20:0399(42)CA - VA Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ And AFGE Local 2382 -- 1985 FLRAdec CA



[ v20 p399 ]
20:0399(42)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 20 FLRA No. 42
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER 
 PHOENIX, ARIZONA, 
 Respondent
 
 and 
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2382, AFL-CIO  
 Charging Party
 
                                       Case No. 8-CA-20416
 
                            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 in this case, including the
 stipulation of facts, accompanying exhibits, and contentions of the
 parties, the Authority finds:
 
    The complaint alleges that the Respondent unilaterally implemented a
 change in working conditions by reassigning a unit employee, Charles
 Works, to different job duties without first affording the Charging
 Party notice and an opportunity to bargain concerning the impact and
 implementation of such reassignment in violation of section 7116(a)(1)
 and (5) of the Statute.  /1/ The General Counsel contends that the
 reassignment resulted in changes in Works' conditions of employment
 because his duties and work schedule changed, and therefore the
 Respondent was required to negotiate as to procedures and appropriate
 arrangements concerning the adverse effect of its decision to reassign
 him.  Respondent argued that there was not duty to bargain over the
 impact of its reassignment because the reassignment affected only one
 employee and had no "substantial impact" on unit employees' conditions
 of employment.
 
    The American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2382, AFL-CIO
 (Union), was recognized as the exclusive representative of Respondent's
 nonprofessional employees in 1965.  In 1979, this unit became part of a
 nationwide consolidated unit of Veterans Administration nonprofessional
 employees exclusively represented by the American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO.  At all times material herein, no
 collective bargaining agreement has been in effect for the consolidated
 unit.
 
    On or about June 29, 1982, Charles Works, a bargaining unit employee,
 was informed that he would be reassigned from his position as Supply
 Clerk in the Personal Property Management Section to a Medical Supply
 Technician position in the Supply Processing and Distribution Section.
 The reassignment was to be effective July 25, 1982.  In a letter dated
 July 15, 1982, the Union requested bargaining on the procedures and
 appropriate arrangements of Works' reassignment.  The Respondent denied
 this request in a letter dated the same day on the ground that the
 reassignment caused no change in any general conditions of employment.
 
    On July 25, 1982, Works' old position of Supply Clerk was abolished
 and he began working as a Medical Supply Technician with no change in
 his grade, pay, number of hours per week or benefits.  However, Works'
 job duties did change.  In his previous position as a Supply Clerk,
 Works had catalogued non-expendable property, maintained replacement
 records and inventory account records, scheduled inventories, and
 assisted in determinations concerning the disposition of surplus
 personal property, including the appropriate documentation for every
 disposition action.  In his new position, Works' duties include the
 supply and distribution of medical supplies throughout the hospital,
 sterilization of operating room equipment, and decontamination of soiled
 medical instruments and equipment.  Works' schedule was also changed in
 his new position.  Supply Clerks work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.,
 Monday through Friday, with weekends and holidays off.  Medical Supply
 Technicians work every other weekend and may be assigned, voluntarily or
 involuntarily, to work on holidays or on an evening shift.  However,
 they are involuntarily assigned to work on the average of only one
 holiday per year, and spend 80% of their time on one shift.  Works had
 worked in the Supply Processing and Distribution Section as a Medical
 Aid/Sterile Supplies (later retitled Medical Supply Technician) at the
 GS-4 level from August 15, 1976 through March 9, 1980.  The Supply
 Processing and Distribution (SPD) Section is composed of 21 employees,
 of whom seven (7) are Medical Supply Technicians GS-5, 11 are Medical
 Supply Technicians GS-4, and three (3) are Medical Supply Aids GS-3.
 
    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 in
 Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration,
 Chicago Region, 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.  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
 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
 negotiations or past practice, procedures and appropriate arrangements
 concerning analogous changes in the past.  /2/ 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 of the Statute gives rise to a bargaining obligation under
 section 7106(b)(2) and (3) will not necessarily require in every case a
 determination as to whether the exercise of the management ri