19:0415(56)CA - HHS, SSA and AFGE -- 1985 FLRAdec CA



[ v19 p415 ]
19:0415(56)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 19 FLRA No. 56
 
 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND
 HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL
 SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case No. 3-CA-30336
 
                            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 in this case, including the
 stipulation of facts, accompanying exhibits, and the parties'
 contentions, the Authority finds:
 
    The complaint alleges that the Respondent bypassed the exclusive
 representative in violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Federal
 Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) /1/ by
 distributing a memorandum to bargaining unit employees soliciting
 suggestions with respect to improvements in their conditions of
 employment and by holding a "Town Hall" meeting on January 21, 1983,
 with said bargaining unit employees at which their views and suggestions
 were solicited as to matters related to their conditions of employment.
 
    The stipulated record reflects that on January 17, 1982, the
 Respondent provided the American Federation of Government Employees,
 AFL-CIO (Union), the exclusive representative of the Respondent's
 employees, with a copy of a memorandum addressed to all employees of the
 Office of Disability Operations which advised said employees that a
 "Town Hall" meeting would be held on January 21, 1983.  A cover letter
 provided with the memorandum invited the Union to have an observer at
 the meeting.  The memorandum, which was not distributed until January
 20, 1983, also informed the employees that the Respondent wished them to
 submit their suggestions or initiatives as to improvements which the
 Respondent could make in regard to the conditions of employment of
 disabled or handicapped employees.  The "Town Hall" meeting was held as
 scheduled on January 21, 1983, and was attended by employees of the
 Office of Disability Operations, including bargaining unit employees.
 Among the topics discussed at the meeting were topics related to the
 conditions of employment of the Respondent's handicapped employees.  The
 Union neither responded to the cover letter inviting it to have an
 observer present nor to the memorandum itself, and no representative of
 the Union attended the "Town Hall" meeting.
 
    The Respondent takes the position that neither the memorandum nor the
 holding of the "Town Hall" meeting constituted an unlawful bypass.
 Thus, it contends that both the memorandum and