20:0117(12)CA - Army Reserve Components, Personnel and Administration Center, St. Louis MO and AFGE Local 900 -- 1985 FLRAdec CA
[ v20 p117 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
20 FLRA No. 12 U.S. ARMY RESERVE COMPONENTS PERSONNEL AND ADMINISTRATION CENTER, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO LOCAL 900 Charging Party Case No. 7-CA-30399 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, including the stipulation of facts, accompanying exhibits, and the contentions of the parties, the Authority finds: The complaint alleges that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) /1/ by unilaterally relocating the work area of unit employees without providing the Union with the opportunity to negotiate concerning procedures to be observed in and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by the relocation. The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 900 (AFGE), is the exclusive representative of an activity-wide unit of approximately 1500 employees in the U.S. Army Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center, St. Louis, Missouri (the Respondent). /2/ At all times material herein, the Respondent and AFGE have been parties to a collective bargaining agreement covering the unit employees. On or about May 16, 1983, Frank Loeffler, Director of the Respondent's Data Management and Records Services Directorate, notified Winifred Jones, AFGE Local President, of a possible relocation of unit employees. He told her that the Brigadier General in charge of the St. Louis facility was considering a relocation of the Officers Accession Section I and II, Data Management and Records Services Directorate (OAS I & II) from the north side of the west end of the fourth floor to the south side of the east end of the fourth floor. Jones told Loeffler that management could not move the employees without first giving AFGE a chance for input. The Respondent contended that the relocation was not negotiable since it had no impact on employees. On May 16, 1983, Loeffler told Jones that the move would take place on May 18. AFGE requested bargaining on the impact and implementation of the move on May 17. The Respondent did not reply to this request. There are approximately 23 unit employees in the OAS I & II who were affected by the relocation. The proposed move took place on May 18 and a subsequent move, to the south side of the west end of the fourth floor, took place on May 19. Thus, the relocation consisted of moving the 23 employees across the hall. While the original location contained 3100 square feet of space, multiple aisles between desks, windows and 42 light fixtures, the final location had 1550 square feet of space, a single aisle between desks, no windows and 27 light fixtures. Further, the final location was closer to the ventilation system cold air return and had an increased noise level due to its proximity to the Personnel Records Division. 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). The Authority thereafter held 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." Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Chicago Region, 15 FLRA No. 174(1984). The Authority has also held that in determining whether the impact or reasonably foreseeable impact of the exercise of a management right on bargaining unit employees is more than de minimis, the totality of the facts and circumstances presented in each case must be carefully examined. Thus, in Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Region V, Chicago, Illinois, 19 FLRA No. 101(1985), the Authority looked to such factors as the nature of the change (e.g., the extend 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 negotiations or past practice, procedures and appropriate arrangements concerning analogous changes in the past. /3/ The Authority also emphasized therein that the factors considered in the circumstances of that case were not intended to constitute an all-inclusive list or to be applied in a mechanistic fashion. Moreover, the Authority noted that a 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. Turning to the instant case, the Authority finds based upon the totality of the facts and circumstances presented, that the impact or reasonably foreseeable impact of the relocation on the conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees was no more than de minimis. Accordingly, it follows that the Respondent was under no obligation to negotiate with AFGE pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute concerning the procedures it would observe in implementing the relocation or concerning appropriate arrangements for adversely affected employees. In reaching this result, the Authority notes, with respect to the nature of the change in conditions of employment, that the work duties performed by the relocated bargaining unit employees were not affected in any way. Moreover, the relation was of a limited nature inasmuch as it involved only the employees of one organizational entity relocating from one place to another on the same floor. /4/ Further, but for the reduction in office space, in the Authority's view and other noted changes in conditions of employment are minor in nature and more applicable to resolution through the negotiated grievance procedure. Also, while the relocation was permanent, it only involved 23 employees out of a bargaining unit of approximately 1500. Finally, neither party submitted any evidence of a past practice with respect to prior relocations of employees or with respect to other analogous changes in employees' working conditions. Based on the totality of the facts and circumstances presented, and noting particularly the limited nature of the change, the few employees affected relative to the total number of bargaining unit employees, and the absence of any demonstrated bargaining history or past practice by which the parties have handled similar relocations, the Authority concludes that the impact or reasonably foreseeable impact of the relocation was no more than de minimis. Accordingly, the Respondent was under no obligation to negotiate with AFGE pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute, and its refusal to negotiate therefore was not violative of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute as alleged. ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 7-CA-30399 be, and it hereby is, dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., September 11, 1985 (s) HENRY B. FRAZIER III Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman /s/ WILLIAM J. MCGINNIS, JR. (s) WILLIAM J. MCGINNIS, JR. FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) provides: Section 7116. Unfair labor practices (a) For the purpose 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 chapter(.) /2/ See Union Recognition in the Federal Government, published by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, at 154 (Jan. 1983). /3/ Additionally, Member McGinnis indicated in a separate concurring opinion that he would also consider, in determining de minimis issues, when the implementation of a change would involve or adversely affect unit employees in assessing the totality of the facts and circumstances presented. /4/ Compare Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Region II, New York, New York, 19 FLRA No. 47(1985), where the whole Regional Office was moved a distance of four or five miles.