20:0430(45)CA - FAA and Professional Airways Systems Specialists, MEBA -- 1985 FLRAdec CA



[ v20 p430 ]
20:0430(45)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 20 FLRA No. 45
 
 FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION  
 Respondent 
 
 and 
 
 PROFESSIONAL AIRWAYS SYSTEMS 
 SPECIALISTS, MEBA, AFL-CIO  
 Charging Party
 
                                       Case No. 3-CA-40126
 
                            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 Federal Aviation Administration (the
 Respondent or FAA) violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Federal
 Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) /1/ by failing
 and refusing to provide the Professional Airways Systems Specialists,
 MEBA, AFL-CIO (PASS) with notice and an opportunity to negotiate over
 the impact and implementation of its decision to assign a bargaining
 unit employee stationed at its Bridgeport, West Virginia facility to new
 duties at its Elkins and Ellimore, West Virginia facilities.  In its
 brief, the Respondent no longer relies on its earlier defense that PASS,
 based upon a collective bargaining agreement between the Respondent and
 the prior exclusive representative of the unit employees, Federal
 Aviation Science and Technological Association, had waived its right to
 bargain on the matter herein.  Instead, the Respondent maintains that it
 had no duty to bargain with PASS concerning the subject change because
 the assignment of new duties to the employee did not result in a
 substantial impact on the employee's working conditions.
 
    On December 31, 1981, PASS was certified as the exclusive
 representative for a unit of employees including those located at the
 facilities involved herein.  On April 14, 1983, PASS was certified as
 the exclusive representative for separate nationwide consolidated units
 of the Respondent's professional and nonprofessional employees.
 
    The stipulated record reveals that the principal duties of the
 Respondent's unit employees are the repair and maintenance of radar,
 communication, navigational, computer and other electronic equipment
 used in FAA's national air traffic control system.  On or about November
 1, 1983, the Respondent assigned James Beuhring, an electronic
 technician stationed at its Bridgeport, West Virginia facility, to new
 duties at its facilities located at Elkins and Ellimore, West Virginia.
 As a result of this assignment, the employee, whose duty station
 remained the same, was now required to travel from Bridgeport to Elkins
 and/or Ellimore approximately three to five times a week.  One way
 travel from Bridgeport to Elkins is approximately 55 miles;  one way
 travel from Bridgeport to Ellimore is approximately 42 miles.  Prior to
 the new assignment described above, Beuhring had been assigned, on or
 about February 25, 1983, to some duties at the Elkins and Ellimore
 facilities.  These duties required occasional travel from Bridgeport to
 Elkins and Ellimore, West Virginia.
 
    By letter dated May 16, 1983, Howard Johannssen, PASS' National
 President, notified the Respondent's Administrator that "unless specific
 notice to the contrary (was) given, (he was) the only PASS
 representative authorized to engage in collective bargaining on behalf
 of the unit," and that "notice of any proposed changes in . . . working
 conditions of unit employees . . . be directed to (him)." Subsequently,
 by letter dated November 2, 1983, Johannssen requested to bargain over
 the impact and implementation of the change in the subject employee's
 working conditions mentioned above.  This request was received by the
 Respondent;  however, the latter did not reply to it.
 
    By memorandum dated November 2, 1983, employee Beuhring filed a
 grievance relating to the assignment of duties in Elkins and Ellimore,
 West Virginia.  In particular, the grievance concerned the Respondent's
 (1) refusal to issue Beuhring temporary duty orders or permanent change
 of station orders in regard to his new assignments;  and (2) refusal to
 allow Beuhring to use his privately owned vehicle for travel on official
 business from Bridgeport to the new locations.  On or about November 10,
 1983, the Respondent denied this grievance.
 
    The General Counsel asserts that the Respondent was obligated to
 negotiate over the impact and implementation of the change set forth
 above inasmuch as said change resulted in both actual and reasonably
 foreseeable impact on the unit employee;  therefore, the General Counsel
 contends that the Respondent's failure to provide notice to PASS and
 afford it an opportunity to bargain as stated above constitutes a
 violation of the Statute.  With regard to actual impact, the General
 Counsel contends that the employee's new assignment required a
 significant amount of additional travel, and that to do so he had to use
 an unsafe General Services Administration (GSA) car.  /2/ General
 Counsel contends that such change raised foreseeable impact issues,
 including, inter alia, the need for additional training, safety
 procedures, and equipment.
 
    The Respondent contends, as noted above, that the assignment herein
 did not result in a substantial impact on the employee.  Rather, it
 asserts that the employee already had responsibilities at Elkins and
 Ellimore since February 1983, and that the only tangible difference in
 his working conditions identified in the record is the increased
 frequency of his travel after November 1.  Further, the Respondent
 contends that any impact concerning travel requirements on the employee
 which was raised in a grievance filed by him is barred from
 consideration by section 7116(d) of the Statute.  /3/ Finally, it
 asserts that the mechanical problems experienced by the employee with
 the GSA vehicle are of no consequence since the employee never claimed
 that the vehicle was unsafe and, if it were, GSA regulations provide
 that he would not have been required to use it.
 
    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 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 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.  /4/
 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 assignment of new duties on the
 conditions of employment of the unit employees herein was no more than
 de minimis.  Accordingly, it follows that the Respondent was under no
 obligation to negotiate with PASS pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3)
 of the Statute concerning the procedures it would observe in
 implementing the subject change or concerning appropriate arrangements
 for the one unit employee adversely affected thereby.  In reaching this
 result, the Authority notes that the nature of the change involved the
 assignment of new duties to only one employee stationed at the
 Respondent's Bridgeport, West Virginia facility.  While the new
 assignment herein involved indefinite work responsibilities at the
 Respondent's Elkins and Ellimore, West Virginia facilities, the
 Authority further notes that the employee has had work responsibilities
 at these facilities since February 1983, and there is no evidence in the
 record to show that the duties resulting from the new assignments were
 significantly different from the duties required to be performed by the
 earlier assignment, other than, as described above, the increased
 frequency in the employee's travel.  Further, the subject change
 involved only one employee out of a nationwide consolidated bargaining
 unit of the Respondent's employees.  With respect to the alleged unsafe
 conditions of a Government-owned vehicle required by the agency for
 travel, it appears that the employee never advised his supervisor that
 he considered the vehicle to be unsafe, nor does the record reveal that
 certain GSA regulations pertaining to the operation and maintenance of
 such vehicle could not be utilized to address the employee's concerns
 relative to its maintenance.
 
    Based on the totality of the facts and circumstances presented in
 this case, and noting particularly that the change involved only the
 increased frequency in travel of one employee in a nationwide
 consolidated unit, the Authority concludes that the impact or reasonably
 foreseeable impact of the subject change on the unit employee's
 conditions of employment was no more than de minimis.  Therefore, the
 Respondent was under no obligation to notify PASS and afford it an
 opportunity to request bargaining pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3)
 of the Statute, and accordingly, the complaint shall be dismissed.  /5/
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 3-CA-40126 be, and it
 hereby is, dismissed.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., September 30, 1985
 
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       Chairman
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) provides:
 
          Sec. 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/ Although, the General Counsel contends that the employee had to
 use an unsafe vehicle, the stipulated record reveals that the employee
 did not tell his supervisor that he considered the vehicle to be unsafe.
 
 
    /3/ Section 7116(d) of the Statute provides in pertinent part:
 
          (I)ssues which can be raised under a grievance procedure may,
       in the discretion of the aggrieved party, be raised under the
       grievance procedure or as an unfair labor practice under this
       section, but not under both procedures.
 
 
    /4/ 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.
 
 
    /5/ In view of the disposition herein, it is unnecessary to pass upon
 the Respondent's contention with regard to section 7116(d) of the
 Statute;  however, see generally Department of Defense Dependents
 Schools, Pacific Region and Overseas Education Association, 17 FLRA No.
 135(1985), petition for review filed s