21:0228(31)NG - NFFE, Local 29 and Army, Kansas City District, Corps of Engineers -- 1986 FLRAdec NG

[ v21 p228 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 21 FLRA No. 31
                                            Case No. 0-NG-501
    I.  Statement of the Case
    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 issues
 concerning the negotiability of the following Union proposal.
                              Union Proposal
       Utilize the reduction-in-force procedures for those employees who
       express a desire not to transfer with the function, in accordance
       with FPM 351.3 paragraph 3-5b.
    The Union's proposal arose in the context of a decision by the Agency
 to achieve a reduction in its work force by transferring its Accounting,
 Examination and Disbursing (F&A) function to the Omaha District of the
 Corps of Engineers.  The consolidation would require the abolishment of
 29 full-time positions in the Kansas City District and establishment of
 15 new full-time positions in the Omaha District.
    II.  Positions of the Parties
    By its express terms and as explained by the parties, the proposal
 would require the Agency (Kansas City District, Corps of Engineers) to
 use reduction-in-force (RIF) procedures where employees choose not to
 transfer with their function.  The proposal would effectively require
 that where an employee elects not to transfer to the Omaha District,
 he/she would be subject to RIF procedures within the Kansas City
 District.  The employee would not be terminated at that location by
 adverse action procedures.  Nor would the employee be subjected to RIF
 procedures in the Omaha District after the transfer of function has been
 effected, should a RIF then be necessary.
    The Agency asserts that the proposal is nonnegotiable because it is
 inconsistent with its rights under section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (C) of the
 Statute to layoff, retain, reduce, in-grade, assign and select
 employees.  It also contends that the proposal conflicts with
 Government-wide rules and regulations and would determine conditions of
 employment for nonbargaining unit employees.
    The Union maintains that the proposal constitutes an appropriate
 arrangement within the meaning of section 7106(b)(3) of the Statute for
 employees adversely affected by management's action in instituting the
 transfer of function as well as a procedure within the meaning of
 section 7106(b)(2) and, as such, is within the duty to bargain.  It
 disputes the Agency's assertion that the proposal would determine
 conditions of employment for nonunit employees, contending that the
 proposal would be limited to unit employees.  The Union also disputes
 the Agency's assertion that a conflict exists between the proposal and
 applicable Government-wide regulations.
    III.  Analysis
    A. Government-wide Rule or Regulation
    The Government-wide rules and regulations referenced by the parties
 are issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and are set forth
 at 5 CFR Part 351 and Chapter 351 of the Federal Personnel Manual.  The
 parties do not dispute that these authorities constitute Government-wide
 rules and regulations within the meaning of the Statute.  Under
 authority vested in OPM pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3502, the provisions of 5
 CFR Part 351 prescribe a system for reduction-in-force and transfer of
 function.  Those provisions are generally applicable, with minor
 exceptions not relevant to this dispute, to employees in the executive
 branch of the Federal government. 5 CFR 351.202.  Agencies are
 responsible for following and applying the regulations. 5 CFR 351.204.
 Chapter 351 of the Federal Personnel Manual explains the system
 prescribed in the CFR, defining the components of the system and
 describing their use.  Federal Personnel Manual, Chapter 351, Subchap.
 1-1 and