14:0258(46)CA - HHS, Region VII, Kansas City, MO and NTEU -- 1984 FLRAdec CA



[ v14 p258 ]
14:0258(46)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 14 FLRA No. 46
 
 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND
 HUMAN SERVICES, REGION VII
 KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION
 Charging Party
 
                                                Case No. 7-CA-669
 
                            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 contentions of the parties, 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) by refusing to execute, upon the Union's
 request, a written document embodying ground rules for negotiations
 which had been agreed to by both parties.
 
    On June 15, 1979, the Charging Party, National Treasury Employees
 Union (the Union), was certified as the exclusive representative of a
 unit composed of all General Schedule and Wage Grade professional and
 nonprofessional employees of the Department of Health and Human
 Services, Region VII, Kansas City, Missouri (the Respondent), with
 certain exclusions.  On November 15, 1979, the Respondent and the Union
 met to negotiate ground rules, and reached full and complete agreement
 on that same day.  On April 1, 1980, the parties began negotiations for
 a collective bargaining agreement;  tentative agreement on several
 articles was reached before May 23, when negotiations were temporarily
 suspended at the Union's request.
 
    Negotiations resumed on July 23, with the Union designating a new
 chief negotiator.  The Union submitted ground rules proposals which were
 identical to those agreed upon in November except for two new ones.  The
 parties reached full agreement on the ground rules proposals that day,
 the substance of which are concerned entirely with matters relating to
 the "framework" of negotiations, such as the number of participants for
 each side;  the location of negotiations;  a schedule for negotiation
 meetings;  the procedures for initiating, negotiating and agreeing to
 proposals;  and procedures to help resolve impasses.
 
    On July 24, the Union requested that the Respondent execute a written
 document memorializing the provisions of the agreed-upon ground rules.
 Respondent refused, asserting that it was not necessary to execute a
 written document embodying ground rules for negotiations.  Since that
 date, negotiations have continued, but the parties have not reached a
 final collective bargaining agreement.  There is no assertion or
 evidence that Respondent has failed to bargain in good faith in any
 other manner, or that it has failed to abide by any of the ground rules
 agreed to by the parties.
 
    The General Counsel and the Union argue that Respondent's conduct is
 directly contrary to the obligation imposed by section 7114(b)(5) of the
 Statute, /1/ and therefore violates section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) as
 alleged.  /2/ The Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the
 obligation contained in section 7114(b)(5) refers only to a collective
 bargaining agreement, and that the subject agreement on ground rules is
 not, by statutory definition, a collective bargaining agreement.
 
    The Authority concludes that the Respondent has violated the Statute
 as alleged.  In Department of Defense Dependents Schools, 14 FLRA No.
 40(1984), the Authority held that the negotiation of ground rules is
 part of the good faith negotiating process.  The Authority further noted
 that preliminary arrangements such as the time, place, length and agenda
 of negotiation meetings are necessary steps in fulfilling the
 requirement of section 7114 of the Statute that the parties meet "at
 reasonable times and convenient places." /3/ The Authority concluded
 that "(t)he fact that some parties mutually agree to set such
 preliminary arrangements apart and call them ground rules negotiations
 does not separate them from the collective bargaining process and the
 parties' mutual obligation to bargain in good faith." It follows that,
 by refusing the Union's request to execute a written memorial of the
 agreed-upon ground rules, Respondent has failed to comply with section
 7114(b)(5) of the Statute and to fulfill its obligation to bargain in
 good faith, thereby violating section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the
 Statute.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Rules and Regulations of the
 Federal Labor Relations Authority and section 7118 of the Federal
 Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, the Authority hereby orders
 that the Department of Health and Human Services, Region VII, Kansas
 City, Missouri, shall:
 
    1.  Cease and desist from:
 
          (a) Refusing to execute, on request of the National Treasury
       Employees Union, the exclusive representative of its employees, a
       written document embodying the agreed-upon ground rules for
       negotiations.
 
          (b) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining
       or coercing its employees in the exercise of their rights assured
       by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.
 
    2.  Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the
 purposes and policies of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations
 Statute:
 
          (a) Execute, at the request of the National Treasury Employees
       Union, a written document embodying the agreed-upon ground rules
       for negotiations reached by the parties on July 23, 1980.
 
          (b) 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
       representative of the Respondent and shall be posted and
       maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous
       places, including all 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.
 
          (c) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and
       Regulations, notify the Regional Director, Region VII, 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.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., April 9, 1984
 
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Member
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
                       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 refuse to execute, on request the National Treasury
 Employees Union, the exclusive representative of our employees, a
 written document embodying the agreed-upon ground rules for
 negotiations.
 
    WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner interfere with, restrain or
 coerce our employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the
 Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.
 
    WE WILL execute, at the request of the National Treasury Employees
 Union, a written document embodying the agreed-upon ground rules for
 negotiations reached by the parties on July 23, 1980.
                                       (Activity)
 
    Dated:
                                       By:
                                       (Signature) (Title)
 
    This Notice must remain posted for 60 consecutive days from the date
 of posting, and must n