22:0171(18)CA - Air Force, Lowry AFB, Denver, CO and NFFE Local 1497; Air Force, Lowry AFB, Denver, CO and NFFE Local 1974; -- 1986 FLRAdec CA



[ v22 p171 ]
22:0171(18)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 22 FLRA No. 18
 
                                      Case Nos. 7-CA-30459 
                                                7-CA-30584
 
 UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
 LOWRY AIR FORCE BASE
 DENVER, COLORADO
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL 
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1497
 Charging Party
 
                                      Case No. 7-CA-30543
 
 UNITED STATES AIR FORCE 
 LOWRY AIR FORCE BASE
 DENVER, COLORADO
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1974
 Charging Party
 
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
                         I.  Statement of the Case
 
    This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority on exceptions
 filed by the General Counsel to the attached Decision of the
 Administrative Law Judge.  The Respondent filed an opposition to the
 General Counsel's exceptions.  The consolidated complaint in this case
 alleged a violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) (1) on June 15, 1983
 when the Respondent issued a memorandum setting forth a new seat belt
 policy;  (2) on July 1, 1983 when the Respondent issued a memorandum
 changing the delegation of authority to suspend employee driving
 privileges;  and (3) on September 26, 1983 when the Respondent
 implemented certain procedures concerning the new seat belt policy.
 
                                II.  Facts
 
    The facts are fully set forth in the Judge's Decision.  Briefly
 stated, the essential facts giving rise to the consolidated complaint
 are as follows:
 
    The Respondent notified the Charging Parties (Unions) on June 10,
 1983, that beginning on June 15, employees who failed to wear available
 seat belts while driving privately owned vehicles (POVs) on Lowry Air
 Force Base would receive a 30-day suspension of driving privileges and
 that the driver of any POV would be subject to a 30-day suspension of
 driving privileges if any passenger failed to wear a seat belt.  Prior
 to this announced change, employees who failed to wear seat belts did
 not receive mandatory suspensions until the third infraction.  On June
 14, the Unions submitted requests to the Respondent to negotiate as soon
 as possible but no later than June 21, 1983.  Negotiations commenced on
 June 21, and also took place on June 28 and several days in July and
 September.  The record reveals that implementation of the new seat belt
 policy was delayed insofar as bargaining unit employees were concerned
 until after negotiations were completed.  Once negotiations began, the
 Respondent issued a memorandum on July 1, announcing that senior
 officers in each of Respondent's commands had been granted the authority
 to suspend employee driving privileges.  Prior to this change, the
 authority to suspend seat belt violators was at the Base Commander or
 Deputy Commander level.
 
    The parties failed to reach agreement during the June and July
 negotiations with Respondent declaring certain of the Unions' proposals
 to be nonnegotiable.  They later sought help from the Federal Mediation
 and Conciliation Service (FMCS).  Thereafter, the parties entered into
 negotiations with the assistance of FMCS in September 1983.  The parties
 agreed on a number of matters on September 15, 1983, but some issues
 remained unresolved.  Thereafter, on September 20, the Respondent
 notified the Unions that it would implement its last best offer
 concerning the seat belt policy on September 26, 1983.
 
                          III.  Judge's Decision
 
    The Judge concluded, in Case No. 7-CA-30459, that the Respondent had
 not failed to meet its statutory bargaining obligation prior to June 15,
 1983, but rather that evidence established a waiver by the Union of the
 right to bargain prior to June 15.  The Judge further concluded that the
 new seat belt policy was not applied to bargaining unit employees on
 June 15, 1983, but was deferred pursuant to agreement of the parties.
 As to the July 1 change in delegation of authority to suspend driving
 privileges, the Judge concluded that the Respondent had deferred
 implementation of the new seat belt policy and there was no evidentiary
 basis for finding that Respondent implemented the July 1 delegation as
 alleged in the complaint.
 
    The Judge concluded in Case Nos. 7-CA-30584 and 7-CA-30543 that the
 Respondent did not act unlawfully when it implemented the new seat belt
 policy on September 26.  In this regard the Judge found that Respondent
 had bargained to impasse on all issues relating to the September 26
 implementation of the policy and that the Unions did not request Panel
 assistance until after Respondent had served notice and implemented its
 last best offer.
 
    In view of the above, the Judge recommended that the consolidated
 complaint be dismissed in its entirety.
 
                       IV.  Positions of the Parties
 
    The General Counsel filed a number of exceptions to the Judge's
 findings and conclusions.  In particular the General Counsel disputed
 the factual determinations that Respondent did not implement the new
 seat belt policies on June 15, 1983, and did not implement delegation of
 the suspension/appeal authority for seat belt violations on July 1,
 1983, and that bargaining unit employees suffered no adverse impact from
 the July 1 change.  Additionally, the General Counsel excepted to the
 conlcusion that NFFE waived its right to pre-implementation bargaining
 over the June 15 seat belt policy;  that Respondent bargained in good
 faith to impasse before implementing the new seat belt policies on
 September 26, 1983;  and that the policies implemented on September 26,
 1983 were Respondent's last best offers.
 
    In its opposition to the General Counsel's exceptions the Respondent
 argued that no evidence supported the General Counsel's theory that
 Respondent implemented the new seat belt policies on June 15, 1983;
 that record evidence supported the conclusion that Respondent did not
 implement the delegation of the suspension/appeal authority for seat
 belt violations on July 1, 1983;  and that there was no evidence of
 adverse impact on bargaining unit employees based on the July 1 change.
 Further, the Respondent argued that the Judge correctly determined that
 NFFE waived its right to pre-implementation bargaining;  that Respondent
 bargained in good faith to impasse before implementing the new seat belt
 policies;  and that the Respondent acted in good faith in implementing
 the change in seat belt policy on September 26, 1983.
 
                               V.  Analysis
 
    In concluding that the Respondent did not violate section 7116(a)(1)
 and (5) of the Statute, the Authority finds, in agreement with the
 Judge, that the parties engaged in good faith negotiations concerning
 the change in the seat belt policy.  The record establishes that the
 Respondent notified the Unions that it was going to implement a change
 in the seat belt policy on June 15, 1983.  Thereafter, the Unions
 requested negotiations and bargained on all negotiable aspects of the
 change.  Although bargaining did not take place until after June 15, the
 record is clear that the new policy was not put into effect for unit
 employees until after the completion of negotiations.  /*/
 
    Furthermore, the Authority finds that the proposals over which the
 Respondent refused to bargain prior to implementing its change in seat
 belt policy were nonnegotiable as the Respondent contended.  Three of
 the Unions' proposals would restrict the disciplinary actions which
 agency management could take and would limit management's right to
 discipline employees within the meaning of section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the
 Statute.  See American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO,
 Local 2302 and U.S. Army Armor Center and Fort Knox, Fort Knox,
 Kentucky, 19 FLRA No. 95 (1985) (union proposal 1).  The Authority finds
 that another proposal dealing with appeals of suspensions by
 non-bargaining unit employees is also outside the duty to bargain, as it
 is well established that the duty to bargain does not extend to matters
 concerning positions and employees outside the bargaining unit.
 International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers,
 AFL-CIO, NASA Headquarters Professional Association and National
 Aeronautics and Space Administration, Headquarters, Washington, D.C., 8
 FLRA 212 (1982), and cases cited at note 5 of that decision.  Finally,
 the Authority finds that the Unions' proposal dealing with paying
 employees for the time it takes them to transit between the Activity
 entrance and their actual job site at the start and end of the work day
 is nonnegotiable.  This proposal would result in management being
 precluded from assigning duties during those portions of the work day
 during which employees were in transit between the Activity and the job
 site.  Thus, the proposal would violate management's right to assign
 work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute.  National Association
 of Government Employees, Local R-12-33 and National Association of
 Federal Employees, Local 1374 and Pacific Missile Test Center, Point
 Mugu, California, 14 FLRA 275 (1984).  Thus the Authority finds that the
 Respondent complied with its duty to negotiate and negotiated in good
 faith with regard to all proposals submitted by the Unions which were
 within its duty to bargain.
 
                              VI.  Conclusion
 
    Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations
 and section 7118 of the Statute, the Authority has reviewed the rulings
 of the Judge made at the hearing, finds that no prejudicial error was
 committed, and thus affirms those rulings.  The Authority has considered
 the Judge's Decision, the exceptions to that Decision, the positions of
 the parties and the entire record, and adopts the Judge's findings,
 conclusions and recommended Order except as noted in the footnote.  We
 therefore conclude that Respondent did not violate section 7116(a)(1)
 and (5) of the Statute by refusing to bargain over changes in the
 Respondent's seat belt policy.  Rather the Authority finds that the
 parties engaged in good faith negotiations with regard to all negotiable
 proposals concerning the change in the seat belt policy.  Accordingly
 the complaint shall be dismissed in its entirety.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS ORDERED that the consolidated complaint in Case Nos.
 7-CA-30459, 7-CA-30584 and 7-CA-30543 be, and it hereby is, dismissed.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., June 18, 1986.
 
                                       /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS --------------------
 
    Case Nos. 7-CA-30459 and 7-CA-30584
 
    UNITED STATES AIR FORCE LOWRY AIR FORCE BASE DENVER,
 COLORADO
    Respondent
 
                                    and
 
    NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1497
    Charging Party
 
 
 
 
    Case No. 7-CA-30543
 
    UNITED STATES AIR FORCE LOWRY AIR FORCE BASE, DENVER,
 COLORADO
    Respondent
 
                                    and
 
    AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL
 1974
    Charging Party
 
    Lt. Col. Wade B. Morrison, USAF
    For the Respondent
 
    Joseph Swerdzewski, Esquire
    Daniel Minahan, Esquire
    For the General Counsel
 
    Ms. Joyce Coxson
    For the National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1497
 
    Mr. Daniel Case
    For the American Federation of Government 
    Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1974
 
    Before:  LOUIS SCALZO
    Administrative Law Judge
 
                                 DECISION
 
                           Statement of the Case
 
    These cases arose as unfair labor practice proceedings under the
 provisions of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 92
 Stat. 1191, 5 U.S.C. section 7101, et seq. (hereinafter referred to as
 "the Statute"), and the Rules and Regulations issued thereunder.
 
    The consolidated complaint, as amended at the hearing, alleged that
 Lowry Air Force Base (Respondent or LAFB) committed the following unfair
 labor practices within the purview of the Statute:
 
    Case No. 7-CA-30459
 
    On or about June 15, 1983, the Respondent violated Sections
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by issuing to all personnel at LAFB, a
 memorandum announcing that failure to wear available seat belts in
 privately owned vehicles (POVs) operated on LAFB would result in a 30
 day suspension of driving privileges, and that the driver of any POV
 would be subject to a 30 day suspension of driving privileges if any
 passenger failed to wear seat belts.
 
    On or about July 1, 1983, the Respondent violated Sections 7116(a)(1)
 and (5) of the Statute by issuing to all units and activities a
 memorandum announcing that senior officers in each of Respondent's
 commands had been granted the authority to suspend employee driving
 privileges.
 
    It was alleged that the June 15, 1983 and July 1, 1983 memorandums
 constituted unilateral changes in conditions of employment of bargaining
 unit employees represented by the National Federation of Federal
 Employees (NFFE) Local 1497;  a failure to provide NFFE Local 1497
 notice of such change;  a failure to bargain in good faith;  /1/ and
 interference, restraint and coercion of such employees in the exercise
 of rights guaranteed by the Statute.
 
    Case No. 7-CA-30584
 
    On or about September 26, 1983, the Respondent violated Sections
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by implementing certain procedures and
 arrangements concerning the enforcement of policy requiring drivers and
 passengers to wear seat belts in POVs operated on LAFB.  It was alleged
 that the September 26, 1983 implementation constituted unilateral
 changes in conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees
 represented by NFFE Local 1497, and interference, restraint and coercion
 of such employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed by the Statute.
 
    Case No. 7-CA-30543
 
    On or about September 26, 1983, the Respondent violated Sections
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by implementing certain procedures and
 arrangements concerning the enforcement of policy requiring drivers and
 passengers to wear seat belts in POVs operated on LAFB.  It was alleged
 that the September 26, 1983, implementation constituted unilateral
 changes in conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees
 represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO
 (AFGE), Local 1974, and interference, restraint and coercion of such
 employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed by the Statute.  /2/
 
    The parties were represented by counsel during the hearing and were
 afforded full opportunity to be heard, adduce relevant evidence, and
 examine and cross-examine witnesses.  Based upon the entire record
 herein, including exhibits, and other relevant evidence adduced at the
 hearing, /3/ and briefs filed by counsel representing the Respondent and
 General Counsel, I make the following findings of fact, conclusions and
 recommendations.
 
                             Findings of Fact
 
    Notice of Changes Relating to Seat Belt Policy
 
    By memorandum dated June 10, 1983, Darvin H. Koehler, Respondent's
 Civilian Personnel Officer, advised Joyce Coxson, President of NFFE,
 Local 1497, that on June 15, 1983, the Respondent intended to begin
 strict enforcement of Air Force regulations relating to seat belt use in
 POVs operated on LAFB by military personnel, dependents and civilian
 personnel (Tr. 57;  G.C. Exh. No. 10).  Although dated June 10, 1983,
 the memorandum was personally delivered to Ms. Coxson on June 9, 1983
 (Tr. 57-58).  /4/ It announced that the new policy would involve a 30
 day suspension of LAFB driving privileges for a first offense;  that
 vehicle drivers would be subject to the 30 day suspension rule for a
 first offense if any passenger in a vehicle failed to wear a seat belt;
 and that suspended drivers would be allowed to drive their cars on LAFB
 only to the extent of parking their cars in a designated parking area
 situated near a LAFB entrance gate.
 
    Department of Air Force Regulation 127-7, dated June 3, 1980 required
 the wearing of seat belts.  The following general language formed the
 basis of this requirement:
 
          . . .All military personnel and civilians operating or riding
       in private motor vehicles of a DOD installation will wear seat
       belts if available.  (G.C. Exh. No. 4 at page 2).
 
    This rule had not been strictly enforced.  Those found in violation
 of the seat belt rule during random checks by security personnel were
 not issued citations directly.  Their names were recorded by security
 personnel and they were informed of their failure to comply.  They were
 then advised that their names would be forwarded to their commanders for
 appropriate action.  This procedure was followed for the first two
 infractions of the rule, and after the third offense those found to be
 in violation were supposed to receive a mandatory suspension of driving
 privileges.  However, the record reflected that the mandatory suspension
 rule was not followed by the Respondent.  It was acknowledged that a
 repeated failure to wear seat belts could have led to formal discipline;
  however, records of seat belt violations were not included in employee
 personnel files.
 
    On June 14, 1983, the day preceding the proposed implementation, Ms.
 Coxson, on behalf of NFFE, Local 1497, delivered a request to negotiate
 concerning the proposed change "as soon as possible, but not later than
 21 June 1983." (G.C. Exh. No. 11).  The request noted an awareness of
 the duty to bargain prior to implementation, but did not specifically
 request a delay in implementation.  /5/ Ms. Coxson's testimony
 established that despite the impending proposed implementation date she
 and a labor relations specialist representing the Respondent agreed to
 negotiate "as requested" on June 21, 1983, or six days after the
 proposed implementation date (Tr. 59-60).
 
    The "last minute" filing of the request to negotiate on the day
 preceding proposed implementation;  Ms. Coxson's unequivocal acceptance
 of June 21, 1983, as the date to commence bargaining;  and the fact that
 negotiations actually commenced on June 21, 1983;  all lead to the
 factual finding that Ms. Coxson's June 14, 1983 bargaining request
 conferred upon the Respondent the option to defer negotiations until
 after June 15, 1983, the date proposed by Respondent for implementation
 of the new seat belt policy.
 
    The policy spelled out in the June 10, 1983 memorandum by Mr. Koehler
 was in fact implemented on June 15, 1983, by the issuance of a
 memorandum dated June 15, addressed to LAFB personnel by Colonel Leslie
 A. Hobgood, Base Commander, LAFB (G.C. Exh. No. 13).  The memorandum
 announced that the policy would be applicable to "both military
 personnel/dependents and civilian personnel." However, the record is
 clear that the term civilian personnel" was not construed by the parties
 to include bargaining unit members represented by NFFE or other unions
 recognized by the Respondent.  That is, the parties agreed that
 bargaining unit employees would not then be affected by the policy.  The
 unions were orally assured that bargaining unit members would not be
 subjected to the new sanctions prior to completion of negotiations, and
 further that the new policy would be imposed in a manner consistent with
 Respondent's bargaining obligation.
 
    As in the period prior to June 15, 1983, the names of those violating
 seat belt policy were recorded;  however, new policy relating to the
 suspension of driving privileges was not effectuated with respect to
 bargaining unit employees.  The record clearly indicated that
 implementation was withheld insofar as all bargaining unit employees
 were concerned.  /6/
 
    The implementation of the new policy did result in an increase in the
 number of random checks by security personnel to determine whether or
 not drivers and passengers in POVs were wearing seat belts.  However,
 Counsel for the General Counsel acknowledged that this increase was not
 relied upon as a basis for the complaint (Tr. 210-211).  /7/ The record
 revealed that the names of individuals were recorded on revised forms
 not previously utilized by security personnel (G.C. Exh. No. 16).
 However, the forms were not disseminated, or otherwise utilized as a
 basis for action, and were used solely for the purpose of recording the
 identity of those in violation of the rule.  This minor administrative
 change was not alleged as a basis for the complaint, and did not
 otherwise alter the previously existing practice of recording the names
 of those in violation of seat belt rules.
 
    Negotiations Concerning Seat Belt Policy
 
    The Respondent agreed to bargain concerning seat belt policy in
 accordance with union reuqests (Tr. 125, 132-133).  The negotiating
 teams included representatives of LAFB, NFFE Local 1497, AFGE Local
 1974, and AFGE Local 2040.  NFFE Local 1497 was represented by Dr. Edgar
 Smith.  He also took a leading role on behalf of the AFGE Locals.
 Dariel Case, President of AFGE Local 1974, also took a leading role on
 behalf of the two AFGE Locals.  LAFB was represented at the outset by
 Colonel Donald W. Swain, Vice Commander, LAFB;  and thereafter by
 Colonel John A. Johnson, who replaced Colonel Swain.
 
    On June 21, 1983, six days after issuance of Colonel Hobgood's June
 15, 1983 memorandum to all LAFB Personnel, Ms. Coxson wrote to Mr.
 Koehler on behalf of NFFE Local 1497, and outlined a series of issues
 which she felt should form the basis of negotiations (G.C. Exh. No. 14).
  This document reflects that, despite limited implementation with
 respect to non-bargaining unit employees and others earlier in June, she
 requested that any negotiations occur prior to implementaton.  In view
 of the agreement to negotiate on June 21, 1983, a date after the partial
 implementation on June 15th, and in view of the agreement to exempt
 bargaining unit employees, it may be concluded that this request was
 merely a demand to continue deferral of implementation of policy with
 respect to NFFE bargaining unit employees.  The record reflects no
 reason to conclude that the new penalty policy was effectuated so as to
 affect them.
 
    Negotiations actually commenced on June 21, 1983, and more serious
 bargaining concerning the subject occurred on June 28, July 6, and July
 15, 1983, prior to mediation.  A total of about eight to twelve hours
 was spent by the parties at these meetings.  On June 27, 1983, Dr. Smith
 submitted to management a list of additional subjects for negotiation
 (G.C. Exh. No. 15).  Thereafter, on either June 28 or July 6, 1983, the
 three Locals participating in negotiations supplied a new consolidated
 list of fifteen proposals to the LAFB negotiating team (G.C. Exh. No.
 17).
 
    By memorandum dated July 1, 1983, the Respondent through Colonel
 Swain, then LAFB Vice Commander, reiterated the 30 day suspension rule
 made applicable previously to all but bargaining unit members.  He
 assigned suspension/appeal authority to LAFB organizational commanders.
 As a result of this change organizational commanders were assigned to
 hear appeals arising from members of their own commands following
 citation of such individuals for failure to wear seat belts (G.C. Exh.
 No. 16).  The authority was vested in officers with the rank of colonel
 or higher.  However, the record indicates that the delegation policy was
 not then made applicable to bargaining unit employees because of the
 exemption previously arranged for bargaining unit employees.  Such
 authority had in the past always been exercised at the Base Commander or
 Deputy Commander level.  /8/
 
    Counsel representing the General Counsel argued that the delegation
 of authority to organizational commanders was a change which affected
 the terms and conditions of employement of bargaining unit members in
 NFFE Local 1497.  It was assumed that the policy would not be equitably
 administered by the various commanders;  and that the effectuation of
 policy would be more consistent if suspensions were imposed at the Base
 Commander level (Tr. 102).  It was assumed, without evidentiary basis,
 that organizational commanders would be much more strict in their
 imposition of sentences (Tr. 188).  However, as noted this segment of
 the new seat belt enforcement policy was not implemented with respect to
 any bargaining unit employee because of the agreement to defer all
 enforcement actions until after completion of negotiations.
 
    During negotiations on July 15, 1983, the Respondent introduced a
 proposed "Seat Belt Policy Implementation Guidance" reflecting nine
 counterproposals (G.C. Exh. No 19, Tr. 137).  These were submitted in
 response to those submitted jointly on behalf of the three Locals
 participating in negotiations.  They may be summarized as follows:
 
          1.  The designation of parking areas on LAFB for suspended
       drivers.
 
          2.  Civilian employees found to be in violation of seat belt
       rules since June 15, 1983, will serve a 30 day suspension not
       earlier than August 15, 1983.  /9/
 
          3.  Safety films will be available through the unit or union
       safety official.
 
          4.  If a passenger is found without a seat belt, the driver of
       the vehicle will receive a written warning for a first offense,
       and a 30 day suspension for any subsequent offense.
 
          5.  The appeal authority in case of suspension will be
       sufficiently removed from the employee to provide a fair and
       equitable review.  Revocation/appeal authority has been
       established by letter dated July 1, 1983 addressed to all Lowry
       Technical Training Center units by Colonel Swain (G.C. Exh. No.
       16).
 
          6.  For the first and each subsequent offense a 30 day
       suspension will be imposed.
 
          7.  Any person found driving on base while in a suspension
       status will be subject to appropriate administrative action by
       his/her supervisor.
 
          8.  Seat belt and shoulder harness restraint devices are to be
       worn when installed in the vehicle.
 
          9.  If for medical reasons, one should not wear a restraint
       device, the person should submit a medical waiver to his/her
       supervisor.
 
    By memorandum dated July 25, 1983, addressed to the three Locals,
 Colonel Richard White, Deputy Base Commander explained Respondent's
 position in support of the nine counterproposals offered on July 15,
 1983, and also explained Respondent's reasons for rejecting a number of
 the fifteen proposals previously submitted by the union Locals (G.C.
 Exh. No. 20).  Colonel White's letter noted that the Respondent rejected
 union proposals numbered 3, 9, and 13 as an encroachment on management's
 right to discipline under Section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.
 Remaining proposals were either rejected, acceded to, or described as
 having been addressed in Respondent's nine counterproposals.
 
    On July 22, 1983, Dr. Smith, submitted seventeen final
 counterproposals on behalf of NFFE and the two AFGE Locals (G.C. Exh.
 No. 21).  /10/ Representatives of the Respondent reviewed these, and on
 August 18, 1983, Colonel Roger K. Taylor, Base Commander /11/ wrote to
 Ms. Coxson, President of NFFE Local 1497, to advise that union
 counterproposals numbered 1, 2, 3, 7, and 11 interfered with management
 rights.  Remaining counterproposals were either rejected or adopted.
 
    Counterproposals 1, 2 and 3 were rejected as an interference with
 management's right to take disciplinary action because they dealt with
 penalties associated with noncompliance and/or the imposition of
 responsibility for noncompliance.  Union counterproposal 7, was
 described as being outside management's obligation to bargain because it
 was believed that the proposal would result in a violation of federal
 law.  Union counterproposal 11 was rejected because it interfered with
 management's right to assign work.
 
    In his August 18, 1983 letter, Colonel Taylor advised NFFE that
 further impact and implementation negotiations would be nonproductive,
 and that on August 22, 1983, he intended to implement proposals
 reflecting areas of agreement, together with any other proposals
 advanced by the Respondent on July 15, 1983.  /12/ In this context
 Colonel Taylor was referring to the Respondent's initial list of nine
 counterproposals.
 
    Mediation Requested
 
    As early as July 13, 1983, AFGE Local 2040 wrote to the Federal
 Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) for the purpose of alerting
 that agency to the possible need to assign a mediator to help resolve
 issues involved in the negotiations (G.C. Exh. No. 18).  AFGE Local 1974
 contacted the FMCS between August 8 and 18, 1983, for the same purpose,
 and on September 1, 1983, a representative of the Respondent sought the
 services of the FMCS.  By mutual agreement of the parties the FMCS
 entered negotiations.  Further intensive bargaining occurred on
 September 9, 12, and 15, 1983, under the guidance of Thurman M. Sanders,
 Commissioner, FMCS, Denver, Colorado.  /13/ Ms. Coxson served as the
 chief representative of NFFE during this phase of negotiations.  Dariel
 S. Case, President of AFGE Local 1974 continued to represent AFGE Local
 1974.
 
    The record established that all issues were negotiated during the
 mediation phase (Tr. 145).  During this phase the parties specifically
 negotiated concerning the possibility of reducing the penalties for not
 complying with the seat belt rule, but could not reach agreement.  /14/
 
    During the final mediation session on September 15, 1983, the parties
 reached tentative agreement on a number of key issues, and initialed
 their respective copies of a proposed tentative agreement to indicate
 the specific issues resolved by the parties.  The proposed tentative
 agreement reflecting the intials of union representatives participating
 in negotiations was subsequently transmitted to the participants in the
 negotiations (G.C. Exh. No. 23).  /15/ The proposed tentative agreement
 was not adopted by the parties because of the failure to adopt all
 elements of the document.  However, the record shows that the parties
 negotiated thoroughly with respect to all subject areas mentioned in the
 tentative agreement proposed by the mediator (Tr. 71, 74, 143-144).
 Items agreed to by the Respondent reflect significant concessions in a
 number of instances.  Out of a total of nine numbered paragraphs
 reflecting nine issues, the parties reach agreement on all paragraphs
 except the eight which provided for a written warning.  /16/ It was
 clear to the parties that the paragraphs agreed to refelcted the
 Respondent's best offer relating to subjects covered therein (Tr. 198).
 
    In addition to issues outlined in the proposed tentative agreement
 the record also reflects that during mediation the parties negotiated
 again concerning the question of retroactive enforcement of the new seat
 belt policy.  That is, management proposed that the Respondent
 retroactively enforce the seat belt policy against all civilian
 employees found to be in violation after June 15, 1983 (Tr. 199).
 However, in addition to disagreement over penalties to be imposed, the
 parties were unable to reach agreement on the issue of retroactive
 enforcement (Tr. 144).
 
    Thus, after agreeing in a number of areas on September 15, 1983,
 unresolved issues remained.  The mediator declared that an impasse had
 been reached, and the parties agreed that this was indeed true (Tr. 77,
 183).  According to Ms. Coxson's testimony, representatives of the three
 Locals were informed that they would have to go to the Federal Service
 Impasses Panel (Panel) for any further resolution of the matter (Tr.
 77).  Union negotiators did not then indicate whether they would pursue
 the matter before the Panel.
 
    Respondent Implements New Seat Belt Policy
 
    On September 20, 1983, five days after the final mediation session,
 the Respondent wrote to the three Locals to advise that on September 26,
 1983, the Respondent intended to implement Respondent's last best offer
 concerning the new seat belt policy (G.C. Exh. No. 24).  The letter was
 hand delivered to the three Locals on September 20th (Tr. 236).  The
 eight areas of agreement in the tentative agreement were identified as a
 significant portion of the implementation intended.  The Respondent also
 noted an intent to implement the 30 day penalty for first and subsequent
 offenses, except that passengers found in violation would be issued a
 warning for a first offense.  The proposed policy also allowed for
 exceptions in cases wherein there was "acceptable justification" for a
 failure to wear seat belts.  It was noted that as of September 26th,
 persons cited for seat belt infractions after June 15, 1983, would
 during the week of September 26th, be issued notification of suspension
 of driving privileges.
 
    There was no reason to question evidence to the effect that the
 implementation proposed was in fact the Respondent's last best offer
 prior to reaching an impasse in negotiations.  On September 26, 1983,
 the new POV seat belt policy was implemented so as to specifically apply
 to both military and civilian personnel (G.C. Exh. 25).  Despite some
 seeming ambiguity, evidence adduced indicates that no bargaining unit
 members were ever suspended.  By design, bargaining unit employees were
 not retroactively affected by implementation of the policy.  The
 proposed policy was not implemented so as to affect bargaining unit
 employees until September 26th (Tr. 235, 251-252).  /17/
 
    On September 30, 1983, four days after implementation, Mr. Case,
 writing as the President of AFGE Local 1974, and as a representative of
 NFFE Local 1497, and AFGE Local 2040, wrote to the Panel for assistance
 (G.C. Exh. No. 26).  The Respondent did not become aware of the request
 filed until October 4, 1983 (Tr. 236).  The record clearly established
 that the parties bargained to impasse on issues implemented, and those
 raised before the Panel by the three Locals (Tr. 95-96, 182-184,
 187-188).  /18/
 
    As of September 30th, the date of the request for Panel assistance,
 charges had been filed in each of the unfair labor practice cases
 referred to in the consolidated complaint.  The complaint in Case No.
 7-CA-30459 was also issued on September 30th (G.C. Exh. No. 1(g)).
 After September 30th the proceedings inititated followed their
 respective courses.  The Panel proceeding was pending at the time of
 hearing and was of concern because of the then existing possibility of
 conflicting decisions and remedies.  /19/ However, on February 1, 1984,
 after the close of the hearing record, the Panel declined jurisdiction
 because of the pending unfair labor practice cases involved in this
 litigation.  Department of the Air Force, Lowry Air Force Base,
 Colorado, and Locals 1974 and 2040, AFGE, and Local 1497, NFFE, Case No.
 84 FSIP 1.
 
    Following the hearing counsel representing the General Counsel moved
 to add the Panel decision to the hearing record, or alternatively, that
 official notice be taken of the Panel decision.  Counsel representing
 the Respondent objected to the introduction of the Panel decision as a
 General Counsel Exhibit on the ground that the record was closed.
 However, official notice of the decision was not precluded, and the
 record indicates that it would be necessary to take official notice of
 any Panel action in order to avoid the possibility of conflicting
 decisions threatened by the fact that this matter was pending before the
 Panel at the time of hearing (Tr. 174-176).  Accordingly, official
 notice is hereby taken of the Panel's February 1, 1984 decision.  /20/
 
                        Discussion and Conclusions
 
    Case No. 7-CA-30459
 
    It is alleged in Case No. 7-CA-30459 that the Respondent implemented
 a 30 day suspension of driving privileges for failure to wear seat belts
 in POVs, and that such implementation was a violation of Section
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.  The record shows that the three
 Locals were interested in participaing in negotiations and requested
 bargaining concerning this issue;  however, all three permitted the
 Respondent to opt in favor of post-implementation bargaining.  The
 record adduced showed that bargaining "as requested" by NFFE Local 1497
 commenced on June 21, 1983, six days after June 15, 1983, the
 implementation date selected by the Respondent.  Ms. Coxson's June 14,
 1983, bargaining request gave to the Respondent the option of commencing
 negotiations as late as June 21, 1983, and negotiations which did in
 fact begin on this date were described by Ms. Coxson as having commenced
 "as requested" by here in her June 14, 1983 letter.  Furthermore, the
 two AFGE Locals participating in joint negotiations also submitted a
 bargaining request which clearly contemplated the prospect of
 post-implementation bargaining.  Under these circumstances there would
 be no basis for concluding that implementation of the new seat belt
 policy on June 15, 1983, constituted an unfair labor practice within the
 purview of the Statute.  That is, allegations in the consolidated
 complaint resting upon an alleged failure of the Respondent to meet
 bargaining obligations in the statute prior to the June 15, 1983
 implementation date were not supported by the record.  Instead, the
 evidence establishes a clear and unmistakeable waiver of the right to
 bargain prior to June 15, 1983.  Department of the Treasury, United
 States Customs Service, Region 1, Boston, Massachusetts, and St. Albans,
 Vermont District Office, 10 FLRA No. 100, 10 FLRA 566 (1982).
 
    In addition to the failure of proof outlined, the record shows that
 the imposition of the new and more severe penalty alleged in the
 consolidated complaint was not, on June 15, 1983, effectuated so as to
 affect NFFE Local 1497 bargaining unit employees, or bargaining unit
 members of other Locals.  Instead, implementation of the policy with
 respect to bargaining unit employees was deferred.  Introduction of the
 new policy, by agreement of the parties, was limited so as to exclude
 bargaining unit members.  The Respondent did not administratively begin
 to apply the policy to bargaining unit members until September 26, 1983.
  The record shows that as a result of this method of proceeding no
 bargaining unit employee was suspended as a result of the application of
 the policy prior to September 26, 1983.  This exemption was orally
 agreed to by the parties.  These circumstances also reflect the absence
 of a rationale for an unfair labor practice based upon a June 15, 1983
 imposition of a harsher penalty for violation of the seat belt rule.
 /21/
 
    It is also alleged in Case No. 7-CA-30459, that the Respondent's July
 1, 1983, delegation of authority to suspend driving privileges was a
 violation of Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.  /22/ The record
 reflects that the July 1 change alleged was not effectuated so as to
 have any affect upon bargaining unit employees.  As of this date the
 participants in negotiations were operating under an agreement whereby
 implementation of the seat belt policy would be deferred with respect to
 all bargaining unit members.  The policy was not effectuated so as to
 embrace bargaining unit members until September 26, 1983.  No
 evidentiary basis exists for a finding that the Respondent implemented
 the July 1, 1983 delegation of authority as alleged in Case No.
 7-CA-30459.  Further, consideration of implementation of the delegation
 of authority on September 26, 1983, is reflected in discussion relating
 to Case Nos. 7-CA-30543 and 7-CA-30584.
 
    In light of the foregoing it is unnecessary to determine whether or
 not the delegation of authority had an impact or a reasonably
 foreseeable impact upon employees within the meaning of U.S. Government
 Printing Office, 13 FLRA No. 39, 13 FLRA 203 (1983);  and Department of
 Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Chicago,
 Region, 15 FLRA No. 174, 15 FLRA 922 (1984).  /23/
 
    Case No. 7-CA-30584
 
    Case No. 7-CA-30543
 
    Conduct alleged as a basis for unfair labor practices in these two
 cases is substantially the same as that set out in Case No. 7-CA-30459.
 However, in these cases violations of Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) would
 rest upon alleged unilateral implementation of the 30 day penalty and
 delegation of adjudicatory authority on September 26, 1983, rather than
 June 15, 1983 and July 1, 1983.  Presumably, counsel for the General
 Counsel is contending that if the policies in question were not
 implemented on the earlier dates, they were implemented in violation of
 Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) on September 26, 1983.
 
    With respect to NFFE Local 1497 and AFGE Local 1974 bargaining unit
 employees involved in these two cases, as well as other bargaining unit
 employees represented by AFGE Local 2040, it was established that as of
 September 26th, the Respondent had bargained to impasse on all issues
 relating to the September 26th implementation of seat belt policy.
 
    The specific issues underlying these two cases were addressed in
 detail during negotiations held before and/or during the mediation
 phase.  This is clear from an examination of documents generated during
 bargaining and from the testimony of witnesses.
 
    The record establishes that prior to September 16th, all relevant
 issues were negotiated despite the existence of doubt concerning the
 Respondent's obligation to bargain concerning some of the proposals made
 by the three Locals.  /24/ The final bargaining session on September
 15th, did not result in the adoption of the tentative agreement under
 discussion on that date, but it did nevertheless represent an extended
 session of good faith bargaining on issues reflected in the proposed
 tentative agreement, as well as other issues relating to the subject.
 On September 15th the negotiators recognized that an impasse had been
 reached, and the Charging Parties in these two cases were apprised of
 their right to seek Panel assistance by the mediator.
 
    On September 20th the Respondent advised union locals that
 Respondent's last best offer would be implemented on September 26th.
 The record reflects a basis for finding that the policies actually
 implemented on this date were in fact Respondent's last best offer.  The
 Locals did not seek Panel assistance during the period intervening
 between September 20th and September 26th.  Instead, the request for
 Panel assistance was not submitted until September 30, 1983, or four
 days after the Respondent made the new seat belt policies applicable to
 bargaining unit members.  Since the Locals herein had a reasonable
 opportunity to invoke the services of the Panel after the parties
 reached impasse in their negotiations on September 15th, and after
 receiving Respondent's September 20th notice of intent to implement its
 last proposals on September 26th;  and since there was a failure to
 request the services of the Panel prior to the announced date scheduled
 for implementation, it must be concluded that the Respondent did not act
 unlawfully when the new policies were implemented on September 26th.
 U.S. Air Force, Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force
 Base, Ohio, 5 FLRA No. 39, 5 FLRA 288 (1981);  U.S. Customs Service, 16
 FLRA No. 31, 16 FLRA 198, (1984);  Department of Health and Human
 Services, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland, 16 FLRA
 No. 32, 16 FLRA 217 (1984).
 
    As a result of the conclusions outlined, it is recommended that the
 Authority issue the following Order pursuant to 5 C.F.R. section
 2423.29.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the consolidated complaint in Case Nos.
 7-CA-30459, 7-CA-30584, and 7-CA-30543, be, and hereby is, dismissed.
 
                                       /s/ LOUIS SCALZO
                                       Administrative Law Judge
 
    Dated:  November 16, 1984
    Washington, D.C.
 
 
 
 
                ---------------  FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
 
    (*) Contrary to the Judge, the Authority finds that NFFE's request on
 June 14 to bargain as soon as possible, but no later than June 21, 1983,
 did not constitute a waiver of the Union's right to bargain prior to the
 implementation of the change.  Similarly, the Authority finds that
 AFGE's request on June 14 to exclude the employees in its unit of
 exclusive recognition from the change until the parties reached
 agreement did not constitute a waiver of AFGE's right to bargain prior
 to implementation of the change.  In this regard, the Authority notes
 that Respondent first notified the Unions of the proposed change on June
 10, and proposed June 15 as the implementation date.  They Authority
 takes administrative notice that June 10, 1983, was a Friday and that
 the Unions' response was made by the following Tuesday.  Thus, the
 Unions' response was timely and, given the circumstances, contained no
 language which would serve as a clear and unequivocal waiver of their
 right to bargain prior to implementation of the change.  Moreover, the
 Authority notes that subsequent to receiving the Unions' request, the
 Respondent delayed implementation until after it had satisfied its
 bargaining obligation.
 
    (1) The complaint alleged a failure to bargain in good faith
 concerning the substance and impact and implementation of the June 15,
 1983 memorandum, and a failure to bargain concerning the impact and
 implmentation of the July 1, 1983 memorandum.
 
    (2) Allegations in Case No. 7-CA-30543, involving AFGE Local 1974,
 are set forth in Paragraphs 5, 14, and 17 of the consolidated complaint.
  Counsel representing the Respondent moved to strike poritions of the
 General Counsel's post-hearing brief because of a perceived attempt to
 expand the allegations of the consolidated complaint to include other
 alleged unfair labor practices perpetrated against AFGE Local 1974, but
 not specifically pleaded in the consolidated complaint.  Counsel
 representing the General Counsel filed an opposition to the motion to
 strike.  Since only specifically pleaded allegations relating to AFGE
 Local 1974 may be considered as a basis for any possible remedy which
 might inure to the benefit of AFGE Local 1974, and since statements
 reflected in a post-hearing brief are not evidence, and do not otherwise
 operate to amend the consolidated complaint, the motion to strike is
 denied.
 
    (3) Counsel representing the General Counsel moved to correct errors
 in the hearing transcript.  Under authority reflected in 5 C.F.R.
 section 2423.19(r), the proposed corrections are approved with the
 exception of the proposed correction at Tr. 6:9.  An examination of this
 reference in the transcript reflects no error of the type noted in the
 motion.  Other errors noted on this transcript page were described as
 appearing at Tr. 6:22, 23 and 24 respectively;  however, these errors
 appeared at Tr. 6:19, 22 and 23 instead.
 
    (4) As a result of delivery of the memorandum on June 9, 1983, NFFE
 Local 1497, received approximately six days notice of the change.  A
 statement to the contrary in the General Counsel's Brief is not
 supported by the record (G.C. Brief at page 20).
 
    Counsel for the General Counsel attempted to derive some benefit from
 the fact that an incomplete account of the proposed change was reported
 in the "Lowry Airman," a LAFB newspaper (G.C. Exh. No. 9).  It was
 argued that the new policy was accounced in the newspaper as a fait
 accompli on June 10, 1983.  However, Jt. Exh. No. 10 reflects notice of
 the proposed change, and there was no showing that the Respondent was
 responsible for issuance of the incomplete newspaper account, or that
 such publication was otherwise intended to be a unilateral
 implementation of a new seat belt policy on June 10, 1983.  Argument
 that the new policy went into effect without notice on June 10, 1983, is
 not supported by the record.
 
    (5) On the same date (June 14, 1983), a similar bargaining request
 was supplied to Mr. Koehler on behalf of AFGE Locals 1974 and 2040, as
 they also were interested in joint bargaining concerning the change.  It
 did not include a request for delay in implementation, and did not
 mention a specific date to begin negotiations.  These Locals requested
 Koehler to reply to the request "before the end of the week to set up a
 bargaining sess . . . ." (G.C. Exh. No. 12).  The week in question ended
 on June 17, 1983, two days after the proposed June 15, 1983
 implementation.
 
    This document, plus other evidence in the record shows that the three
 Unions did not specifically contemplate bargaining prior to
 implementation.  Instead the parties agreed that post-implementation
 bargaining might ensue.  However, at or about the same time it was also
 agreed that no enforcement action under the new policy would be
 inititated against bargaining unit employees until after Respondent met
 statutory bargaining obligations.
 
    (6) The Respondent deferred action against all civilian employees
 including those represented by NFFE, the exclusive representative of
 bargaining unit members identified in Case No. 7-CA-30459, because it
 was not possible for security personnel to determine which civilian
 employees were bargaining unit members.  The record indicates that by
 design the new suspension policy was not effectuated so as to affect
 bargaining unit employees until after September 26, 1983.
 
    (7) The complaint does not rely upon a change in the degree of
 attention given to the use of seat belts in POVs.  It refers to alleged
 changes relating specifically to penalties to be imposed for violation
 of rules requiring seat belts in POVs, and changes relating to the
 delegation of authority to suspend driving privileges.
 
    (8) The three Locals first became aware of the delegation of
 authority at the July 6, 1983 negotiating session.
 
    (9) The Respondent sought agreement on this point from the three
 Locals participating in negotiations in order to apply the stricter
 sanction against all civilian employees found to be in violation after
 June 15, 1983.  However, by design the Respondent never did proceed
 against bargaining unit employees, and did not otherwise enforce the new
 policy against bargaining unit employees until after September 26, 1983.
 
    (10) The memorandum notes that the two AFGE Locals reserved the right
 to "add to and/or modify" the counterproposals submitted.
 
    (11) Colonel Taylor replaced Colonel Hobgood as Base Commander during
 the interim period.
 
    (12) The record at this point reflects a stated intent to implement
 on August 22, 1983.  However, it was clear that no steps toward
 implementation were initiated on this date (Tr. 69).
 
    (13) Following the July 15, 1983 bargaining session the parties did
 not commence actual negotiating meetings again until September 9, 1983.
 
    (14) However, the parties did come close to agreement at one point
 during mediation (Tr. 249).
 
    (15) This exhibit reflects only the initials of officials
 representing the three union Locals.  However, both the letter of
 transmittal prepared by the mediator, and the hearing transcript reflect
 that representatives of the Locals, and representatives of the
 Respondent reached agreement on paragraphs initialed.  The apparent
 absence of initialing by a representative of the Respondent is explained
 by testimony to the effect that agreement on each paragraph was followed
 by the parties initialing paragraphs on their copies of the proposed
 tentative agreement (Tr. 142).
 
    (16) The record copy of the tentative agreement considered by the
 parties reflects interlineations which may be disregarded as not a part
 of the exhibit (Tr. 77, 146-147).
 
    (17) Counsel representing the General Counsel endeavored to show that
 the absence of bargaining unit employee suspensions was the result of
 chance rather than design.  However, it appeared that only nonbargaining
 unit employees cited after June 15, 1983, were suspended after September
 26th.  By design bargaining unit employees were not affected until after
 September 26th.
 
    However, despite the foregoing, the parties did, as previously noted,
 generally discuss and disagree on a proposal to apply the policy
 retroactively to all civilian employees found to be in violation of the
 seat belt rule after June 15, 1983.
 
    (18) At an early stage of negotiations, prior to mediation, the
 Respondent interposed assertions of nonnegotiability relating to certain
 issues.  These assertions were abandoned during later negotiations, but
 were subsequently revived in replies to a Panel request for a statement
 of position (G.C. Exh. No. 28 and 29).  However, despite early
 assertions of nonnegotiability the Respondent bargained in good faith on
 all issues prior to impasse.  Also, the complaint was not based upon any
 assertion of nonnegotiability interposed by the Respondent during
 negotiations which ensue prior to mediation.  It is therefore
 unnecessary to consider Respondent's early assertions of
 nonnegotiability for the purpose of determining whether unfair labor
 practices were established.
 
    (19) The practice of simultaneously seeking Panel assistance and a
 remedy in an unfair labor practice proceeding to resolve substantially
 the same issues are condemned by the Authority in Department of the
 Navy, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia, 13 FLRA No. 95, 13
 FLRA 571 (1984).
 
    (20) Although litigation of an unfair labor practice matter which
 goes to the heart of negotiations made the subject of Panel impasse
 procedures, has been condemned by the Authority, the fact remains that
 as of this date only this consolidated complaint is pending disposition.
  In view of this, and in light of the fact that other factors militate
 in favor of dismissal of the consolidated complaint, it is unnecessary
 to determine whether the simultaneous processing of this matter as both
 Panel and Authority proceedings would have given rise to any reason for
 dismissal.
 
    (21) The consolidated complaint indicates considerable uncertainty
 concerning the alleged date of implementation of the new seat belt rule.
  In Case No. 7-CA-30459, it is alleged that the Respondent implemented a
 new and harsher penalty on June 15, 1983;  whereas in Case Nos.
 7-CA-30543 and 7-CA-30584, it was alleged that such implementation
 commenced on September 26, 1983.  As a result of the foregoing, it is
 clear that doubt concerning the date of implementation was built into
 the theory of the case.  Discussion of the September 26, 1983
 implementation follows herein in connection with consideration of Case
 Nos. 7-CA-30543 and 7-CA-30584.
 
    (22) Duality in the prosecutive theory is also reflected by a
 comparison of this allegation with allegations set out in Case Nos.
 7-CA-30543 and 7-CA-30584.  In the latter cases it was alleged that
 implementation of the delegation of authority occurred on September 26,
 1983.
 
    (23) If an impact upon employees which is more than de minimus cannot
 reasonably be foreseen no bargaining obligation arises.  Counsel
 representing the General Counsel argued that an advserse impact was
 foreseeable.  It was noted that a greater number of individuals would be
 adjudicating cases involving violation of the seat belt rule.  However,
 from this fact it would not be possible to conclude that bargaining unit
 employees would receive unfair or disparate treatment.
 
    Similarly, it was contended that there would be an impairment of the
 exclusive representative's capacity to monitor the seat belt program,
 and to represent aggrieved employees.  These assertions were speculative
 in nature.  It cannot be presumed that this administrative change would
 have impeded efforts to monitor organizational commander adjudications,
 or that it would have interfered with the right of any exclusive
 representative to represent or assist bargaining unit employees.  The
 mere assertion of these contentions by counsel representing the General
 Counsel, without more, would not demonstrate a factual basis for finding
 a foreseeable adverse impact as claimed.
 
    (24) This circumstance makes it necessary to determine the nature of
 the Respondent's bargaining obligation with r