19:0673(84)NG - VA Local 1151, AFGE and VA -- 1985 FLRAdec NG



[ v19 p673 ]
19:0673(84)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 19 FLRA No. 84
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
 LOCAL 1151, AMERICAN FEDERATION
 OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
 Union
 
 and
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
 Agency
 
                                            Case No. O-NG-1067
 
                 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 raises an issue concerning the negotiability of the following Union
 proposal:
 
          The activity should make necessary adjustments in the
       performance standards for veterans claims examiners in the
       affected units (rating specialists assuming unit chiefs' roles
       with little or no technical expertise), including serious
       consideration of even a suspension of the performance standards
       for these employees.
 
    Upon careful consideration of the entire record, /1/ the Authority
 makes the following determination.  It is well established that
 proposals which require negotiations concerning the establishment and
 content of performance standards are inconsistent with management's
 rights to assign, work and direct employees pursuant to section
 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute.  /2/ In this regard, the Authority
 finds that the proposal here in dispute seeks to negotiate on the
 content of performance standards themselves.  That is, this proposal
 requires performance standards of veterans claims examiners to be
 adjusted in the circumstances where rating board specialists are
 detailed to positions involving supervising veterans claims examiners
 because, in the Union's view, rating board specialists do not have the
 necessary expertise in veterans claims examination work.  Contrary to
 the Union's claims that the proposal only requires the Agency to "give
 serious consideration to making appropriate adjustments in the affected
 employees' performance standards and appraisal process, up to and
 including suspension of the current standards," the express language of
 the proposal contemplates consideration only with regard to suspension
 of the performance standards and not with regard to "necessary
 adjustments." /3/
 
    While the proposal does not specify with particularity the
 adjustments to be made in the performance standards, it still has the
 effect of requiring the Agency to alter the content of the standards
 themselves.  Consequently, since this proposal would restrict
 management's ability to establish performance standards, it is to the
 same effect as Union Proposal 2 in American Federation of Government
 Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1708 and Milita