13:0415(70)CA - VA Medical and Regional Office Center, Cheyenne, WY and AFGE Local 1014 -- 1983 FLRAdec CA
[ v13 p415 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
13 FLRA No. 70 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL AND REGIONAL OFFICE CENTER CHEYENNE, WYOMING Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1014 Charging Party Case No. 7-CA-967 DECISION AND ORDER 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 complaint alleges that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) when its agent, Chief Nurse Sally McCreary, conducted an "exit interview" with unit employee Connie Richards concerning conditions of employment. Such conduct is alleged to constitute both a bypass of the exclusive representative in violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute and a formal discussion within the meaning of section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute which was held without the exclusive representative having been given prior notice and an opportunity to be present, in violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (8) of the Statute. The stipulated record reflects that the day after Richards submitted her resignation, McCreary and Richards met at McCreary's request to discuss the reasons for the resignation. Among the matters discussed were Richards' dissatisfaction with elements of her job and McCreary's response thereto, Richards' work experience in the hemodialysis unit, and Richards' comment regarding what she perceived as "over supervision" by a specific RN which resulted in McCreary later advising that RN of Richards' comment. In a recently issued decision, Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Bureau of Field Operations, San Francisco, California, 10 FLRA No. 24 (1982), the Authority dismissed a complaint which alleged, in part, a violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (8) of the Statute by the holding of formal discussions with bargaining unit employees concerning assignment and distribution of work following an employee's detail to another city, without providing the Union prior notice and an opportunity to be present. /2/ In that case, the Authority, after noting some of the factors relevant to a determination of whether meetings are "formal" in nature, concluded that the General Counsel had failed to meet the burden of proving that the meetings in question were "formal discussions" within the meaning of section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute. In so finding, the Authority noted that the stipulated record did not contain enough specific evidence about the meetings to enable the Authority to determine whether they were in fact "formal" in nature. In the instant case, the Authority similarly concludes that the General Counsel has not met its burden of proving that the meeting in question was a formal discussion. Thus, the stipulated facts do not reveal, among other things, (1) whether the individual who held the discussions was merely a first-level supervisor or was higher in the management hierarchy; (2) how long the meeting lasted; (3) how the meeting was called; (4) whether a formal agenda was established for the meeting; or (5) whether the employee's attendance at the meeting was mandatory. Therefore, the Authority finds that the General Counsel has failed to establish that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (8) of the Statute. /3/ As to the allegation that the meeting also constituted a violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute, the Authority concludes that the General Counsel has failed to establish a bypass of the exclusive representative. In so finding, the Authority notes particularly that the interview was held by the supervisor solely to ascertain the reasons for the employee's resignation and that the stipulated record contains no evidence that the Respondent attempted to undermine the Union or to negotiate with the employee. /4/ ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 7-CA-967 be, and it hereby is, dismissed in its entirety. Issued, Washington, D.C., November 17, 1983 Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member Henry B. Frazier III, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ The Respondent's untimely brief has not been considered. /2/ See also Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Bureau of Field Operations, San Francisco Region, 10 FLRA No. 25 (1982). /3/ In view of this determination, the Authority finds it unnecessary to decide and specifically does not pass upon whether the "exit interview" involved herein concerned "any grievance or any personnel policy or practices or other general condition of employment" within the meaning of section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute. /4/ See Internal Revenue Service (District, Region, National Office Unit), 11 FLRA No. 23 (1983); Kaiserslautern American High School, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Germany North Region, 9 FLRA No. 28 (1982).