14:0019(3)NG - NFFE Local 108 and Agriculture, Arkansas State Office of the Farmers Home Administration -- 1984 FLRAdec NG



[ v14 p19 ]
14:0019(3)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 14 FLRA No. 3
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 108
 Union
 
 and
 
 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
 ARKANSAS STATE OFFICE OF THE
 FARMERS HOME ADMINISTRATION
 Agency
 
                                            Case No. O-NG-526
 
                DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES
 
    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 issues
 concerning the negotiability of 14 Union proposals.  Upon careful
 consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions,
 /1/ the Authority makes the following determinations.
 
    It appears that the Union's proposals respond to a management plan to
 change the position classification series of certain bargaining unit
 employees, designated as "COA's", and to make them subject to a new
 standardized position description.  In this connection, the Union states
 that implementation of the new position description "will greatly
 increase the workload on the COA's" and, in some instances, will result
 in some employees performing technical duties.
 
    For convenience of discussion, the Union's proposals have been
 grouped together in this decision by subject matter:
 
                     (1) Proposals Concerning Training
 
    (A) In order to perform the tasks outlined, we are requesting the
 following:
 
          1.  Training be given the COA's in processing and servicing
       activities in accordance with FmHA procedures.
 
          2.  A three day training seminar be held by a professional on
       drafting news releases and giving presentations to groups.
       Further, this training would be made available prior to the COA
       performing these functions.
 
    (B) Disposition of delinquent cases and carrying out collection
 activities through telephone and personal contacts and advising
 borrowers of their rights and interest credit is an added duty.
 Training of at least three days by State Office personnel in the area of
 Farmer Program and Rural Housing prior to performing duties.
 
    (C) A one day training to prepare the COA to represent the County
 supervisor at meetings with borrowers, contractors or other interested
 parties.  (If this duty is to include discussing construction contracts,
 etc., more time should be required for training.)
 
    (D) Special delegations which include countersigning borrower checks,
 checks for the use of loan funds, release of security property and lien
 searches would require training in the use of farm plans, construction
 contracts security and legal documents, and terms found on lien
 searches.
 
          1.  A two day training session by a professional in legal
       terminology sufficient to understand deeds, liens, title searches
       bankruptcy proceedings and the processing of legal instruments and
       supporting documents particular to loan making.
 
    (E) New COA's with little or no knowledge of FmHA procedures and
 policy should receive two weeks formal training as soon as employed plus
 other training in specific areas as outlined for the experienced COA's.
 
    (F) Implementation data-- for new duties, would be effective as soon
 as training is received by each COA.  Series established duties changed
 after training required for special areas is received only.
 
    (G) COA's who are GS-4 should receive the "special" training where
 and if when (sic) promoted to 1101 Series.  (The bracketed letters
 preceding each proposal have been assigned for convenience of
 identification.)
 
    These training proposals are to the same effect as the portion of a
 proposal requiring management to assign formal training to employees to
 enable them to perform in a position "of equivalent significance and
 grade value" in American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO,
 Local 1923 and Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security
 Administration, 9 FLRA No. 122(1982), which the Authority found to be
 inconsistent with management's right under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the
 Statute "to assign work." Hence, based on Social Security
 Administration, and the reasons and cases cited therein, these proposals
 which would require the Agency to provide certain specified training are
 also outside the duty to bargain.
 
    Further, the Union proposal designated (F) would condition the
 assignment of new duties upon completion of the prescribed training.
 Thus proposal (F), by imposing a condition upon the assignment of work
 to employees, is to the same effect as Union Proposal 1, requiring
 employees performing in a substandard manner to be assigned other work
 at the same grade level before adverse action could be taken, in
 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1760 and Department
 of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Northeast
 Program Service Center, 9 FLRA No. 142(1982), which the Authority found
 to be nonnegotiable because it conditioned "the exercise of one
 (management) right upon the prior exercise of the other in a prescribed
 manner." Similarly, proposal (F) herein would condition management's
 exercise of its section 7106(a)(2)(B) right to assign work upon its
 prior exercise of that same right by requiring that training be assigned
 before new duties are