18:0358(47)CA - Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Kansas City, MO and NFFE Local 29 -- 1985 FLRAdec CA
[ v18 p358 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
18 FLRA No. 47 U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS KANSAS CITY DISTRICT KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI Respondent and NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 29 Charging Party Case No. 7-CA-30395 DECISION AND ORDER This matter is before the Authority pursuant to the Regional Director's "Order Transferring Case to the Federal Labor Labor Relations Authority" in accordance with section 2429.1(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. Upon consideration of the entire record in this case, including the stipulation of facts, accompanying exhibits, and the contentions of the parties, /1/ the Authority finds: The complaint herein alleges that the Respondent violated section 7116 (a)(1) and (5) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) by refusing to bargain over the procedures to be used for the collection of debts owed to the United States Government by unit employees under the Debt Collection Act of 1982, P.L. 97-365 (hereinafter the Act). /2/ The record indicates that on or about April 18, 1983, the National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 29 (the Union) requested bargaining over "a change in conditions of employment as promulgated by (the Act)" and suggested that such bargaining take place in conjunction with other matters which were then the subject of mid-term bargaining under provisions of the parties' agreement. The record indicates that the parties subsequently met but that the Respondent refused to bargain concerning the Act based on its view that there was no obligation to bargain until such time as Government-wide or agency rules or regulations were prescribed to implement the provisions of the Act. /3/ In this connection, the record indicates that since passage of the Act on October 25, 1982, and continuing through the date of the parties' stipulation, neither the Respondent nor higher level agency management has promulgated or implemented regulations concerning the Act. Rather, the Respondent has continued to process debt collection actions under pre-existing regulations and law. As previously noted, the Union sought to bargain over an alleged change in conditions of employment stemming from passage of the Act, and the Respondent's refusal to bargain over the procedures used for the collection of debts was alleged to be violative of the Statute. In the Authority's view, the record in this case fails to establish that there has been a change in conditions of employment affecting unit employees so as to give rise to a duty to bargain. /4/ Thus, the record indicates that, as of the date of the stipulation in this case, the Respondent had not implemented the Act or applied any of its provisions to unit employees, and had made no change in the method of debt collection. Rather, since the enactment of the Act, debt collection actions had been processed in accordance with pre-existing regulations and law. Accordingly, as the complaint herein alleges a failure to bargain over procedures for debt collection under the Act, and as there had been no implementation of the Act or application of its terms to unit employees and no change in their conditions of employment with respect to debt collection actions had occurred, the Respondent was under no obligation to bargain over the Union's proposals and its refusal to do so was not violative of the Statute. /5/ Based on the foregoing, the Authority concludes that the Respondent has not violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute and shall order that the complaint be dismissed. ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 7-CA-30395 be, and it hereby is, dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., June 7, 1985 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ The General Counsel's brief was not timely filed and therefore has not been considered by the Authority. The Respondent's response thereto also has not been considered. /2/ Subsequent to the issuance of the complaint herein, the parties stipulated that the Respondent's refusal to bargain concerned a particular contract article relating to the Act which was proposed by the Charging Party. /3/ The Act references 5 U.S.C. 5514(b)(1) which provides, as here relevant, that "(t)he head of each agency shall prescribe regulations, subject to the approval of the President, to carry out this section(.)" The authority of the President to approve such regulations was subsequently delegated to the Office of Personnel Management. See Sec. 8(1), Executive Order 11609, as amended, reprinted in 3 U.S.C. 301 app. at 372 (1982). /4/ See, e.g., Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia, 9 FLRA 774 (1982) and case cited therein at note 4. /5/ Of course, when steps are taken by the Respondent to apply the terms of the Act to unit employees which would affect their conditions of employment, the Respondent would be obligated to notify the Union or such intended changes and to afford the latter an opportunity to bargain. See Internal Revenue Service, 17 FLRA No. 103 (1985), wherein the Authority noted that where agency management seeks to change an established condition of employment in a manner which is not precluded by an existing collective bargaining agreement, it is obligated to notify the exclusive representative and afford the latter an opportunity to bargain either over the substance of the change where appropriate or over its impact and implementation. At the same time, the Authority found that there exists no statutory obligation to bargain over proposals initiated by an exclusive representative during the term of an agreement which are unrelated to changes in conditions of employment initiated by agency management.