19:1180(130)NG - AFSCME Local 2910 and Library of Congress -- 1985 FLRAdec NG



[ v19 p1180 ]
19:1180(130)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 19 FLRA No. 130
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE,
 COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES,
 AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2910
 Union
 
 and
 
 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
 Agency
 
                                            Case No. O-NG-767
 
                DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES
 
    The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority
 pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), and raises questions
 relating to the negotiability of two Union proposals.
 
    Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the
 parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determinations.
 The proposals in dispute arose in the context of negotiations regarding
 the relocation of employees of the Loan Reference Section of the Loan
 Division of the Agency.
 
                             Union Proposal 1
 
          4.  a) Employees shall be given their preference of seating
       assignments to the fullest extent feasible after having had ample
       opportunity to review an accurate floor plan.  Preference
       conflicts will be resolved in favor of the employee with greater
       Loan Division seniority.
 
          b) Staff preferences for subsequent seating reassignments will
       be honored to the extent practicable.
 
    The proposal would allow employees some choice with respect to
 seating in the new work area.  The Agency asserts that grouping
 employees by "primary function" facilitates supervision of the employees
 in that it would allow for a more efficient means of giving instruction,
 assigning work, making staff announcements and holding staff meetings,
 and allows for the location of reference materials near the "areas of
 primary use." Thus, the Agency contends that employee seating
 constitutes a methods and means of performing work within the meaning of
 section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute, and, inasmuch as the proposal would
 allow employees to choose seating without regard to their "primary
 function," it interferes with the Agency's ability to determine the
 methods and means of performing its work.
 
    According to the Agency, the Loan Reference Section is informally
 divided based on two "functional duties" which it performs, i.e.,
 Inter-library Loan and Congressional Loan.  Supervision of the Section
 consists of a Section Head and two supervisors, one for the
 Congressional Loan function and one for the Inter-library Loan function.
  Also according to the Agency, employees are assigned to one of the two
 areas as a "primary function," and employees are assigned to work under
 one of the supervisors of the separate functions.  The space into which
 the Loan Reference Section is being relocated consists of one room
 arranged with an employee work area on either side of a central area
 occupied by the supervisors.  The room is divided by partitions.  The
 Agency seeks to seat employees in one of the two employee work areas
 based on the "primary function" to which they are assigned, i.e.,
 Congressional Loan or Inter-library Loan.
 
    In the context of section 7106(b)(1) "means" refers to any
 instrumentality, including an agent, tool, device, measure, plan or
 policy used by an agency for the accomplishment or furthering of the
 performance of its work.  National Treasury Employees Union and U.S.
 Customs Service, Region VIII, San Francisco, California, 2 FLRA 255
 (1979).  "Method" refers to the way in which an agency performs its
 work.  National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 541 and Veterans
 Administration Hospital, Long Beach, California, 12 FLRA 270 (1983).
 The term "performing work" which appears in section 7106(b)( 1) of the
 Statute is intended to include those matters which directly and
 integrally relate to the agency's operations as a whole.  Federal
 Employees Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO and Department of the Navy, Mare
 Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, 16 FLRA No. 88 (1984),
 appeal docketed No. 85-7039 (9th Cir. Jan. 22, 1985).
 
    Given the purpose of grouping employees by the primary type of work
 which they perform, i.e., to facilitate supervision and access to
 reference materials, the Authority concludes that such grouping is
 designed to enhance the ability of the Loan Reference Section to
 accomplish its functions in a more efficient and effective manner.  It
 constitutes a grouping which directly and integrally relates to the
 agency's operations.  New York Council, Association of Civilian
 Technicians v. FLRA, 757 F.2d 502 (2nd Cir. 1985).  Therefore, the
 Authority finds that such grouping constitutes an agent, tool, device,
 measure, plan or policy for accomplishing or furthering the performance
 of the Agency's operations.  Such grouping consequently falls within the
 meaning of methods and means of performing work under section 7106(b)(1)
 of the Statute.  See International Organization of Masters, Mates and
 Pilots and Panama Canal Commission, 13 FLRA 508 performing work it is
 not within the duty to bargain.  /1/
 
                             Union Proposal 2
 
          7.  The relocation of Loan Division employees shall be effected
       not sooner than 5 work days from the day on which this Agreement
       is signed.
 
    In conjunction with the filing of its petition for review the Union
 stated that the intent of Union Proposal 2 was to provide a 5 day period
 during which employees could be "informed of the terms of the Agreement
 and express their seating preferences." The Agency asserts that this
 proposal is inextricably related to Union Proposal 1 and that inasmuch
 as Union Proposal 1 is outside the duty to bargain so, too, is Union
 Proposal 2.  Insofar as Union Proposal 2 applies to Union Proposal 1 it,
 like Union Proposal 1, is not within the duty to bargain.  /2/
 
    Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Union's petition for review be, and
 it hereby is, dismissed.  Issued, Washington, D.C., August 30, 1985