18:0508(68)NG - AFGE Local 1409 and Army Adjutant General, Publications Center, Baltimore, MD -- 1985 FLRAdec NG
[ v18 p508 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
18 FLRA No. 68 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1409 Union and U.S. ARMY ADJUTANT GENERAL PUBLICATIONS CENTER, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND Agency Case No. 0-NG-843 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE The petition for review in this case comes before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (the Authority) pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and presents an issue concerning the negotiability of the following Union proposal: The present method of distribution of pay to bargaining unit employees shall remain in full force and effect, as heretofore, until the expiration of the agreement. Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determination. The record indicates that employees at the Baltimore Publications Center formerly had their paychecks personally distributed to them at their workplace. The Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center subsequently announced that a Mail-Only pay policy would be instituted whereby these employees would in the future only have their paychecks delivered by mail to an address designated by them. In response, the Union submitted the proposal at issue in this appeal. The Agency does not argue that this proposal violates law, rule or regulation. Rather, the Agency's sole claim in this case is that the proposal is not within the duty to bargain because it involves a matter outside the discretion of the Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center who is a party to the collective bargaining agreement. Specifically, the Agency asserts that the Baltimore Publications Center, which is an independent field activity reporting to the Adjutant General of the Army, has its payroll services performed by the U.S. Army Reserve Components Personnel and Administrative Center (RCPAC), located in St. Louis, Missouri, which is also an independent field activity reporting to the Adjutant General of the Army. The Agency argues that since the Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center has no control over the separate independent RCPAC in St. Louis, the Publications Center Commander has no authority to bind the RCPAC to a particular method of delivery of Publications Center employee paychecks. Thus, relying on American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2477 and Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (and the case consolidated therewith), 7 FLRA 578 (1982) (Union Proposals XI-XVI), enforced sub nom. Library of Congress v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 699 F.2d 1280 (D.C. Cir. 1983), the Agency concludes that the Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center is obligated only to request or recommend that the RCPAC Commander adopt the paycheck delivery method sought by the Union. The Commander of the Baltimore Publication Center did in fact request an exemption from the Mail-Only Pay Policy, but this request was rejected by the RCPAC Commander. The Agency contends that it met its obligation to bargain by making the request. The Agency's contention in this case cannot be sustained. It is well established that the duty of an agency under the Statute is to negotiate with an exclusive representative of an appropriate unit of its employees concerning conditions of employment affecting them to the extent of its discretion, i.e., except as provided otherwise by Federal law including the Statute, or by Government-wide rule or regulation or by an agency regulation for which a compelling need exists. See e.g. National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt, 3 FLRA 769 (1980), affirmed sub nom. National Treasury Employees Union v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 691 F.2d 553 (D.C. Cir. 1982). It is also well established that an agency may not foreclose bargaining on an otherwise negotiable matter by delegating authority as to that matter only to an organizational level within the agency different from the organizational level of recognition. Rather, under section 7114(b)(2) of the Statute, an agency is obligated to provide representatives who are empowered to negotiate and enter into agreement on all matters within the scope of negotiations. American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3525 and the United States Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals, 10 FLRA 61 (1982) (Union Proposal 1); American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3656 and Federal Trade Commission, Boston Regional Office, Massachusetts, 4 FLRA 702 (1980). The Agency in this case has made no claim whatsoever that the disputed proposal is inconsistent with law, Government-wide rule or regulation or with an agency regulation for which a compelling need exists. In addition, the fact that the Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center requested an exemption from the Mail-Only Pay Policy can be construed to mean that the Agency in this case does not object to bargaining over the proposal. /1/ Therefore, the proposal is within the duty to bargain. Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Agency shall upon request (or as otherwise agreed to by the parties) bargain on this proposal. /2/ Issued, Washington, D.C., June 21, 1985 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Cf. Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO and Department of the Navy, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, 16 FLRA No. 88 (1984) (in which the Authority concluded, in agreement with the agency's express allegation, that a similar proposal concerning method of paycheck delivery constituted a method or means of performing work pursuant to section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute and thus, was outside the duty to bargain). /2/ In deciding that the proposal is within the duty to bargain, the Authority, of course, makes no judgement as to its merits.