19:0827(101)CA - HHS, SSA Region V, Chicago, IL and AFGE Local 3239 -- 1985 FLRAdec CA



[ v19 p827 ]
19:0827(101)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 19 FLRA No. 101
 
 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
 SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, REGION V
 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3239, AFL-CIO
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case No. 5-CA-699
 
                          DECISION AND ORDER /1A/
 
    The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached Decision in the
 above-entitled proceeding finding that the Respondent had not engaged in
 the unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint, and recommending
 that the complaint be dismissed in its entirety.  Thereafter, the
 General Counsel filed exceptions to the Judge's Decision.
 
    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, conclusions and recommended Order, except as modified
 herein.
 
    The complaint, in essence, alleges that the Respondent, Department of
 Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Region V,
 Chicago, Illinois (SSA), violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the
 Statute by changing bargaining unit employees' conditions of employment
 without notifying the Charging Party, the American Federation of
 Government Employees, Local 3239, AFL-CIO, and providing it with the
 opportunity to request negotiations concerning the procedures to be
 observed and the appropriate arrangements for employees adversely
 affected by the change.
 
    The Judge recommended dismissal of the complaint.  The Authority
 agrees but for different reasons which follow.
 
    The facts here presented indicate that the Charging Party represents
 various employees of SSA's Region V including claims representatives
 located in the Detroit Southwest Branch Office, the Pontiac District
 Office and the Royal Oak Branch Office.  These employees are part of a
 nationwide consolidated bargaining unit represented by the American
 Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO.  The circumstances giving
 rise to the alleged unfair labor practice herein arose out of a decision
 by the State of Michigan, Department of Social Services (DSS), to
 require 6,000 of its disability claimants, previously denied
 Supplemental Security Income benefits by SSA, to refile for the SSA
 benefits.  Representatives of DSS and SSA met and worked out some
 procedures for processing the cases involved in the "DSS Referral
 Program." These procedures were sent out to all the SSA District Offices
 in Michigan.  It was decided at certain SSA offices that it would be
 more expeditious to have the SSA claims representatives travel to the
 local DSS office to interview the claimants following the DSS interview.
  Thus, certain claims representatives at the above-mentioned offices
 were required to travel to and work in local DSS offices for short
 periods of time.  This requirement that unit employees travel to and
 perform work in DSS offices is alleged to constitute the change in
 conditions of employment giving rise to a duty to bargain procedures and
 appropriate arrangements.
 
    The record further indicates that there are approximately twenty-one
 claims representatives employed at the three offices involved herein.
 Of that number, five or six employees were actually engaged in traveling
 to and interviewing claimants at local DSS offices.  More specifically,
 of the four claims representatives at the Detroit Southwest Branch
 Office, one employee made four separate visits over the course of about
 five weeks to the DSS office, located approximately four miles from the
 SSA office, and on one additional occasion, two of the four employees
 visited the DSS office.  At the Pontiac District Office, one of the five
 claims representatives employed at that time made six separate trips to
 the DSS office over the course of several months;  the other four were
 not required to do so at all.  The DSS office is located a few miles
 from the SSA office.  At the Royal Oak Branch Office, two of the twelve
 claims representatives alternated going to the DSS office on six
 occasions;  the other ten did not go there at all.  The distance between
 the DSS and SSA offices is six or seven blocks.  The parties agreed that
 the work performed by these employees at the DSS offices was
 substantially the same as the work performed at the SSA offices.  In
 fact, the working environment at one DSS office was quite similar to
 that of the SSA office.  The record also indicates that, on the days
 when claims representatives were scheduled to visit DSS offices, they
 reported first to the SSA office and then returned to the SSA office at
 the end of the day.  Travel expenses incurred by the employees were paid
 by SSA.  As is evident from the record, claims representatives are
 expected to travel and have traveled to other locations to perform their
 duties.  In terms of how the travel issue has been treated in the past,
 the record indicates that, at the Detroit Southwest Branch Office, there
 was a practice of rotating travel and posting travel schedules.
 Whenever there was a two-to-four month break between schedules, the
 Charging Party was consulted on the new schedule.
 
    The Respondent alleged, and the Judge found, that the changes did not
 have a substantial enough effect on unit employees to require
 bargaining.  The Authority has previously held that "where an agency in
 exercising a management right under section 7106 of the Statute, changes
 conditions of employment of unit employees . . . , the statutory duty to
 negotiate comes into play if the change results in an impact upon unit
 employees or such impact was reasonably foreseeable." U.S. Government
 Printing Office, 13 FLRA 203, 204-05 (1983) (Issued subsequent to the
 Judge's decision herein.).  The Authority thereafter held in Department
 of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Chicago
 Region, 15 FLRA No. 174 (1984), that "no duty to bargain arises from the
 exercise of a management right that results in an impact or a reasonably
 foreseeable impact on bargaining unit employees which is no more than de
 minimis." In order to determine whether the exercise of a management
 right will result in a change in a condition of employment having an
 impact or a reasonably foreseeable impact on bargaining unit employees
 which is more than de minimis, the totality of the facts and
 circumstances presented in each case must be carefully examined.
 
    In the instant case, and for the reasons which follow, I find that
 the impact or reasonably foreseeable impact of the change on unit
 employees' conditions of employment was no more than de minimis.
 Accordingly, it follows that SSA was under no obligation to notify the
 Charging Party and afford it an opportunity to request bargaining
 pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute concerning the
 procedures to be observed in implementing the change as well as on
 appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by the change.
  In reaching this result, I note with respect to the nature of the
 change on conditions of employment of unit employees that the work
 duties performed by the affected employees in the DSS offices were
 substantially the same as those performed while employees were in the
 SSA offices;  the DSS offices were located close to the SSA offices with
 the distances ranging from six or seven blocks to four miles;  the hours
 of work of the affected employees appear to have remained unchanged and,
 in fact, employees continued to report to their respective SSA offices
 at both the beginning and end of the workday;  the work environment in
 at least one DSS office was similar to that of an SSA office;  and
 employees were compensated for their travel expenses by SSA.  Moreover,
 the requirement that employees travel to and perform work in DSS offices
 was a short-lived, temporary response to an immediate need to process
 6,000 claims, and the affected employees traveled to and worked in the
 various DSS offices for periods of time ranging from only one day to a
 total of no more than six days.  The total number of employees affected
 by the change was merely five or six out of a substantially larger
 number of employees represented in the nationwide consolidated unit.
 Finally, I note that any bargaining which may have occurred between the
 parties regarding similar changes in the past was limited to
 consultation concerning the posting of new travel schedules.
 
    Based on the totality of the facts and circumstances presented in
 this case, and noting particularly the slight nature of the change;  the
 short-lived, temporary duration of the change;  the few employees who
 were affected relative to the total number of employees represented in
 the consolidated unit;  and the absence of any demonstrated bargaining
 history or past practice according to which the parties have handled
 similar changes in the past, I conclude that the impact or reasonably
 foreseeable impact of the change in unit employees' conditions of
 employment herein was no more than de minimis.  Therefore, SSA was under
 no obligation to notify the Charging Party and afford it an opportunity
 to request bargaining pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the
 Statute.
 
    While giving consideration here to such factors as the nature of the
 change (e.g., the extent of the change in work duties, location, office
 space, hours, loss of benefits or wages and the like);  the temporary,
 recurring or permanent nature of the change (i.e., duration and
 frequency of the change affecting unit employees);  the number of
 employees affected or foreseeably affected by the change;  the size of
 the bargaining unit;  and the extent to which the parties may have
 established through negotiation or past practice procedures and
 appropriate arrangements concerning analogous changes in the past, in
 determining that the impact or reasonably foreseeable impact of the
 change in conditions of employment of unit employees was no more than de
 minimis and therefore did not give rise to a duty to bargain procedure
 and appropriate arrangements, it should be noted that such
 considerations are not intended to constitute an all-inclusive list.
 Further, the determination as to whether the exercise of a management
 right under section 7106(a) of the Statute gives rise to a duty to
 bargain under section 7106(b)(2) and (3) will not necessarily require in
 every case a determination as to whether the exercise of the management
 right results in a change in a condition of employment having an impact
 or a reasonably foreseeable impact on bargaining unit employees which is
 more than de minimis, especially where there is no indication that the
 nature and degree of impact is at issue in the case.  However, in cases
 where it must be determined whether the nature and degree of impact is
 more than de minimis, factors such as those listed above will be
 considered.  The application of these factors is not intended to be
 mechanistic.  As stated previously, the totality of facts and
 circumstances must be examined in each case and other or additional
 considerations may be applicable in other factual situations and will be
 applied where they are appropriate and relevant to the disposition of
 those cases.
 
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       Chairman
 
 
 
 Concurring Opinion of Member McGinnis:
 
    I concur in the rationale and result reached in Acting Chairman
 Frazier's opinion.  However, I would like to add some additional points.
 
    In Internal Revenue Service, 17 FLRA No. 103 (1985), petition for
 review filed sub nom. National Treasury Employees Union v. FLRA, No.
 85-1361 (D.C. Cir. June 14, 1985), a case involving the exclusive
 representative's right to initiate bargaining during the term of the
 collective bargaining agreement, the Authority noted that Congress
 intended the provisions of the Statute be interpreted in a manner
 consistent with the requirements of an effective and efficient
 Government.  /1/ In accordance with this concern, Congress set forth a
 list of rights reserved to management in section 7106(a) and (b)(1) of
 the Statute.  /2/ In this regard Representative Udall stated that it was
 the intent of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, in
 fashioning a labor relations bill, to "navigate a course which gives
 Federal employees greater rights in labor relations than they have
 heretofore enjoyed.  At the same time we have preserved the rights of
 management to run the shop." /3/ He later stated that the proposed
 legislation "moves to meet some of the legitimate concerns of the
 Federal employee unions as an integral part of what is basically a bill
 to give management the power to manage and the flexibility that it
 needs." /4/
 
    Therefore, while management has certain reserved rights to take
 action without being required to bargain with respect to matters falling
 within section 7106(a) and (b)(1) of the Statute, the Statute also
 provides in section 7106(b)(2) and (3) for bargaining over the
 procedures that management will follow in exercising such rights and
 appropriate arrangements for employees who may be adversely affected
 thereby.  /5/
 
    These section 7106(b)(2) and (3) rights may come into play in one of
 two ways.  First, the exclusive representative may submit proposals
 during full scale collective bargaining negotiations regarding the
 procedures to be observed and arrangements for employees adversely
 affected when management subsequently exercises a section 7106(a) or
 (b)(1) right.  /6/ Such negotiations have the advantage of providing
 clear guidelines in the event of future actions and lead to
 predictability and promote a more harmonious labor-management
 relationship.  Furthermore, it is more efficient to provide, where
 possible, procedures for the implementation of future changes than to
 await the point when the period for negotiations is constrained by
 management's need for action.
 
    Secondly, bargaining obligations may be created when management
 exercises its section 7106(a) and (b)(1) rights to change conditions of
 employment.  Thus, in the absence of negotiated procedures to implement
 such changes, management is obligated to notify the exclusive
 representative of its decision /7/ and, within the scope of that
 particular change, /8/ to bargain upon request over the procedures to be
 observed in effectuating the change and regarding appropriate
 arrangements for adversely affected employees.  /9/ Such bargaining is
 limited in its scope to those issues set forth in section 7106(b)(2) and
 (3) of the Statute and is distinguishable, as it serves a different
 purpose, from negotiations involving changes which are substantially
 negotiable.
 
    In reviewing alleged violations of section 7106(b)(2) and (3) rights
 in both of the above contexts, the Authority is mindful of the section
 7101(b) mandate in the Statute for an effective and efficient
 Government.  It follows that section 7106(b)(2) and (3) must be
 construed so as to permit management to conduct its business generally
 without unreasonable impediments.  Such an objective cannot be reached
 if management must be required to bargain over every decision it makes,
 regardless of the impact on unit employees.  Decisions are made daily by
 every level of management, and if bargaining were required on each and
 every decision, Government would grind to a halt.  As a means of
 providing a rational standard to be applied in such cases, the Authority
 has adopted a de minimis test.
 
    In my view, a de minimis change is a change which does not have a
 substantive adverse effect upon unit employees.  The purpose of the
 Authority's de minimis test is to insure that negotiations conducted
 pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3) occur in a context that will
 promote and facilitate both improved employee performance and morale,
 and the efficient accomplishment of the operations of the Government.
 Thus the de minimis test must seek to balance the needs of agency
 management to make changes in employee working conditions in order to
 carry out the day-to-day operations in the Government with the right of
 the exclusive representative to negotiate concerning procedures and
 appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by such
 changes.  In order to meet these objectives the application of the de
 minimis test requires the consideration of certain criteria, five of
 which are used in the opinion of the Acting Chairman.  We have mutually
 agreed to use these criteria, as appropriate, in this and future cases.
 
    These five criteria are:
 
    1.  The nature of the change as it affects or foreseeably affects
 unit employees, as individuals or as a whole (e.g., the extent of the
 change in work duties, location, office space, hours, employment, loss
 of benefits and/or wages, etc.);
 
    2.  The temporary, recurring or permanent nature of the change (i.e.,
 the duration and the frequency with which it affects unit employees);
 
    3.  The number of unit employees affected or foreseeably affected by
 the change;
 
    4.  The size of the bargaining unit;
 
    5.  The extent to which the parties may have established, through
 negotiation or past practice, procedures and appropriate arrangements
 concerning analogous changes in the past.
 
    Moreover, in addition to the five criteria set forth above, I believe
 that the parties and Administrative Law Judges of the Authority should
 address, in future cases, the issue of whether or not a sixth factor
 should be used in those cases wherein there is a de minimis issue:
 
    6.  When would the implementation of the change involve or adversely
 affect unit employees.  That is, if the change is to be implemented in
 stages or if there is no initial adverse effect on unit employees from
 the implementation of the change, would post implementation bargaining
 permit the parties to satisfactorily negotiate appropriate arrangements
 for employees adversely affected by the change prior to such effect.
 
    In my view, the type of bargaining envisioned by section 7106(b)(2)
 and (3) of the Statute is limited in its scope and purpose and may not
 be used to unduly impede the exercise of a management right under the
 Statute.  Thus in those circumstances where a change has no immediate or
 reasonably foreseeable adverse effect on unit employees, it is my view
 that Congress did not intend to sanction delay with regard to the
 exercise of management rights by requiring delays in the implementation
 of such changes.  Thus, I would permit management to begin the initial
 implementation of a change so long as negotiations within the meaning of
 section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute could be completed prior to
 the implementation of that portion of the change which would result in
 an adverse effect on employees.
 
    In addition, I would also note that even in those circumstances where
 there is a direct and immediate adverse effect on unit employees from
 the implementation of the management initiated change, section
 7106(b)(2) and (3) negotiations should not be permitted to unduly delay
 or impede the implementation of a management decision involving the
 exercise of a management right.  /10/ As noted, Congress provided that
 the Authority must interpret the Statute "in a manner consistent with
 the requirement of an effective and efficient Government." /11/ Thus,
 where there is timely and sufficient notice furnished to the exclusive
 representative and the date of implementation bears a reasonable
 relationship to the nature and complexity of the proposed change and
 provides for a reasonable period for the completion of negotiations,
 negotiations over procedures and arrangements for adversely affected
 employees should not be permitted by the Authority to unduly delay the
 exercise of management rights.  /12/
 
    Therefore, in future decisions and through other administrative
 reforms, I will seek to modify the Authority's case law and procedures
 in order to insure that the implementation of section 7106(b)(2) and (3)
 of the Statute is consistent with the Authority's duty to promote, and
 not hinder, an effective and efficient Government.
 
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
 
    Having found, in agreement with the Judge, that SSA did not fail to
 meet its duty to bargain in the circumstances of this case and therefore
 did not violate section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute, as alleged,
 the Authority shall order that the complaint be dismissed.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 5-CA-699 be, and it
 hereby is, dismissed.  
 
 Issued, Washington, D.C., August 19, 1985
 
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       Chairman
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS --------------------
 
                                       Case No. 5-CA-699
 
    Daniel H. Green, and
    Donald J. Martin,
       For the Respondent
 
    Michael A. Guerriero,
       For the Charging Party
 
    Charles K. Prock,
       Attorney for the General Counsel Federal Labor Relations Authority
 
    Before:  Isabelle R. Cappello
       Administrative Law Judge
 
                                 DECISION
 
    This is a proceeding under the Federal Service Labor-Management
 Relations Statute (hereinafter referred to as the "Statute"), 92 Stat.
 1191, Chapter 71 of Title 5 U.S.C. 7101, et seq., and the Rules and
 Regulations promulgated thereunder and published in 45 Fed.Reg.
 3482-3524 (1/17/80), 5 CFR 241 et seq.
 
    Pursuant to a Charge filed on September 15, 1980, by the American
 Federation of Government Employees, Local 3239, AFL-CIO (hereinafter
 also referred to as the "Union"), a Complaint and Notice of Hearing was
 filed, on December 5, 1980, by the Chicago Regional Director of the
 Federal Labor Relations Authority (hereinafter, the "Authority").  The
 Complaint alleges that Respondent (also referred to as "SSA"),
 commencing in or about June 1980, and continuing to in or about November
 1980, committed unfair labor practices, in violation of Sections
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute, /13/ by changing the working
 conditions of employees in the bargaining unit of the Union without
 prior notice to the Union and an opportunity for the Union to bargain
 over the impact and implementation of the change on bargaining-unit
 employees.  The change was directing Social Security Administration
 employees, at its Pontiac District, Royal Oak Branch, and Detroit
 Southwest Branch Offices, to travel to offices of the State of Michigan
 Department of Social Services (hereinafter, "DSS" offices).  Respondent
 denies that unfair labor practices have occurred.
 
    A hearing on the matter was held on February 24, 1981, at Detroit,
 MI.  The parties appeared and put on evidence.  Briefs were filed, on
 April 7, 1981, by the General Counsel, and on April 10, 1981, by the
 Respondent.
 
    On April 20, 1981 the General Counsel filed a Statement in Opposition
 to Request for Post-Hearing Judicial Notice.  The document at issue is a
 letter dated August 7, 1980, from the Chicago Regional Director for the
 Authority to the Treasurer, National Counsel of SSA Field Operations
 Locals, AFGE, AFL-CIO.  The document is a dismissal letter explaining
 why a complaint was not being issued on a charge filed by the addressee.
  Such letters are required, pursuant to Rules of the Authority (5 CFR
 2423.10(b));  and they are available to the public.  Respondent attaches
 a copy of the document to its brief, and asks that judicial notice be
 taken of it.  Since the document is in the public domain, judicial
 notice of it will be taken.  However, insufficient facts are stated in
 the letter to allow it to have any precedential value in this
 proceeding.
 
    Based upon the evidence of record, my observation of the demeanor of
 the witnesses, and the briefs filed, the following findings, conclusions
 and recommended order are made.
 
                               Findings /14/
 
    1.  At all times material herein, prior to August 30, 1979, the
 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3239, has been
 certified as the exclusive representative of certain employees of the
 SSA at certain offices, including the Pontiac District Office, Royal Oak
 Branch Office and Detroit Southwest Branch Office.  On August 20, 1979,
 these three offices were included in a nationwide, consolidated
 bargaining unit represented by the American Federation of Government
 Employees, AFL-CIO.  Since this time the American Federation of
 Government Employees, Local 3239, has been the agent of the American
 Federation of Government Employees at, but not limited to, the Pontiac
 District Office, Royal Oak Branch Office, and Detroit Southwest Branch
 Office of the SSA.  The Union is represented, at each office, by an
 on-site representative, who holds the title of a Vice President of the
 Union.  The Union also has executive officers responsible for handling
 consultations for the entire bargaining unit.  Michael A. Guerriero, as
 President of the Union, deals with Donald J. Martin, Area Director of
 the area which includes the Detroit Southwest Branch Office, and Robert
 L. Clevenger, District Manager of the Pontiac District and the Royal Oak
 Branch Offices.  The Area Director of the Pontiac and Royal Oak Branch
 Offices is a Mr. Balong.
 
    2.  The Union represents claims representatives, of which there are
 three types:  generalists, Title II and Title XVI.  Generalists perform
 the full range of the job, usually in smaller offices.  Title II claims
 representatives handle the retirement-disability-survivors program,
 which involves payment of benefits and determination of entitlement to
 them.  Title XVI representatives handle the supplementary security
 program, which involves determining eligibility, taking applications for
 claims, and determining post-entitlement eligibility.  Title XVI claims
 representatives usually perform their duties within an SSA office.
 However, their job descriptions also call for them to perform their
 duties "in contact stations, other temporary locations, or in
 institutions, hospitals or other locations." (R 2 and TR 138) Claims
 representatives have, occasionally, traveled to personal residences,
 nursing homes, and post offices.  Since 1976, at the Detroit Southwest
 Office, there has been a past practice of rotating travel for claims
 representatives;  and travel schedules have been posted.  Whenever there
 was a two, three, or four month break between schedules, the Union was
 consulted on the new schedule.  For several years at the Pontiac
 District Office, a claims representative has been making a weekly trip
 to a local DSS office, to pick up information.  Until this case arose,
 no claims representative has traveled to a DSS office to take
 applications.
 
    3.  On August 20, Mr. Guerriero first became aware that Title XVI
 claim representatives were to be sent to DSS offices.  He was so advised
 by the on-site representative of the SSA Dearborn Office, who was so
 advised by the manager of the Dearborn Office.  The assignment to the
 DSS offices was to take applications from claimants and was made
 pursuant to a so-called "DSS Referral Program." (TR 222) On August 21,
 or 22, Mr. Guerriero called Mr. Martin about the matter, as the Dearborn
 Office was under Mr. Martin's jurisdiction.  Mr. Martin was not too sure
 about the matter, but indicated there was such a plan afoot and that
 local management was discussing the issue with on-site representatives,
 or would before actual implementation.  Mr. Martin did not instruct his
 managers to have such consultations and explained that, where they
 occurred, they were done "as a matter of courtesy" only.  (TR 227) No
 consultations with the Union occurred at the three SSA offices here
 involved.
 
    4.  The background of the instant dispute goes back to a period
 around November 1979, when the State of Michigan, Department of Social
 Services (DSS), advised SSA that it had approximately 6000 disability
 cases on its rolls that it wished to have reprocessed by SSA.  These
 claims for Supplemental Security Income, or Title XVI benefits had all
 been previously denied by SSA;  and benefits were being paid by the
 State of Michigan.  Michigan DSS planned to call all of those denied SSA
 benefits back into its offices and require them to refile for
 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits with SSA.  Following this
 notification, the SSA and the Michigan DSS met and worked out some basic
 procedures for handling these cases.  Notification of these procedures
 and the upcoming workload was sent to all SSA District Offices in
 Michigan.  The practice of sending SSA claims representatives to various
 Michigan DSS offices arose as the result of local implementation of the
 above-referenced procedures.  In several of Respondent's offices, where
 substantial members of these redetermination cases were to be processed,
 it was decided by the local managers that the cases could be handled
 more expeditiously if SSA claims representatives would travel to the
 local DSS offices and interview the potential claimants there, following
 their DSS interviews.  The Michigan DSS referrals were going to have to
 be processed, either at DSS or SSA offices.
 
    5.  It was agreed by the parties that the work performed by the SSA
 claim representatives, at the DSS offices, was "substantially the same"
 as the work they performed at the SSA offices.  (TR 129)
 
    6.  To some extent, interviewing applicants at the DSS offices made
 the work of the claims examiners easier, in that the DSS office made
 appointments for the claimants to come in, with proper documentation,
 and had more control over them, as DSS was paying them benefits, and
 could withhold them.  SSA was not paying benefits to them and had to
 write two, three, or four letters to claimants in order to obtain the
 necessary documentation.  On the other hand, some inefficiencies
 resulted from interviewing at the DSS offices.  SSA forms and manuals
 were not available at the DSS offices and had to be carried over.  At
 some DSS offices confusion over the role of the claims representatives
 occurred.  The claims representatives had no supervision at the DSS
 offices.  When downtime occurred the claims representatives had no other
 work to do.  There was some delay in processing Title II claims that
 could probably have been avoided had the interviews been at the SSA
 offices.  Claims representatives at the SSA offices experienced some
 backlog of persons to be interviewed on the days when a claims
 representative was at the DSS office.  However, the DSS Referral Program
 was bound to increase the number of interviews, so a backlog would have
 occurred regardless of the site of the interview being at the DSS, or
 the SSA office.
 
    7.  Generally, the visits to the DSS offices were on a one-day-a-week
 basis.  On such days, the claims representatives reported to the SSA
 office first, and returned to it before the close of the day.  Travel
 expenses to the DSS offices were paid by Respondent.
 
    8.  There was no evidence that there were any physical hazards or
 other type problems at the DSS offices.  There was evidence that at one
 DSS office the environment was quite similar to that at the Detroit
 Southwest Office.
 
    9.  At the Detroit Southwest Office, one claims representative went
 to a DSS office, under the DSS Referral Program.  He made a total of
 four trips-- on August 19 and 26, and on September 9 and 23.  The DSS
 office was about four miles from the SSA office.  On one occasion, two
 claims representatives, out of the four in the office, made a visit to a
 DSS office.  At this office, when claims representatives have travel
 time, additional time for adjudication is allowed them.  The Union's
 on-site representative did not become aware of the work being performed
 at a DSS office until September 7, when so informed by Mr. Guerriero.
 She did not request consultation as to the DSS visits.
 
    10.  At the Pontiac District Office, one claims representative made
 six tripe to the Pontiac DSS Office-- on May 7 or May 9, June 10, July
 7, August 27, September 24, and on one occasion in November or December.
  The DSS office is a couple of miles from the SSA office.  There was a
 total of five claims representatives in the Pontiac District Office
 during the time the visits were made to the DSS office.  The Union's
 on-site representative first learned of the visits to the DSS office in
 September, from another employee.
 
    11.  At the Royal Oak Branch Office, 2 out of the 12 claims
 representatives alternated on going to the DSS office.  One, or the
 other, went on August 20, 21, 27, and 28, one day in September, and on
 October 8.  The DSS office is six or seven blocks from the SSA office.
 Discussions between Respondent's manager and the Union's on-site
 representative occurred after the claims representatives started going
 to the DSS office.  Before the start of the visits, one of the claims
 representatives complained about the DSS trip to the Union's on-site
 representative.  The on-site representative did not carry the complaint
 to Respondent's office manager because, he testified, the decision had
 already been made.  At this office, late consultations on changes had
 been a problem before.  At the Royal Oak Branch Office, a supervisor
 solicited information from the claims representatives involved about the
 work load to be generated by the DSS Referral Program.
 
    12.  The collective bargaining agreement between the Union and the
 Respondent designates "Work environment" as a subject area for
 consultation.  (Jt 3.5) When asked the meaning of "work environment,"
 Mr. Clevenger answered:  "The physical plant that you are located in, I
 guess." (TR 155)
 
                                   Issue
 
    Whether Respondent violated 5 U.S.C. 7116(a)(1) and (5) by directing
 bargaining-unit employees to travel to another office to perform their
 duties, without giving their Union adequate notice and an opportunity to
 bargain on the impact and implementation of the assignment.
 
                        Discussion and Conclusions
 
    Respondent does not argue that it gave the Union adequate notice of
 its plan to send claim representatives to another office to process
 claims.  Clearly, it did not.  Respondent does argue that its actions
 did not rise to the level of a change in conditions of employment, and
 therefore it had no obligation to afford the Union notice and an
 opportunity to bargain.  See RBr 5.  The factual basis for this argument
 is that there had been a past practice for claims representatives to
 travel, and that such traveling is a part of the job description of each
 of the employees involved.  Furthermore, Respondent argues that any
 change must be shown to have had a substantial impact upon the
 bargaining unit before bargaining rights are triggered, and that no
 substantial impact was established in this case.  See RBr 5-6.  The
 factual basis relied upon to support this argument is that the DSS trips
 increased office efficiency and made the job easier, that the travel
 time was during working hours, that the trips were short, and that the
 employees always returned to their regular offices at the close of the
 work day.
 
    The General Counsel notes, on these points, that there had been a
 long-standing practice of giving notification to the Union, and
 consulting whenever claims representatives were to be send out of the
 office, and that the DSS trips represented the first time that this
 practice was not followed.  See GCBr 9-10.  The General Counsel also
 relies on the fact that the past field trips of claims representatives
 were infrequent, except at the Royal Oak Branch Office where the trips
 were to gather information, not to interview clients.  See GCBr 11.  The
 General Counsel notes that the impact of a field trip is felt by both
 the employee on the trip, and the employees left in the SSA office.  See
 GCBr 11.  The General Counsel states that the Respondent held
 discussions with the employees involved, in the realization that an
 impact on them would occur.  See GCBr 11.  The General Counsel cites the
 testimony of one of Respondent's managers, that "work environment," a
 subject designated for consultation in the collective bargaining
 agreement, is the "physical plant that you are located in." See GCBr 11.
 
    As to the substantial impact question, the General Counsel argues
 that the impact was, indeed, substantial.  The factual basis relied upon
 to support this argument is that the claims representatives left in the
 SSA Office had to take all the claims that came in, and this increase of
 duties resulted in a backup in the processing of claims, that clients
 had to wait, that a backlog also occurred as to Title II cases, that the
 field visits required that extra adjudication time be provided, and that
 there was a good deal of downtime for the claims representatives at the
 DSS offices.  See GCBr 12.
 
    1.  No change in working conditions occurred.
 
    The preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that claims
 representatives are expected to, and have traveled to other locations to
 perform their duties.  Generally, it has been an infrequent occurrence;
 but there has been an established practice for such travel, when
 necessary to the efficient functioning of the office.  And the travel to
 the DSS offices was clearly within the area designated in the job
 descriptions of the claims representatives for performance of their
 duties-- i.e., at "other temporary locations." See finding 2, above.
 The DSS Referral Program is a "temporary" one;  and the DSS offices
 qualify as a temporary "location" for the performance of the work.
 
    The two SSA cases cited by the General Counsel, at page 13 of the
 brief, /15/ are distinguishable, on their facts.  Both involved a change
 in work site.  However, the first case involved a change in hours worked
 and the assignments were for several months.  The second case is more
 like the instant case, in that the employees were assigned to a
 different work area, to clear up a backlog, and the assignments were for
 1 to 10 days.  But in neither case was there shown to be an established
 past practice for assignments away from the usual work site, and a job
 description that required work at different work sites where necessary
 to perform the job.
 
    At the Detroit Southwest Office, there was an established practice of
 consulting with the Union when posted travel schedules were changed.
 Changing an established practice, without prior notification to the
 Union, can rise to the level of an unfair labor practice.  However, as
 will be discussed next, the change here involved did not have a
 substantial enough effect upon employees to require
 impact-and-implementation bargaining.
 
    2.  No substantial adverse impact was felt by the claims
 representatives who traveled to the DSS offices, or to those who stayed
 behind.
 
    The DSS Referral Program was going to increase the workload of the
 claims representatives regardless of whether the cases referred were
 handled in the DSS or the SSA office.  In some ways, handling the
 referrals at the DSS offices made the job of the claims representative
 easier.  The claims representatives continued to check in and out of
 their SSA offices, and had to travel only a short distance to reach the
 DSS offices.  The work environment of the DSS offices was not shown to
 be any different from that of the SSA office.  The travel was done only
 one day a week, at most, and, at most, only six trips were taken by any
 one representative.  On balance, no substantial adverse impact upon
 employees can be discerned from the record evidence.  Compare the March
 20, 1981 decision of the Authority, upholding a decision by
 Administrative Law Judge Randolph D. Mason that the impact upon
 employees affected by a promotion procedure must be "substantial" before
 an unfair labor practice can be found.  See Office of Program
 Operations, Field Operations, Social Security Administration, San
 Francisco, Region, 5 FLRA No. 45 (1981).
 
                        ULTIMATE FINDINGS AND ORDER
 
    No violation of Section 7116(a)(1) or (5) has been shown.
 Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the Complaint in Case No. 5-CA-699 be,
 and it hereby is, dismissed.
 
                                       ISABELLE R. CAPPELLO
                                       Administrative Law Judge
 
 Dated:  July 10, 1981
         Washington, D.C.
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1A/ Member McGinnis' separate opinion is set forth, infra.
 
 
    /1/ Section 7101.  Findings and purpose
 
          (b) It is the purpose of this chapter to prescribe certain
       rights and obligations of the employees of the Federal Government
       and to establish procedures which are designed to meet the special
       requirements and needs of the Government.  The provisions of this
       chapter should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the
       requirement of an effective and efficient Government.
 
 
    /2/ Section 7106 provides in pertinent part:
 
    Sec. 7106.  Management rights
 
          (a) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, nothing in this
       chapter shall affect the authority of any management official of
       any agency--
 
          (1) to determine the mission, budget, organization, number of
       employees, and internal security practices of the agency;  and
 
          (2) in accordance with applicable laws--
 
          (A) to hire, assign, direct, layoff, and retain employees in
       the agency, or to suspend, remove, reduce in grade or pay, or take
       other disciplinary action against such employees;
 
          (B) to assign work, to make determinations with respect to
       contracting out, and to determine the personnel by which agency
       operations shall be conducted;
 
          (C) with respect to filling positions, to make selections for
       appointments from--
 
          (i) among properly ranked or certified candidates for
       promotion;  or
 
          (ii) any other appropriate source;  and
 
          (D) to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out the
       agency mission during emergencies.
 
          (b) Nothing in this section shall preclude any agency and any
       labor organization from negotiating--
 
          (1) at the election of the agency, on the numbers, types, and
       grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational
       subdivision, work project, or tour of duty, or on the technology,
       methods, and means of performing work(.)
 
 
    /3/ 124 Cong.Rec. H8462 (statement of Rep. Udall) (daily ed. Aug. 11,
 1978);  Legislative History of the Federal Service Labor-Management
 Relations Statute, Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
 Subcommittee on Postal Personnel and Modernization of the Committee on
 Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives, 96th Congress,
 1st Session, Committee Print No. 96-7 at 850.
 
 
    /4/ 124 Cong.Rec. H9633 (statement of Rep. Udall) (daily ed. Sept.
 13, 1978);  Legislative History, supra, at 923.
 
 
    /5/ Section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute provides:
 
          (b) Nothing in this section shall preclude any agency and any
       labor organization from negotiating--
 
                                .  .  .  .
 
          (2) procedures which management officials of the agency will
       observe in exercising any authority under this section;  or
 
          (3) appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected
       by the exercise of any authority under this section by such
       management officials.
 
 
    /6/ See, e.g., National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1497
 and Headquarters, Lowry Technical Training Center (ATC), Lowry Air Force
 Base, Colorado, 11 FLRA 565 (1983) (Union Proposals 5 and 6).
 
 
    /7/ Where a bargaining obligation arises under section 7106(b)(2) and
 (3) of the Statute as the result of management's decision to exercise a
 management right, it is incumbent upon management to set a date, which
 bears a reasonable relationship to the change proposed, for the
 implementation of the change.  Management must also provide adequate
 notice of the change to the exclusive representative to allow the union
 to request negotiations, if it so chooses, and to allow the parties
 reasonable time to complete the negotiations prior to the announced
 implementation date.  The adequacy of this advance notice is to be
 judged by taking into account such factors as the nature and scope of
 the proposed change, the impact on unit employees, and the immediacy of
 management's need to act.
 
 
    /8/ See, e.g., Delaware Army and Air National Guard, 16 FLRA No. 66
 (1984).
 
 
    /9/ This has commonly been referred to as "impact and implementation"
 bargaining.  See, e.g., Federal Aviation Administration, Washington,
 D.C., 17 FLRA No. 26 (1985);  and Veterans Administration, Hines
 Hospital, Hines, Illinois, 16 FLRA No. 1 (1984).
 
 
    /10/ See, note 3 and 4 supra.
 
 
    /11/ Section 7101(b), supra at note 1.
 
 
    /12/ In this regard, the parties can, of course, mutually agree to
 extend the implementation date.  Moreover, the initial implementation of
 a change does not negate management's responsibility to continue to
 bargain over appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected
 and the procedures to be used by management in implementing the future
 stages of a change.
 
 
    /13/ Section 7116(a) provides, in pertinent part, that:
 
          (a) For the purposes of this chapter, it shall be an unfair
       labor practice for an agency--
 
          (1) to interfere with, restrain or coerce any employee in the
       exercise by the employee of any right under this chapter;  . . .
 
                                .  .  .  .
 
          (5) to refuse to consult or negotiate in good faith with a
       labor organization as required by this character;  . . .  .
 
 
    /14/ References herein shall be as follows:  "TR" refers to the
 transcript;  "GC" refers to the exhibits of the General Counsel;  "R"
 refers to the exhibits of the Respondent;  "Jt" refers to the Joint
 exhibits of the parties;  "BrGc" refers to the brief of the General
 Counsel;  and "BRR" refers to the brief of the Respondent.  Multipage
 exhibits will be referenced by the exhibit number followed by the page
 numbers.  Dates references are in 1980, unless otherwise specified.
 
 
    /15/ The first is Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Social
 Security Administration, BRSI, Northeastern Program Service Center, 1
 FLRA No. 3, A/SLMR No. 1101, FLRC No. 78A-136 (March 1, 1