19:1183(131)NG - NFFE Local 1363 and Army Garrison, Yongsan, Korea -- 1985 FLRAdec NG
[ v19 p1183 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
19 FLRA No. 131 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1363 Union and U.S. ARMY GARRISON, YONGSAN, KOREA Agency Case No. O-NG-854 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(D) and (E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and raises an issue concerning the negotiability of two Union proposals. Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determinations. Union Proposal 1 We propose that employees continue to be authorized to ship their privately owned ammunition as part of household goods. Union Proposal 2 We propose that the agency's policy of prohibiting shipment of privately-owned ammunition as part of household goods be postponed and modified as follows. For employees who have not yet completed their transportation agreement, the policy will commence 90 days after that agreement expires. For employees who have presently completed their transportation agreement, the policy will commence six months after the date of this agreement. In both cases, employees will be granted authority, upon their request, to make advance partial shipment of household goods which shall include shipment of ammunition. Employees shall be authorized to place such ammunition in non-temporary storage. Further, even after the policy goes into effect, that policy shall not restrict employees from shipping either inert cartridge brass or inert bullets. We propose further that this agreement shall be published in every edition of the agency's civilian personnel newsletter from the data (date) of the agreement and for the next two years. Based on the language of the proposals and the record in this case, both proposals deal with the proposed establishment of an Agency regulation banning the shipment of privately owned ammunition as household goods. /1/ Union Proposal 1 would essentially prevent the Agency's proposed regulation from being implemented. /2/ Union Proposal 2, alternatively, would merely delay the implementation of the new policy and provide for interim shipments, non-temporary storage of ammunition, and the exclusion of inert cartridge brass or inert bullets from the definition of ammunition for purposes of the proposed policy change. /3/ As to the Union proposals, the Agency contends, among other things, that because they conflict with a Government-wide regulation both are nonnegotiable. Specifically, the Agency argues that the applicable Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), Chapter 2-1.4h /4/ as interpreted by the Comptroller General (CG) prohibits the shipment of an employee's live ammunition as household goods. /5/ The regulations at issue, the FTRs, are incorporated by reference in Part 101-7 of the Federal Property Management Regulations (41 CFR 101-7) promulgated by the Administrator of General Services. These regulations were issued under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 5721-5733. They are applicable to the travel and transportation expenses of civilian employees of Government agencies, including civilian employees of the Department of Defense, as authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5721-5733. By their terms, these regulations generally apply to and are binding on the Federal civilian work force as a whole, though not, of course, to every Federal employee. As such, these regulations are generally applicable throughout the Federal government and are "Government-wide regulations" within the meaning of section 7117(a). See American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3483 and Federal Home Loan Bank Board, New York District Office, 13 FLRA 446 (1983). The particular regulation involved herein does not precisely define all the items which may properly constitute "household goods and personal effects." Although the term "household goods" may lack a precise definition, the Comptroller General has noted that various recreational items, such as boats, airplanes and camper trailers, are expressly excluded from the scope of "household goods" under paragraph 2-1.4h of the FTR. To the Secretary of the Navy, 44 Comp.Gen. 65 (1964). When faced with a recreation item that was not expressly excluded by the FTR as within the purview of the term household goods, the Comptroller General examined whether the item was "the type of personal property so closely associated with (the employee's) home and person as to come within the scope of the term household goods." Matter of: Guy T. Easter, 62 Comp.Gen. 45, 47 (1982). Further, the CG has noted that "household goods" in its general and ordinary sense "refers to furniture and furnishings or equipment-- articles of a permanent nature-- used in and about a place of residence for the comfort and accommodation of the members of a family." To the Secretary of the Navy, 44 Comp.Gen. 65, 66 (1964). Specifically, with reference to ammunition in a situation involving shipment of household goods under the Foreign Service Act of 1946, the CG stated in the Memorandum cited by the Agency that: As ordinarily understood, therefore, and in the absence of special considerations, it does not appear that 129 pounds of ammunition would be considered to be furniture, household goods, or personal effects, and, consequently, there is no legal authority for charging to public funds the cost of this transportation. /6/ The Union has not introduced any evidence in the record which would provide sufficient support for the assertion that privately owned ammunition is so closely associated with an employee's home and person as to constitute "household goods." Moreover, there is nothing to indicate that the term "household goods" in the applicable regulation is to be given anything other than its ordinary meaning. Thus, in light of the above cited precedent, the Authority finds that an employee's privately owned ammunition is not within the purview of those items which constitute "household goods" under the FTR. Consequently, because they are inconsistent with a Government-wide regulation, both union proposals are outside the duty to bargain. Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the petition for review be, and it hereby is, dismissed. /7/ Issued, Washington, D.C., August 30, 1985 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Reimbursement for the expenses of transporting a government employee's household goods and personal effects in this case is authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5724(a)(2). /2/ Union Petition for Review at 2. /3/ Id. /4/ The applicable Federal Travel Regulation provides in pertinent part: 2-1.4. Definitions . . . . h. Household goods. All personal property associated with the home and all personal effects belonging to an employee and the immediate family when shipment or storage begins, which can be legally accepted and transported as household goods by an authorized commercial carrier (see advisory note below) in accordance with the rules and regulations established or approved by an appropriate Federal or State regulatory authority, except the items listed in (1) through (4) below. Snowmobiles and vehicles with two or three wheels, e.g., motorcycles, mopeds, and golf carts, may be shipped as household goods. (1) Automobiles, trucks, vans and similar motor vehicles; boats; airplanes; mobile homes; camper trailers; and farming vehicles; (2) Live animals, birds, fowls, and reptiles; (3) Cordwood and building materials; and (4) Property for resale, disposal, or commercial use rather than for use by the employee or the immediate family. /5/ No argument was presented regarding whether the shipment of ammunition, under the circumstances, would be otherwise prohibited. /6/ B-130583-O.M., May 8, 1957. /7/ In view of the decision herein, the Authority finds it unnecessary to consider the Agency's additional contentions as to the nonnegotiability of the proposals under consideration.