17:0254(38)CA - Government Printing Office and Columbia Typographical Union No. 101, International Typographical Union -- 1985 FLRAdec CA



[ v17 p254 ]
17:0254(38)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 17 FLRA No. 38
 
 U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 COLUMBIA TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION NO. 101
 INTERNATIONAL TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case Nos. 3-CA-20109 
                                                      3-CA-20386
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached Decision in the
 above-entitled proceeding finding that the Respondent had engaged in
 certain of the unfair labor practices alleged in the consolidated
 complaint, and recommending that it be ordered to cease and desist
 therefrom and take certain affirmative action.  The Judge further found
 that the Respondent had not engaged in certain other alleged unfair
 labor practices and recommended dismissal of the consolidated complaint
 with respect to them.  Exceptions to the Judge's Decision were filed by
 the Respondent.
 
    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, /1/ conclusions /2/ and recommended Order.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations
 and section 7118 of the Statute, it is hereby ordered that the U.S.
 Government Printing Office shall:
 
    1.  Cease and desist from:
 
    (a) Failing to provide the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101,
 International Typographical Union, the exclusive representative of
 certain of its employees, appropriate notice of, and the opportunity to
 be present at, formal discussions between employees in the bargaining
 unit, or their representatives, and representatives of the agency,
 concerning personnel policies or practices or other general conditions
 of employment.
 
    (b) Unilaterally changing on March 1, 1982, aspects of the existing
 proofreader training program without first notifying Columbia
 Typographical Union No. 101, International Typographical Union, the
 exclusive bargaining representative of said employees, and affording it
 the opportunity to bargain concerning the procedures to be observed in
 implementing such changes and concerning appropriate arrangements for
 employees affected thereby.
 
    (c) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or
 coercing its employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the
 Statute.
 
    2.  Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the
 purposes and policies of the Statute:
 
    (a) Provide the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101, International
 Typographical Union, the exclusive representative of certain of its
 employees, with appropriate prior notification of, and an opportunity to
 be represented at, formal discussions between representatives of the
 agency and its bargaining unit employees or their representatives,
 concerning personnel policies or practices or other general conditions
 of employment.
 
    (b) Notify the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101, International
 Typographical Union, of any intention to change the existing proofreader
 training program and, upon request, bargain with it concerning the
 procedures to be observed in implementing such changes and concerning
 appropriate arrangements for employees affected.
 
    (c) Post at its facilities in Washington, D.C., 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 the
 Director of the U.S. Government Printing Office, or his designee, 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.
 
    (d) Notify the Regional Director, Region III, 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.
 
    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the consolidated complaint in Case Nos.
 3-CA-20109 and 3-CA-20386, insofar as it alleges that the exclusive
 representative was bypassed at the February 24, 1982 meeting in
 violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute, be, and it
 hereby is, dismissed.  
 
 Issued, Washington, D.C., March 20, 1985
 
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       Chairman
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., 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 fail to provide the Columbia Typographical Union No.  101,
 International Typographical Union, the exclusive representative of
 certain of our employees, with appropriate prior notice of, and the
 opportunity to be present at, formal discussions between employees in
 the bargaining unit, or their representatives, and representatives of
 the agency, concerning personnel policies or practices or other general
 conditions of employment.  WE WILL NOT unilaterally change the existing
 proofreader training program without first notifying Columbia
 Typographical Union No. 101, International Typographical Union, the
 exclusive bargaining representative of our employees, and affording it
 the opportunity to bargain concerning the procedures to be observed in
 implementing such changes and concerning appropriate arrangements for
 employees affected thereby.  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 Statute.  WE WILL provide the Columbia
 Typographical Union No. 101, International Typographical Union, the
 exclusive representative of certain of our employees, with appropriate
 prior notification of, and an opportunity to be represented at, formal
 discussions between representatives of the agency and our bargaining
 unit employees or their representatives, concerning personnel policies
 or practices or other general conditions of employment.  WE WILL notify
 the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101, International Typographical
 Union, of any intention to change the existing proofreader training
 program and, upon request, bargain with it concerning the procedures to
 be observed in implementing such changes and concerning appropriate
 arrangements for employees affected.
                                       . . . (Agency or Activity)
 
 Dated:  . . .  By:  . . . (Signature) This Notice must remain posted for
 60 consecutive days from the date of posting, and must not be altered,
 defaced, or covered by any other material.  If employees have any
 questions concerning this Notice or compliance with any of its
 provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional Director,
 Federal Labor Relations Authority, Region III, whose address is:  1111
 18th Street, N.W., Suite 700, P.O. Box 33758, Washington, D.C.
 20033-0758 and whose telephone number is:  (202) 653-8456.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS --------------------
 
                                       Case Nos. 3-CA-20109, 3-CA-20386
    Neal Fine, Esq.
                            For the Respondent
 
    Eileen Hamamara Miller, Esq.
                          For the General Counsel
 
    William J. Boarman
                          For the Charging Party
 
    Before:  WILLIAM NAIMARK
                         Administrative Law Judge
 
 
 
 
 
                                 DECISION
 
                           Statement of the Case
 
    This is a proceeding arising under the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. 7101 et seq. (herein called
 the Statute).  It is based on a second amended charge filed on April 13,
 1982 in Case No. 3-CA-20109, and a first amended charge filed on May 4,
 1982 in Case No. 3-CA-20386 - all by Columbia Typographical Union No.
 101, International Typographical Union (herein called the Union) against
 U.S. Government Printing Office (herein called Respondent).
 
    Pursuant to an Order Consolidating Cases, Complaint and Notice of
 Hearing issued on July 29, 1982 by the Regional Director for the Federal
 Labor Relations Authority, Washington, D.C., a hearing was held before
 the undersigned on November 12, December 8 and 9, 1982 at Washington,
 D.C.
 
    The Complaint alleged, in substance, that (a) on or about February
 24, 1982 Respondent held a meeting with certain of its deaf employees,
 included within the bargaining unit represented by the Union, concerning
 an EEO complaint filed by the employees without giving the Union advance
 notice or an opportunity to be present;  (b) on or about March 1, 1982
 Respondent instituted a proofreader training employees for certain of
 its deaf employees, included within the aforesaid unit, without prior
 notice to, or negotiation with the Union.  By allegedly refusing to
 comply with Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute and refusing to
 negotiate in good faith as to the impact and procedures for implementing
 the training program, it is averred that Respondent violated Section
 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute.
 
    Respondent's answer, dated August 13, 1982, denies the essential
 allegations in the Complaint, as aforesaid, as well as the commission of
 any unfair labor practices.
 
    All parties were represented at the hearing.  Each was afforded full
 opportunity to be heard, to adduce evidence, and to examine as well as
 cross-examination witnesses.  Briefs were filed with the undersigned
 which have been duly considered.
 
    Upon the entire record herein, from my observation of the witnesses
 and their demeanor, and from all of the testimony and evidence adduced
 at the hearing, I make the following findings and conclusions:
 
                             Findings of Fact
 
    1.  At all times material herein the Union has been, and still is,
 the exclusive bargaining representative of all journeymen, apprentices,
 and trainees in the composing craft unit of the Respondent.  Included
 within this unit are approximately 250 printer-proofreaders who read
 straight and tabular material and mark various typographical spelling
 and style errors.
 
    2.  Respondent, who employs about 800 in the bargaining unit, is
 responsible for printing and binding materials for Congress and various
 departments of the Federal Government.  Day shift employees are devoted
 to publishing the Federal Register, whereas night shift employees are
 primarily concerned with the Congressional Record and bills which have
 been introduced.
 
    3.  At all times since December 18, 1982 the Union and Respondent
 have been, and still are, parties to a "Memorandum of Understanding"
 which sets forth various conditions of employment, including a provision
 for the establishment of a Joint Training Committee to meet and consider
 establishing and maintaining a training program for personnel.
 
    4.  Both the Union and Respondent negotiated a "Training Program for
 Assignment as Printer-Proofreader" which, as GPO Instruction 625.6A, was
 issued on July 12, 1979.  The said instruction provides, inter alia,
 that eligibility for training is limited to journeymen printers in this
 composing craft unit with at least one year's experience in the GPO;
 that all eligible employees will be required to demonstrate their
 ability to read and enunciate clearly;  that the objective of the
 program is to give a trainee the knowledge and skills to become a
 printer-proofreader;  that the trainee will be selected from a voluntary
 roster;  that during the first week of training, trainees will receive 5
 hours of orientation on the proper use of proofreader marks and the
 style manual;  /3/ he will be rotated to a new partner each week and his
 work evaluated every two weeks;  the trainees will be detailed to the
 program for 13 weeks;  tests will be administered with the Chapel
 Chairman acting as an observer;  and those trainees failing to meet the
 standards will be returned to positions in their former classification.
 
    5.  Training applications follow after a superintendent or supervisor
 decides there is a need to train employees.  A memo is written stating
 that a posting is required to fill a number of positions for training.
 Employees who see the posting and are interested in training so as to
 step from one job to another, i.e., linotype operator to
 printer-proofreader, will file a claim with the Union.  Representatives
 of the latter confer with management, and assignments to training are
 made on the basis of "priority," which means seniority with GPO as a
 journeyman.
 
    6.  On February 2, 1981 there was a general posting at GPO for 60
 proofreader positions.  At this time the Union and Respondent agreed to
 the procedure to implement a retraining program for composing room
 craftsmen to advance to the said position.  As a result of the posting,
 60 journeymen qualified to undertake such training for this advancement
 on the basis of journeymen priority, i.e. seniority at GPO in that
 classification.
 
    7.  Included within the top 60 employees who applied for the training
 program and were on the list were seven hearing impaired employees.  /4/
 Since these latter individuals could not "enunciate clearly," as
 required by Instruction 625.6A, they were disqualified and not
 considered as eligible for the training program.
 
    8.  Two hearing impaired employees, William J. Stifter and Walter V.
 Ailstock, complained to an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor
 on February 20, 1981 (prior to Respondent's amending its rule excluding
 deafs from training) that they were discriminated against as trainees in
 the Proofreader Training Program.  Moreover, they stated in a memo to
 the counselor that they acted as spokesman for all "deaf employees in
 our Division concerning this matter."
 
    9.  Both Stifter and Ailstock signed a grievance, dated March 19,
 1981, which was presented to Hazel Devers, Respondent's chief of EEO
 Counselling and Complaints, on April 1, 1981.  The grievance asserted
 that Respondent violated the Memorandum of Understanding (Article IX,
 Section 2) in denying deaf employees in the composing division "a
 reasonable effort to maximize their skills in the printer-proofreader
 training program." It was also signed by Union steward Thomas Gibbs.
 
    10.  During the month of April, Devers met twice with Stifter and
 Ailstock to discuss the aforesaid grievance.  A Union representative was
 present at each session.  There was some discussion regarding the
 propriety of filing an EEO complaint at the same time that a grievance
 was filed under the labor-management agreement.  Further, the parties
 talked about the training program - whether the handicapped should be
 allowed to enter the program.  Gibbs gave Devers a list of 63 hearing
 impaired employees who were class members of the classification.
 
    11.  Since the grievants were not permitted to enter the training
 program as requested, a formal EEO complaint dated May 12, 1981 was
 filed by Stifter and Ailstock on behalf of all GPO deaf employees.  /5/
 The complaint stated, in substance, that both named employees had
 applied for a training program for assignment as printer-proofreader;
 that they were not selected for the program because of their deafness
 since it required they demonstrate an ability to read and enunciate
 clearly, which requirement automatically eliminates deaf applicants;
 that GPO insists upon term reading for proofreaders, which excludes deaf
 employees;  that the aforesaid requirement discriminates against deaf
 applicants in violation of Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of
 1973.
 
    12.  During June and July, 1981 the parties discussed the restrictive
 language in Instruction 625.6A which precluded the deaf employees from
 entering the training program.  Finally, GPO changed its position on the
 matter, and it decided to delete the requirement that the trainee
 "enunciate clearly" in order to qualify for the training program.  A
 letter to this effect, dated August 26, 1981 was sent by Respondent to
 William J. Boarman, President of the Union.  It was stated therein that
 the deletion would enable the hearing impaired to an equal opportunity
 to qualify as proofreaders.  /6/
 
    13.  In early September, 1981 DuBow asked Devers if the seven hearing
 impaired applicants who had been disqualified could enter the existent
 training program.  After checking the matter, Devers advised DuBow that
 the program was too far along;  that a new training program would be
 instituted in the new future and the said employees would be eligible to
 compete for it.  DuBow said that, in view thereof, he considered the
 complaint closed.
 
    14.  On October 15, 1981 GPO issued an amendment to Instruction
 625.6A deleting the words "and enunciate clearly" therefrom.  Thus, in
 the Training Program for Assignment as Printer-Proofreader, the sentence
 was changed as follows:  "they will also be required to demonstrate
 their ability to read." The effect of this amendment was to permit the
 hearing impaired employees to qualify for training to become a
 printer-proofreader.
 
    15.  On or about January 6, 1982 /7/ DuBow called Devers.  He
 mentioned that management had just permitted some additional employees,
 who were on the same roster as the one from which the deaf applicants
 were eliminated, to enter the ongoing training program.  Devers spoke to
 management officials and explained this was improper and the hearing
 impaired applicants could reopen their EEO complaint under those
 circumstances.  Accordingly, Respondent decided to allow the seven deaf
 employees, who were affected, to enter the ongoing training program.
 
    16.  Thereafter, and during January, Devers conversed with John H.
 Costello, Superintendent of the Electronic Photocomposition Division.
 The proofreading was under the latter's supervision.  Costello advised
 Devers that the training for the hearing impaired, who were on the night
 shift, would be held on the day shift.  This decision was based on the
 fact that management wanted Mr. McArtor to be the instructor and Dick
 Caswell to be the interpreter for the seven deaf employees, and neither
 individual was available on the night shift.  Further, Costello stated
 there would be less interruption on the day shift since training would
 not have to be stopped for the Congressional Record.
 
    17.  Devers relayed this information to DuBow.  However, the latter
 told the EEO Counselor that this decision was not understood by Stifter,
 Ailstock or himself.  Whereupon Devers suggested that employees meet
 with her and Costello so that the superintendent could explain in more
 detail why the training must be on the day shift.  A meeting was
 arranged for February 24.
 
    18.  On February 23, Eileen Smith, a unit employee and secretary of
 the Chairman's Chapel for the Union, was advised by the deaf employees
 that a meeting was planned for the following day between management and
 their class representative.  Whereupon Smith spoke to Costello on
 February 24, who confirmed the fact that a meeting was scheduled that
 day at 3:30 p.m.  The superintendent also informed her that the Union
 would not be a party thereto;  that the meeting was none of her business
 but he divulged it since others were aware of the matter.  Costello
 explained the meeting concerned the proofreader training program for the
 deaf due to the EEO complaint.  He indicated the hearing impaired
 employees were concerned about day time training, but that the
 instructor and interpreter were not available on night shift.
 
    19.  At 12:30 p.m. on February 24, Smith spoke to Costello again,
 stating that the Union had a right to be at this scheduled meeting since
 it was the sole negotiator for the training program.  The superintendent
 told Smith that he contacted management who viewed the meeting as an
 extension of the unfair labor practice filed by Union President Boarman.
  Whereupon Smith replied that the Union must be notified and given an
 opportunity to be present.
 
    20.  The meeting on February 24 was held in Costello's office.
 Attendance by the deaf trainees was not mandatory.  Both Stifter and
 Ailstock were told to appear by DuBow, and all three individuals
 attended.  Various representatives of management, /8/ apart from Devers
 and Costello appeared at the meeting.  Another hearing impaired
 employee, Ralph Brewer, was present as a representative of the class,
 and an interpreter for the deaf also attended.
 
    Costello advised those present that the purpose of the meeting was to
 plan a schedule of training for proofreading.  He announced that the
 secretary of the Union would not be present.  /9/ The superintendent
 explained that since the Congressional Record was printed at night, it
 would interfere with the training program if it were held on the night
 shift.  He informed the deaf employees that McArtor would be their
 instructor and that Caswell would act as the interpreter during
 training.  Since neither individual was available at night, Costello
 asserted this was a further reason which necessitates holding the
 program on the day shift.  The superintendent indicated that the
 training schedule of 14 weeks involved an orientation period during the
 first week of 1 hour per day for a total of 5 hours.  Employees would be
 instructed as to the style manual, mark-ups, reading and proofing.  They
 would be returned to their linotype section for 7 hours.  Costello
 stated, further, that during the second week they would have 1 hour of
 class and then 7 hours of proofreader training.  Since one of the seven
 deaf employees had dropped out of the program, Costello was asked if
 another such employee could be added to the training.  He declined to do
 so, remarking there would be just six hearing impaired individuals in
 the program.  Stifter inquired whether, after the training, they could
 return to the shift, and Costello stated they had a "high priority" and
 could do so.  The superintendent mentioned that the hearing impaired
 employees would do silent reading.  /10/ Some discussion ensued
 regarding starting the following Monday, and Ailstock said they would
 have to speak with the other deaf trainees.  The meeting lasted between
 30-60 minutes.
 
    21.  Costello testified, and I find, that no proofreader training had
 been instituted in the past for hearing impaired employees.  He made the
 decision to have 5 hours of familiarization in the training program,
 which is not included in the regular training program (13 weeks), and
 thus results in a 14 week program.  This matter was never the subject of
 negotiation with the Union.
 
    22.  Training for the six hearing impaired employees began on March
 1.  They reported on the day shift with 5 hours of orientation between
 the first week and then the employees returned to the linotype area.  In
 the second week they had 5 more hours of instruction and then worked in
 the proofroom.  The remaining weeks involved training in the proofroom,
 but no interpreter was present.
 
    These employees were put in an area of the proofreading room set
 aside from third shift employees.  Each deaf trainee worked in a
 separate cubicle, and did silent reading.  The day shift journeymen
 proofreaders were 75-100 feet away, and said individuals did not act as
 partners.  The nearest supervisor was located 10-15 feet from the
 trainees.  Decisions as to the placement of the deaf trainees were made
 by Robert Bibeau, foreman of the day shift.  He also decided the work
 these employees should do.  No input was requested from the Union in
 this regard, nor did the bargaining representative participate in any
 negotiations concerning the location of these deaf employees, the hours
 of training or the details thereof.
 
    23.  During the course of the training for the deaf employees, the
 latter were given tests and evaluations similar to those utilized in
 training regular hearing employees.  However, Instructor McArtor did not
 provide the Union with the results of such tests or evaluations, nor
 were they discussed with the bargaining representatives.  /11/ None of
 the deaf trainees finished the training program since they were unable
 to perform satisfactorily.  They dropped out at the suggestion of
 McArtor and Bibeau.
 
                                Conclusions
 
    It is contended by General Counsel that the meeting held on February
 24 involved the EEO complaint filed by the deaf employees in May, 1981.
 As such, it is urged, the session was concerned with a "grievance"
 relating to employment as a claimed violation of a law affecting
 conditions of employment.  Thus, under the Authority's decision in
 Internal Revenue Service, Fresno Service Center, Fresno, California, 7
 FLRA No. 54, it is argued the aforesaid meeting held by Respondent was a
 "formal discussion" within the meaning of Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the
 Statute.  Having failed to give advance notice thereof to the Union, and
 an opportunity to be present, Respondent has allegedly run afoul of this
 section and thus violated Section 7116(a)(1) and (8) of the Statute.
 
    Two more issues are raised by the General Counsel herein.  It is
 asserted that the February 24 meeting constituted an unlawful bypass of
 the Union;  that Respondent dealt directly with employees at this
 session and promised them benefits as well as negotiated the training
 program - all in violation of Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.
  Further, General Counsel asserts that management unilaterally changed
 its training program when it implemented such program for the deaf
 employees;  that those changes resulted in a substantial and adverse
 impact upon unit employees;  that Respondent's failure to notify the
 Union afforded it an opportunity to bargain regarding such changes and
 the implementation of the program for the deaf employees violated
 Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.
 
    There are thus presented for determination the following issues:  (1)
 whether the meeting on February 24 was a formal discussion within the
 meaning of Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute so as to require
 notification to the Union and an opportunity to attend thereat;  (2)
 whether the discussion at the meeting on February 24 was tantamount to a
 by-passing of the Union and an attempt to bargain directly with
 employees in violations of Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute;
 (3) whether Respondent, in implementing the training program for the
 deaf employees without notifying the Union and affording it an
 opportunity to negotiate as to its impact and implementation, violated
 Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.
 
    (1) In disputing the claim that the meeting on February 24
 constituted a formal discussion under Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the
 Statute, Respondent makes two principal arguments.  Firstly, it
 maintains the meeting was not held, as alleged in the complaint herein,
 to discuss the EEO complaint.  There was no pending grievance or EEO
 matter, and since the session was held to explain why the deaf employees
 must be trained on the day shift, the meeting did not deal with general
 conditions of employment so as to constitute a formal discussion.
 Secondly, Respondent avers that since attendance of employees thereat
 was not mandatory, the key element is missing in order to characterize
 the discussion as "formal." It is maintained that in all prior cases,
 where the Authority has found such a discussion to exist, meetings were
 called 0y,an employer at which attendance of employees was required.
 
    Upon reviewing the entire record herein, I am constrained to agree
 with Respondent that the February 24 meeting was not arranged to discuss
 or consider the EEO complaint.  After considering the grievance filed by
 the hearing impaired employees, Respondent concluded in the summer of
 1981 that it would change its Instruction 625.6A and thereby permit
 these individuals to qualify for the training program.  It so advised
 the Union President on August 28, 1981.  Moreover, in January, 1982
 Respondent agreed to allow the six deaf applicants to enter the ongoing
 program.  Since the employees objected to day shift training, the
 meeting was set up so that Superintendent Costello could explain the
 necessity for running the program on the day shift.  Thus it appears
 management wanted to clarify this aspect of the training schedule, and
 no attempt was made to resolve the EEO complaint or the underlying
 grievance.  I conclude that the meeting was not undertaken to discuss
 the merits of the EEO matter nor to dispose of same.  /12/ Cf. Internal
 Revenue Service, Fresno et al., supra.
 
    The basis for an employer's obligation to include the bargaining
 representative in particular discussions involving working conditions is
 set forth in Section 7114 of the Statute.  Pertinent language in this
 respect is as follows:
 
          Section 7114.  Representation rights and duties
 
          "(a)(2) An exclusive representative of an appropriate unit in
       an agency shall be given the opportunity to be represented at--
 
          (A) any formal discussion between one or more representatives
       of the agency and one or more employees in the unit or their
       representatives concerning any grievance, or any personnel policy
       or practice or other general conditions of employment . . . ."
       (Underscoring supplied).
 
    Respondent takes the position that the meeting on February 24 was
 arranged so that management could explain to DuBow - the deaf employees'
 counsel - the reasons for training these individuals on the day shift.
 Since the session was not called to deal with the employees and their
 presence was neither requested nor required, Respondent insists the
 meeting is not properly deemed a formal discussion under the aforesaid
 statutory language.
 
    While it is true that past cases invariably dealt with meetings which
 employees were called upon to attend, I am not persuaded that this
 factor is the sine quo non for concluding that a discussion was formal
 in nature.  Although it is a consideration, and one of several criteria
 set forth in Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security
 Administration, Bureau of Field Operations, San Francisco, California,
 10 FLRA No. 24 (1982), the absence of mandatory attendance of employees
 should not be determinative as to whether a formal discussion ensued.
 /13/ This conclusion seems warranted from a literal reading of Section
 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute wherein it is declared that such a
 discussion may exist between management and its employees or their
 representative.  It would thus appear that if employees are not called
 to attend such a session, but are duly represented thereat, an employer
 may not disregard the bargaining agent and deal with such representative
 regarding conditions of employment.
 
    In view of the fact that no contrary conclusion in the public sector
 has been called to my attention - and this may well be a case of first
 impression - I shall conclude that a formal discussion may exist under
 those circumstances.  Record facts disclose that the day employees were
 represented at the February 24 meeting by DuBow, with whom the session
 was arranged as their representative.  Assuming, argumendo that the
 discussion was between management and DuBow, I am satisfied that, under
 the Statute, the meeting may be termed "formal." /14/
 
    In numerous cases the Authority has been called up to decide whether
 meetings may properly be described as involving "formal discussions"
 under Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.  As a guideline to such
 determination the Authority set forth certain criteria in Department of
 Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, et al.,
 supra.  It mentioned, as relative thereto, the following:
 
          (a) whether the individual who held the discussions is merely a
       first-line supervisor or is higher in the management hierarchy;
 
          (b) whether any other management representatives attended;
 
          (c) where the individual meetings took place (i.e., in the
       supervisor's office, at each employee's desk, or elsewhere);
 
          (d) how long the meetings lasted;
 
          (e) how the meetings were called (i.e., with formal advance
       written notice or more spontaneously and informally);
 
          (f) whether a formal agenda was established for the meetings;
 
          (g) whether each employee's attendance was mandatory;  or
 
          (h) the manner in which the meetings were conducted (i.e.,
       whether the employee's identity and comments were noted or
       transcribed).
 
    Applying those standards to the case at bar, I am constrained to
 conclude that the discussions which took place at the February 24
 meeting were formal in nature.  The session was held by a high ranking
 official of Respondent in his office.  As Superintendent of the
 Electronic Photocomposition Division, Costello was a top management
 representative.  In attendance thereat were other agency personnel who
 may be described as high in the management hierarchy:  labor relations
 specialist McCaughan, and General Counsel representative Spaulding.  It
 was not a spontaneous gathering but a planned meeting to discuss at
 least one aspect of the training program, and it was of considerable
 duration.  Prescinding from the voluntary attendance on the part of the
 employees -- which may not be critical in any event - the record
 reflects that the criteria set down by the Authority for a formal
 discussion are present herein.
 
    Respondent insists that, in any event, the meeting on February 24 was
 not concerned with personnel policies or general conditions of
 employment which warranted union representation thereat.  It contends
 the meeting was limited to explaining why the training for the deaf had
 to be scheduled for the day shift, and that the discussion had no effect
 upon other employees in the unit.
 
    Contrary to Respondent's position, I am persuaded that the discussion
 dealt with employment conditions affecting unit employees.  Although
 Costello may have intended to confine his remarks to an explanation
 regarding the day shift training, the record reflects that other
 subjects were mentioned.  Thus, the superintendent also indicated who
 the instructor would be for the hearing impaired employees and which
 person would be their interpreter.  Costello further stated that an
 orientation session of one hour per day for the first week would take
 place;  that the deaf employees would return to their section thereafter
 during the first week;  that the second week would involve one hour of
 class prior to proofreader training;  that these employees would do
 silent reading.  In response to a query from a deaf employee, Costello
 refused to allow another hearing impaired employee replace the seventh
 individual who had dropped from the training program.  Upon being asked
 by Stifter whether the deaf employees could return to their shift
 thereafter, Costello indicated they could do so.
 
    The foregoing convinces me that the meeting on February 24 was not an
 impromptu session, and that it was not, as argued by Respondent, a brief
 discussion concerning particular problems of a few employees.  Cf.
 Office of Program Operations, Field Operations, Social Security
 Administration, San Francisco Region, 9 FLRA No. 9.  It involved unit
 employees and dealt with orientation of the training program for such
 individuals as well as other matters affecting their employment.  A
 vital condition of employment involved the need for training the deaf on
 the day shift since the shift differential in pay amounted to a loss for
 them of 15%.  Under those circumstances the Union was entitled to be
 notified in advance of the meeting, and should have been afforded an
 opportunity to attend thereat.  /15/ Since it is clear that the Union
 was not so notified, nor given such opportunity, I conclude that
 Respondent did not adhere to Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.
 Accordingly, I find it violated Section 7116(a)(1) and (8) thereof.
 
    (2) An attempt was made in the public sector to describe
 communications between management and unit employees which may properly
 be characterized as a by-pass of the bargaining representative.  This
 occurred in Department of the Navy, Naval Air Station, Fallon, Nevada,
 A/SLMR No. 432, FLRC No. 74A-80, 3 FLRC 697 (1975).  The Federal Labor
 Relations Council declared that:
 
          "Communications which, for example, amount to an attempt to
       by-pass the exclusive representative and bargain directly with
       employees, or which urge employees to put pressure on the
       representative to take a certain course of action, or which
       threaten or promise benefits to employees are violative of the
       Order."
 
 Where any agency conducted a meeting with unit employees and threatened
 them, as well as promised benefits, the Authority has adhered to the
 foregoing criteria and found such conduct to amount to a by-passing of
 the Union.  Iowa National Guard and National Guard Bureau, 8 FLRA No.
 101.
 
    However, in the case at bar, I am not persuaded that the meeting on
 February 24 is reflective of an intent on the part of Respondent to
 by-pass the Union as bargaining representative.  None of Costello's
 remarks thereat constituted threats, or promises of benefits, to
 employees.  The superintendent informed the deaf employees in attendance
 and their counsel as to some of the details regarding the training
 program.  Further, I am not convinced that Costello was attempting to
 negotiate or bargain with these employees.  Support for this conclusion
 is found in the fact that management arranged to meet with the counsel
 for the deaf employees.  While it may be true that a formal discussion
 ensued, which necessitates notification to the Union an opportunity to
 be present, it does not follow that the communications at the meeting
 required the conclusion that the bargaining representative was by-passed
 in violation of Section 7116(a)(5) of the Statute.  See Internal Revenue
 Service (District, Region, National Office Unit), 11 FLRA No. 23.  It is
 true that there were one or two questions by employees and responses by
 Costello regarding the training program.  Nevertheless, they arose out
 of the explanation given by Costello as to the forthcoming training
 session, and they are not tantamount to an effort by Respondent to
 bargain with the deaf employees with respect thereto.  In sum, I find
 that Respondent, in holding a discussion with employees and their
 representatives on February 24 did not by-pass the Union in violation of
 the Statute.
 
    (3) It is now well established that management may not change past
 practices regarding working conditions without first notifying the
 collective bargaining representative, and affording it the opportunity
 to bargain regarding the impact and implementation thereof.  Department
 of the Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, 5 FLRA No. 2.  In the
 instant case Respondent insists a training program has existed prior to
 March 1, 1982;  that the deaf employees - although excluded therefrom as
 ineligibles - were trained in accordance therewith on March 1 and
 thereafter;  and no change occurred which required dealing with the
 Union.
 
    The institution of a training program for the deaf employees
 constituted a change, in my opinion, in respect to those individuals.
 They were never the recipients of any such training, and past practice
 restricted the application of such program to the hearing employees.  To
 this extent, Respondent has effected a change in the working conditions
 of the deaf class.  See U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,
 Case No. 2-CA-1119, OALJ-82-127.  /16/ In the latter case the employer
 instituted a cross-training program for employees.  No such training had
 occurred previously.  It was concluded by the Administrative Law Judge
 that the training sessions were a change from past practice.  Under
 those circumstances, management was obliged to notify the bargaining
 representative before it instituted the program and bargain as to its
 impact and implementation.  Failure to do so was deemed violative of
 Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.
 
    In the case at bar, as in the cited case, the training program was a
 new procedure for the involved employees.  The past practice adhered to
 by management excluded the deaf employees therefrom.  By including these
 employees in the program Respondent necessarily made changes in their
 employment conditions.  Thus, it seems that they were put on the day
 shift, as opposed to their regular night shift operations.  Further,
 they underwent instruction or orientation and silent proofreading during
 the training sessions - all part and parcel of the program made
 applicable to them.  It is true that the establishment of a training
 program is nonnegotiable as being an integral part of the agency's
 authority to assign work.  See National Association of Air Traffic
 Specialists, 6 FLRA No. 101.  No. 101.  Nevertheless, under Section
 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute, parties are free to negotiate the
 procedures for instituting a training session as well as the
 arrangements for employees adversely affected.  /17/ Likewise, the
 Respondent herein was, in my opinion, obliged to notify the Union in
 advance of the institution of the training program for the deaf
 employees, and to afford it the opportunity to negotiate the procedures
 in implementing the program as well as the arrangements for employees
 adversely affected.
 
    Moreover, I am satisfied that, based on the training factors or
 conditions pertaining to the program, i.e., shift change, instruction
 period, silent reading, location of the deaf employees, and shift
 differential pay, the impact was substantial so as to require
 negotiations as aforesaid.  /18/ Having failed to notify the Union in
 advance of the institution of the training program for the deaf
 employees and affording it an opportunity to bargain regarding the
 procedures and the arrangements for adversely affected employees, I
 conclude Respondent has violated Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the
 Statute.
 
    Having concluded, as aforesaid, that the Respondent by its conduct
 has violated Section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute, I recommend
 the Authority issue the following:
 
                                   ORDER
 
    Pursuant to Section 2423.29 of the Rules and Regulations of the
 Federal Labor Relations Authority and Section 7118 of the Statute, the
 Authority hereby orders that the U.S. Government Printing Office shall:
 
    1.  Cease and desist from:
 
          (a) Failing to give Columbia Typographical Union No. 101,
       International Typographical Union, appropriate notice of, and the
       opportunity to be present at, formal discussions between employees
       in the bargaining unit, or their representative, and
       representatives of the agency concerning personnel policies or
       other general conditions of employment.
 
          (b) Unilaterally instituting a training program for hearing
       impaired employees without first notifying Columbia Typographical
       Union No. 101, International Typographical Union, the exclusive
       bargaining representative of said employees, and affording it the
       opportunity to bargain concerning the procedures to be observed in
       implementing such program and concerning appropriate arrangements
       for employees adversely affected thereby.
 
          (c) 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 actions in order to effectuate the
 policies of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute:
 
          (a) Provide the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101,
       International Typographical Union, with appropriate prior
       notification of, and an opportunity to be represented at, formal
       discussions between representatives of the agency and its
       bargaining unit employees or their representative concerning
       personnel policies or practices or other general conditions of
       employment.
 
          (b) Notify the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101,
       International Typographical Union, of any intention to institute a
       training program for hearing impaired employees, and, upon
       request, bargain with it concerning the procedures to be observed
       in implementing such program and concerning appropriate
       arrangements for employees adversely affected.
 
          (c) Post at its facilities at Washington, D.C. 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 the Director of the U.S. Government Printing Office, and
       shall be posted and maintained by him for 60 consecutive days
       thereafter in conspicuous places, including all bulletin boards
       and places where notices to employees are customarily posted.
       Reasonable steps shall be taken by the Director to insure that
       said notices are not altered, defaced or covered by any other
       material.
 
          (d) Notify the Regional Director, Region III, 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.
 
                                       WILLIAM NAIMARK
                                       Administrative Law Judge
 
 Dated:  March 25, 1983
          Washington, D.C.
 
 
 
 
 
                                 APPENDIX
 
                          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 fail to provide the Columbia Typographical Union No.  101,
 International Typographical Union, with appropriate prior notification
 of, and the opportunity to be present at, formal discussions between
 employees in the bargaining unit, or their representative, and
 representatives of the agency, concerning personnel policies or
 practices or other general conditions of employment.  WE WILL NOT
 unilaterally institute a training program for hearing impaired employees
 without first notifying Columbia Typographical Union No. 101,
 International Typographical Union, the exclusive bargaining
 representative of said employees, and affording it the opportunity to
 bargain concerning the procedures to be observed in implementing such
 program and concerning appropriate arrangements for employees adversely
 affected thereby.  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 provide the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101, International
 Typographical Union with appropriate prior notification of, and an
 opportunity to be represented at, formal discussions between
 representatives of the agency and its bargaining unit employees or their
 representative concerning personnel policies or other general conditions
 of employment.  WE WILL notify the Columbia Typographical Union No. 101,
 International Typographical Union, of any intention to institute a
 training program for hearing impaired employees, and, upon request,
 bargain with it concerning the procedures to be observed in implementing
 such program and concerning appropriate arrangements for employees
 adversely affected.
                                       . . . (Agency or Activity)
 
 DATED:  . . .  BY:  . . . (Signature) This Notice must remain posted for
 60 consecutive days from the date of posting and must not be altered,
 defaced or covered by any other material.  If employees have any
 questions concerning this Notice, or compliance with any of its
 provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional Director,
 Federal Labor Relations Authority, Region III, whose address is:  1111
 18th Street, NW., Suite 700, P.O. Box 33758, Washington, D.C.
 20033-0758 and whose telephone number is:  (202) 653-8507.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ With respect to the Judge's finding that the impact of the
 training program was substantial, the Authority notes that where an
 agency in the exercise of a management right under section 7106 of the
 Statute changes conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees, a
 statutory duty to negotiate comes into play if the impact or reasonably
 foreseeable impact of the change on bargaining unit employees is more
 than de minimis.  Department of Health and Human Services, Social
 Security Administration, Chicago Region, 15 FLRA No. 174 (1984) and U.S.
 Government Printing Office, 13 FLRA 203 (1983).
 
 
    /2/ In adopting the Judge's conclusion that Respondent violated
 section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute, the Authority finds that
 Respondent's violative conduct was limited to the unilateral change on
 March 1, 1982, of certain aspects of the existing proofreader training
 program to deal with the special problems of the hearing impaired rather
 than the unilateral institution of a new program as found by the Judge.
 
    With respect to the Judge's conclusion that the February 24, 1982
 meeting, which grew out of but was not part of the previously resolved
 Equal Employment Opportunity complaint filed by two of the hearing
 impaired employees, constituted a formal discussion, compare Bureau of
 Government Financial Operations, Headquarters, 15 FLRA No. 87 (1984),
 petition for review filed, National Treasury Employees Union v. FLRA,
 No. 84-1493 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 1, 1984), where the Authority in finding no
 formal discussion concluded that a grievance within the meaning of
 section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute does not encompass a statutory
 appeal.
 
 
    /3/ This manual is a style book produced by GPO for typesetting - it
 sets forth type faces, sizes and indentions for all GPO work, samples of
 printed material, spelling, word breakage and capitalization.  It is the
 bible for copy preparation.  When a manuscript comes in for printing,
 the proofreader marks it so the printer or operator can read it and
 follow a certain style and italics.
 
 
    /4/ As many as 20 hearing impaired employees applied but, except for
 seven such individuals, they did not make the list.
 
 
    /5/ Sy DuBow affiliated with the National Center for Law and the
 Deaf, also signed the complaint as counsel for complainants.
 
 
    /6/ On August 28, 1981 a copy of this letter was sent from Devers to
 Sy DuBow and Ms. Margaret Mead, District Director, EEO Commission.  In
 both instances Devers stated the agency deemed the EEO complaint moot
 and the matter resolved.
 
 
    /7/ Unless otherwise indicated, all dates hereinafter mentioned are
 in 1982.
 
 
    /8/ Also attending were labor relations specialist, David P.
 McCaughan, and Drew Spaulding from the General Counsel's office.
 
 
    /9/ Both Costello and Devers testified that the superintendent asked
 the deaf employees at the outset of the meeting if they wanted their
 Union to be present;  that the employees replied in the negative.
 Stifter and Ailstock testified Costello did not ask that question.
 Since the obligation of an employer, if it is found to exist under the
 particular circumstances, is to notify the Union in advance and allow it
 to attend, I find it unnecessary to resolve the conflict in these
 testimonies.
 
 
    /10/ Silent reading involves one person, i.e., the deaf employee,
 reading both proof and copy.  Team reading, performed by