17:0011(6)NG - AFGE, National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals and SSA, Office of Field Operations, Baltimore, MD -- 1985 FLRAdec NG
[ v17 p11 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
17 FLRA No. 6 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION FIELD OPERATIONS LOCALS, AFL-CIO Union and SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, OFFICE OF FIELD OPERATIONS, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND Agency Case No. O-NG-629 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 the issue of the negotiability of five Union proposals. The dispute arose in the context of negotiations over the Agency's plan to establish a number of Debt Collection Centers and to staff them by detailing employees from various parts of the Agency. Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determinations. Union Proposal 1 Employees detailed to Debt Collection Centers (DCC's) who are otherwise covered by collective bargaining agreements, including interim agreements, shall retain all rights under such agreements while in the DCC's. All employees shall retain their rights under 5 USC 71. (Only the underlined portion is in dispute.) Union Proposal 3 Leave policies for employees detailed to DCC's shall be those of the employee's applicable agreements, unless superseded by a DCC agreement. Union Proposal 5 This Memorandum of Understanding shall become effective on the date it is signed by the parties. This Memorandum of Understanding shall terminate with the conclusion of the DCC experiment. However, if management decides to establish non-experimental DCC's, this Memorandum of Understanding shall be extended until the effective date of an agreement by the parties covering such non-experimental DCC's. Grievances over the interpretation and application of this Memorandum of Understanding shall be resolved via the applicable negotiated grievance procedure. (Only the underlined portion is in dispute.) The Agency asserts that the Union does not hold exclusive recognition for those employees who are detailed to the Debt Collection Centers. Therefore, it contends that it has no obligation to negotiate with respect to conditions of employment which pertain to those employees while they are detailed to the Debt Collection Centers. The Union does not refute this assertion. /1/ It is well established that proposals are not within the duty to bargain if they apply to employees or positions outside the bargaining unit. See, e.g., American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2 and Department of the Army, Military District of Washington, 4 FLRA 450 (1980). /2/ The proposals are, therefore, not within the duty to bargain. Union Proposal 2 The assignment of personnel to DCC's will be accomplished in compliance with appropriate personnel policies and procedures. In making such assignments for less than 60 days, volunteers will be solicited from within the service area of the DCC's activity and no promotion point credit will be given. For details of 60 days or more, since promotion point credit will be earned, selection will be by means of applicable merit promotion plan with the Area being the area of consideration. The announcement will contain an estimate of the amount of overtime expected. (Only the underlined portion is in dispute.) The Agency contends, without contradiction by the Union, that the disputed proposal would effectively compel it to select for detail any volunteers regardless of whether or not they were capable of performing the particular work involved in the detail. This interpretation is compatible with the plain language of the proposal and is adopted by the Authority for the purposes of determining whether the proposal is within the duty to bargain. As noted by the Authority in American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 2 FLRA 604, 613 (1980), enforced sub nom. Department of Defense v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 659 F.2d 1140 (D.C. Cir. 1981), cert. denied sub nom. AFGE v. FLRA, 455 U.S. 945 (1982), regarding proposals involving the assignment of employees to details: The right to assign employees in the agency under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute is more than merely the right to decide to assign an employee to a position. An agency chooses to assign an employee to a position so that the work of that position will be done. Under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute, the agency retains discretion as to the personnel requirements of the work of the position, i.e., the qualifications and skills needed to do the work, as well as such job-related individual characteristics as judgment and reliability. Therefore, the right to assign an employee to a position includes the discretion to determine which employee will be assigned. Inasmuch as the proposal in the instant case would compel the assignment of particular employees to the details, it interferes with the Agency's right under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute to assign employees. It is, therefore, not within the duty to bargain. Union Proposal 4 This agreement applies to DCC's established after November 30, 1981, in all SSA Regions. If management initiates any changes in conditions of employment in DCC's covered by this agreement, the union will be accorded all its rights under 5 USC 71 and applicable agreements. Management will also notify the Regional Vice President in writing of such proposed changes. Management will furnish a copy of the weekly District Office Work Report (DOWR) or equivalent for each DCC to the National Council President or designated Coordinator on the current basis. The Council President or designee shall be entitled to request an opportunity to review with the Associate Commissioner of Field Operations quarterly the progress of the DCC's and related matters. Upon request of either party they will bargain about the concerns of either.