Memorandum, dated March 2, 1979, promulgated guidelines for time accountability of union stewards, union officials, and other employees. See R3. Such memorandum are "a form of instructions (by the District Director) to people within the organization telling them how to implement certain policies, procedures and practices within the district or policies that are set down from the national or regional office" (TR 127). The March 2, 1979, one placed the control of official time for union activity in the hands of the first-line supervisors. See R3.7, Section 5. The Section on Check-Out Procedures placed upon union officials "the responsibility . . . to describe the type of union activity for which he/she is requesting 'official time' in sufficient detail for the manager to determine if it is indeed allowable, and under what specific section of MDAIII it is authorized" (R3.5, lines 8-13). The Section on Recording Time Usage placed the responsibility for recording and reporting all union activity upon the immediate supervisor and, to this end, the supervisor had to maintain the "Manager's Monthly Record for NTEU Use of Official Time" for each union official supervised (R3.5-6, Section .023). This record indicated the types of union activity for which official time was authorized under the collective bargaining agreement. See R3.8. Those guidelines were rescinded on April 14, 1981 because they were superseded by the NORD Agreement effective January 26, 1981. See R4 and see also TR 129-131. 8. NORD made two major changes in relation to official time-- one did away with bank time for both individuals and the union chapter and provided for a single bank; and the other was to provide "very explicit and exclusive lists for which official time was to be granted" (TR 142). If union stewards or officials wish to perform "union duties that do not fall into any of the specified categories of the contract," they must request annual leave or leave without pay (TR 142-143 and see Jt. 1. 16, Article 16, Section 6). Absent such a request, Respondent places them on absence without leave. 9. For some time, Respondent and NTEU Chapter 4 have been at odds over the kind of information a steward must provide to a manager when the steward wishes to use official or bank time. It has been the position of the Union that stewards need do no more than tell the manager that they are going to use bank time and how much. Beyond that, the Union has taken the position that "it was none of (management's) business what they were doing on official time," (TR 163). The Chapter 4 President, Frank Clements, and Respondent's Chief of Personnel of the Des Moines District discussed this problem as late as June 1981. See TR 160-161. Mr. Clements took the position that the only information the steward needed to give was that he or she was using bank time. See TR 161. 10. Prior to July 9, 1981, the Des Moines District Director and its Personnel Chief were unaware that union officials were using or attempting to use official time for pre-LMR meetings. The Personnel Chief has held his job since 1977. The District Director has held his since March 1980. Two supervisors of union officials (Larry Wiese and Robert Van Dyke) testified that they could not recall union officials under their supervision ever specifically informing them that they were attending a pre-LMR meeting, at least not before July 9, 1981. /4/ See TR 196-197 and 211-212. Mr. Wiese has been a supervisor in the Des Moines District Office since December 1969 and has supervised several union officials during this period. Mr. Van Dyke has been a supervisor in the Des Moines District Office since July 1977 and has also supervised union officials. These two witnesses appeared to give honest, candid testimony; and I credit it. Supervisors do not attend LMRC meetings, and are not routinely informed of when they are being held. 11. Five union officials testified. The first was Charles Bryan, who, from 1969 to October 1980, served in official capacities for the Union including the positions of president and chief steward. He testified that, on the day of a LMRC meeting, his procedure was to inform his supervisor or the group clerk "where (he) was going, a telephone number that (he) could be reached at and that's basically it" (TR 26). He then testified that "if (he) knew (he) was going to an LMR, (he) would tell him (he) was going to an LMR meeting" or (if he) was going to personnel, (he) would tell him (he) was going to personnel or whatever" (TR 26-27). On cross, however, he conceded, consistent with an affidavit he had given, that "we never specified (to management) any of the time we took, what it was for" (TR 39) and, specifically, that he did not specify that he was using official time for a pre-LMRC meeting. See TR 40. Mr. Van Dyke was the supervisor of Mr. Bryan from 1978 or 1979 through November 30, 1982; and Mr. Bryan's concessions were consistent with Mr. Van Dyke's testimony that he could not recall being specifically informed that union officials under his supervision were using official time for pre-LMR meetings. Mr. Bryan's concessions were also consistent with the union position that what union officials did on official time was none of management's business. See finding 9, supra. Accordingly, I credit the concession of Mr. Bryan, that he never specified to management for what his official time was taken, as the more consistent and plausible of his somewhat contradictory testimony on this point. 12. The President of Chapter 4, in 1981, was Frank Clements who, before assuming that office in October 1980, had served as a union official for as far back as 1974 or 1975. Beginning in January or April 1979, he came under the supervision of Mr. Wiese and, since that time has not attended "that many" LMRC meetings because of the travel requirements of his job (TR 224). Mr. Wiese could not recall that Mr. Clements had attended any LRMC meetings; but he did not deny that he may have. See TR 204. Before Mr. Wiese, Mr. Clements was supervised by Loren Gunderman and Lester Kavan. Mr. Clements conceded that he never went to a supervisor and said that he "want(ed) prep time for any LMRC meeting" (TR 103). He also conceded that his time reports did not show "specifics" as to union time (TR 101). How he operated was to give his supervisor a buck slip, when he left for a meeting and on that buck slip he would record "the type of time I was on, B time, D time, E time, whatever" (TR 104). He further testified that: And if the supervisor was available, I would hand it to the supervisor and say, "Okay, I've got an LMR meeting at 10 o'clock or 10:30," or whatever time it was scheduled for, "and I am going to a meeting before that with the rest of the union people. We will-- at such and such a time we will be in the DD's conference room" or wherever the LMR meeting was to be held. TR 105. When later asked specifically whether he "discussed the fact that (he was) going to those preparatory meeting too" (TR 226), he gave a somewhat different version. Well, when I would check out I would say, "Okay, we've got an LMR meeting at 10 o'clock. We're going down for a meeting in such and such a conference room and then at 10 o'clock we will be up there in the Director's conference room." (TR 226) This later, less specific version is more in line with the Union position that it was none of management's business what its officials were doing on official time (see finding 9, supra). It is also in line with the testimony of the supervisors who testified that they had never heard of a pre-LMR meeting of union officials before the July 9, 1981 instance which precipitated the action of Respondent involved in this proceeding. See finding 10, supra. Accordingly, I credit Mr. Clement's testimony at TR 226, rather than that at TR 105, both quoted above. 12. Ralph Chiodo held various union positions during his employment with Respondent, which spanned a period from January 1971 through approximately October 1980. He attended LMRS meetings for a period of approximately seven years. He testified that, on the day of an LMRC meeting, he would check out of his work area in time to attend a pre-LMR meeting and: Generally, I would tell the supervisor that I was leaving to meet with the union people in preparation for the LMR meeting and that we would be in a particular conference room, and we would be there for a specific period of time, and then afterwards we would be attending the LMR meeting. TR 48. On cross, Mr. Chiodo further explained: If the supervisor was in the area, the work area, I would tell the supervisor. If not, I would try to notify the group clerk where I would be. I wasn't always aware, you know, where my supervisor was. TR 70. Mr. Van Dyke and James Klaman supervised Mr. Chiodo during the majority of his union service. Mr. Van Dyke could not recall Mr. Chiodo ever specifically informing him that he was attending a preparation for a LMRC meeting; and I have credited his testimony. See finding 10, supra. As a witness, Mr. Chiodo seemed less candid and reliable than Mr. Van Dyke. While in Respondent's employ, Mr. Chiodo had performance problems; filed over six grievances on his own behalf; and received several adverse actions. Thus, his testimony may not have been free of bias. Mr. Chiodo's specifying to his supervisors that he was going to a preparatory session with union officials, as he testified, would have been contrary to the union position that what its officials were doing on bank time was none of Respondent's business. See finding 9, supra. Thus, I do not credit his testimony that he told his supervisors the exact nature of his union activity-- namely that he was "leaving to meet with union people in preparation for the LMR meeting." /5/ 14. James McDonald served as a union officer and chief steward for periods extending over 10 years. He had various supervisors, the most recent being W. R. Mitchell. On the day of a LMRC meeting, Mr. McDonald, normally, would tell his supervisor that he "would be in the conference room until the time that the LMR meeting started, which could be anywhere from a half an hour to an hour, that (he) would be in a conference room prior to going to the LMR meeting . . . " (TR 109-110). If his supervisor was not available, he just put on a checkout sheet "where (he) would go and the approximate time (he) would return" (TR 110). When he checked out other employees, other than stewards, who were to attend a LMRC meeting and the preparatory session, he did so by telling their supervisors "where they were going to be" (TR 109). He never signed out as attending a preparatory session. Nor did he specify attendance at preparatory sessions on his union time monthly reports. 15. Fern Markwardt was a union officer and steward from November 1977 until July 1981 and attended pre-LMR and LMRC meetings during that period. (She terminated her employment in October 1981). She did not specifically identify attendance at pre-LMRC meetings on her sign-out records. Ms. Markwardt believes that Ted Reis, a personnel management specialist with the Des Moines District, knew that the union officials were attending a meeting preparatory to the one with management on March 4, 1981, because, during the union meeting, he made a phone call to Mr. Clements to tell him that management needed a little more time. See TR 80-81, 85. 16. The conference room usually used for the union's preparatory sessions were reserved through a secretary. The union official reserving the room did not "verbalize" the fact that he was going to use the room for a particular union purpose (TR 112). The room was used for a variety of union activities. "Generally" a sign was posted on the door of the conference room indicating use by NTEU and the date and time for which it was reserved (TR 112). This room is closed to public view; and conversations therein cannot be overheard by those outside of the room. Union officials were, at times, called from the room to take a telephone call from their group supervisor or group clerk. The persons calling them to the phone were usually the revenue officers or their acting chief, because they were located next to the conference room usually used, and their telephone numbers had been used by the union officials to indicate where they could be located. There was no evidence that the revenue officers or their chief had any supervisory responsibility over the union officials or their official time activities or knew the nature of the meeting in the conference room. On some occasions, one or two personnel specialists or the District Director's secretary would contact the union president or chief steward during the preparatory session, to request a few minutes delay in the start of the LRMC meetings. One such interruption occurred on March 4, 1981, when the union president took a phone call from a personnel specialist. See TR 78-81. The witnesses testifying to this believed that management, therefore, knew a preparatory session was going on. See TR 85 and 115 and finding 15, supra. This belief was based on the fact that a LMRC meeting was coming up; management was preparing for it; and management knew where to locate the union official contacted. See TR 85 and 115. There was no direct evidence that anyone from management actually knew who all was in the conference room, besides the one union official contacted or what was going on in the conference room. 17. On July 9, 1981, a LMRC meeting was held. A union steward, Florence Nicolou, told her supervisor, Mr. Wiese, that she was attending a pre-LMRC meeting with other union officials. See TR. 197. This was the first time Mr. Wiese could recall any mention of such meeting. He did not question her about it at the time, as he was on his way to a meeting. After his meeting, he consulted with a couple of other managers who told him they had had no experience with a pre-LMRC meeting. At this point, Mr. Wiese contacted Mr. Reis for advice on how to charge for such a meeting. Mr. Reis advised him that union officials were not entitled to official time for such meetings. Also on July 9, 1981, the second-line supervisor of Ms. Markwardt questioned the personnel office about the appropriateness of official-time use for attendance at preparatory sessions of union officials prior to a labor-management meeting. 18. On July 9, 1981, four union officials, Fern Markwardt, Frank Kahler, Florence Nocolou and Jim McDonald, attended a meeting at or about 9:30 a.m. to prepare for a LMRC meeting to be held immediately thereafter. At or about 10 o'clock a.m. on July 9, 1981, the same four union officials attended the scheduled LMRC meeting that included, in addition to the union officials, the Des Moines District Director, and other management representatives. 19. On July 10, 1981, the Personnel Chief convened a meeting to which the four union officials who had attended the July 9, 1981 LMRC meeting were invited, as were their respective supervisors. It was convened to learn what exactly had happened the day before. The union officials confirmed that there had been a preparation meeting prior to the LMRC meeting the day before, and that they had been having such meetings for a number of years. They indicated that they were entitled to it and that management was totally out of line even questioning the subject. They also indicated that they were not inclined to make any requests for annual leave or leave without pay to cover such time; and none did. The Personnel Chief was "(m)ost definitely" surprised to learn of the preparatory sessions at this meeting (TR 182). 20. On or about July 10, 1981, each of the four union officials who attended the July 9, 1981, meeting was advised that his or her leave record would be charged with one-half hour absence without leave. This occurred after they failed to request annual leave or leave without pay for such time. See TR 145. Subsequently, the four union officials were charged one-half hour absence without leave for July 9. 21. On July 27, 1981, the Union President sent a letter to the Des Moines District Director. See Jt 4. It referred to the "unilateral change" of the practice with regard to union officials' time to meet before the LMR meetings. It served notice that the Union wanted "to negotiate the change." Its proposal was: (T)hat the practice shall continue as it was prior to the unilateral change. I.E. (sic.) Union officials, who, pursuant to our agreement are allowed to attend LMR meetings shall be allowed official time to meet among themselves prior to the LMR meeting. This was the only proposal made by the Union on this issue. 22. On August 7, 1981, the Des Moines District Director replied to the union proposal. He stated that "negotiations are not appropriate in this matter," and gave two reasons (Jt 5.2). One reason has been abandoned. See TR 125 and RBr 8, fn. 3. The other was as follows: There has been no change in personnel policy or practices or other general conditions of employment. No time has ever been granted by management to union officials for them to meet before the LMR meetings. If such meetings have taken place in the past, they have taken place without the specific knowledge and consent of this district's management. In addition, any such meetings would have taken place prior to the implementation of the NORD contract, since we have not had an LMR Committee meeting since May 13 of 1980. The official time provisions of Article 6, Sections 2B1 and 2D1 have been changed significantly by limiting official time to activities included in the all inclusive lists of these sections of the NORD contract. Therefore, there is no past practice established under this contract in relationship to it. See Jt. 5.1 Discussion and Conclusions 1. The General Counsel has not met its burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, /6/ that Respondent changed a condition of employment when, on July 10, 1981, it put a stop to union officials using official time to attend preparatory sessions for labor-management meetings. It is undisputed that a condition of employment may be established by a past practice, consistently exercised for an extended period with the knowledge and consent of responsible supervisors, and that it cannot be changed without first engaging in good faith bargaining. However, a showing of "unwitting acquiescence" on the part of a supervisor will not suffice. See Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Polaris Missile Facility, Atlantic, Charleston, South Carolina, 6 FLRA No. 67, 6 FLRA 372 at 379 (1981). Nor will it suffice that "evidence shows that individual managers may have developed knowledge of the Union's actions had they been more observant or inquired more thoroughly . . . ." Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Cleveland, Ohio, 6 FLRA No. 40, 6 FLRA 240 at 249 (1981). The General Counsel and the Charging Party point to various clues from which they argue that Respondent must have known that, for years, union officials had been using official time for preparatory sessions before labor-management meetings. Examples offered include such facts as supervisors sometimes contacting union officials by telephone during the course of the preparatory sessions; the preparatory sessions occurring with some regularity before the labor-management meetings; /7/ the conference rooms in which they met being obtained through management and indicating, by a sign on the door, that they were being used by the Union; and one supervisor having reviewed a notation on three time reports that "Prep" time was being claimed by a union official before a labor-management meeting. Had the individual supervisors gotten together or done some sleuthing, this trail of clues might have led them to the conclusion urged. However, no one supervisor became suspicious until July 9, 1981, whereupon an investigation took place and a halt promptly called to the practice at issue. Suspicion would not inevitably arise from even the totality of the clues relied upon by the General Counsel and the Charging Party. The record shows that union officials engage in a variety of union activities for which they reserve conference rooms and that supervisors are not generally familiar with the date and time of labor-management meetings. The record does not establish that any supervisor, before July 9, 1981, was aware that the conference room to which a union official had gone was full of other union officials preparing for a labor-management meeting. Whether one supervisor ever noted a "Prep" time claim on time records of one union official is problematic. See footnote 5 to finding 13, supra. At the most, it was shown that the supervisors were lax in attending to their responsibilities. Laxity, however, does not equate to knowing acquiescence in a practice. Of somewhat more significance is the fact that, on occasion, a personnel specialist, or the District Director's secretary, would contact the union president or the chief steward, while the preparatory meeting was in session, to request a delay in the start of the labor-management meeting. However, as already noted, such union officials have many duties under the contract and multiple uses for conference rooms. There was no direct evidence that the secretary or the personnel specialist knew what the particular union official was doing in the conference room. The conclusion can be as readily drawn that the secretary or the personnel specialist tried to reach the union official at his or her duty post and been given the phone or room number where the official could be reached, without attaching any particular significance to the fact that the official was away from his or her duty post just before the scheduled start of the labor-management meeting. The facts supporting the General Counsel's case are too speculative in nature to support a finding that Respondent knowingly acquiesced in the practice at issue. Rather, the record supports a finding that, for years, the Union successfully adhered to its position that what its officials did on bank time was none of Respondent's business. 2. The General Counsel has not met its burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Respondent refused to negotiate in good faith over a union proposal. The only request to negotiate made by the Union was couched in terms of negotiating the "unilateral change" in practice. See finding 21, supra. Having found insufficient evidence to demonstrate any such unilateral change in a practice, I must conclude that Respondent did not fail to negotiate in good faith when it told the Union that there had been no change, and declined to negotiate for that reason. In view of these conclusions, there is no need to reach other issues raised by the parties. Ultimate Findings and Order Respondent has not been shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have violated the Statute as alleged. Accordingly, the complaint in this case should be, and hereby is, dismissed. ISABELLE R. CAPPELLO Administrative Law Judge Dated: April 25, 1983 Washington, D.C. --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ These sections provide as follows: 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; . . . (or) (5) to refuse to consult or negotiate in good faith with a labor organization as required by this chapter; . . . . /2/ The following abbreviations will be used herein. "TR" refers to the transcript. "GC" refers to the exhibits of the General Counsel; "R" refers to those of Respondent; and "Jt" refers to the joint exhibits. "GCBr" refers to the brief of the General Counsel; "RBr" to that of Respondent; and "CPBr" to that of the Charging Party. Multipage exhibits and the briefs will be designated by page or paragraph number following the exhibit or brief designation. Respondent's unopposed Motion to Correct the Transcript is granted, with one exception. The correction to line 5 of page 104 is a change of "time" to "kind." The corrections are set forth in Appendix A to this decision. I have made one other, to page 44, line 24, pursuant to 5 CFR 2423.19(r). /3/ In practice, the meetings are apparently held less frequently. In 1980, only one such meeting was held. See TR 78. In 1981, as of July, one was held on July 9 and possibly one in March. The one in March was called a "mini LMRC" by a personnel management specialist (TR 95). However, it lacked some indicia of a LMRC meeting-- management limited the Union attendance to exclude out-of-town stewards; and no minutes were taken. /4/ Mr. Van Dyke, on cross, was questioned about union use of conference rooms. He answered that, to his knowledge, the union used them for a variety of purposes, "ordinarily" to interview witnesses or prepare a grievance (TR 222). He conceded the "possib(ility)" that the Union used them for a pre-LMR meeting.