22:0457(46)CA - Army Adjutant General Publications Center, St. Louis, MO and AFGE Local 2761 -- 1986 FLRAdec CA

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22:0457(46)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 22 FLRA No. 46
 
 U.S. ARMY ADJUTANT GENERAL 
 PUBLICATIONS CENTER
 ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2761
 Charging Party/Union
 
                                            Case No. 7-CA-40543
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
                         I.  Statement of the Case
 
    This case comes before the Authority as the result of exceptions
 being filed by the U.S. Army Adjutant General Publications Center, St.
 Louis, Missouri (Respondent) to the Administrative Law Judge's Decision
 in which she found that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and
 (5) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute).
  The General Counsel filed on opposition to Respondent's exceptions.
 The issue in this case involves whether the Respondent violated section
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by changing unilaterally and without
 notice, the established procedures by which the American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2761 (AFGE) was allowed to utilize
 Respondent's photocopy machine and internal mail system.
 
                                II.  Facts
 
    AFGE is the exclusive representative of the employees of the
 Respondent.  The AFGE and Respondent were parties to a collective
 bargaining agreement that was signed in 1981 and has since expired but
 whose established conditions of employment still remain in effect.  From
 1978 until May 30, 1984, four AFGE officers had access to the
 Respondent's copying facilities and internal mail system which they used
 on a daily basis for union business.  The AFGE made use of these
 facilities pursuant to permission it had received from Respondent.
 
    The record indicates that in the interest of security and pursuant to
 its management rights under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute to
 determine the internal security practices of the agency, on May 30,
 1984, the Respondent moved the photocopy machine and internal mail
 system into a room with restricted access.  AFGE was informed on May 31,
 1984, that in order to use this facility, it would have to submit its
 mail to the mail and file clerk who would place it in the internal mail
 system;  further to obtain copies, AFGE must place the material in an
 incoming box where it would be handled as soon as possible by the mail
 and file clerk.  AFGE was not given prior notification of Respondent's
 intent to make these changes nor was it given any chance to give input
 on these changes.  On May 31, 1984, upon learning of the changes, AFGE
 requested the Respondent to bargain about such changes but the request
 was ignored.
 
                        III.  Judge's Determination
 
    The Judge concluded that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1)
 and (5) of the Statute by changing the established procedures by which
 AFGE utilized the photocopy machine and internal mail system without
 providing adequate prior notice or an opportunity to bargain over the
 procedures and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected
 by the exercise of such management rights.  Applying the criteria set
 forth in Federal Correctional Institution, 8 FLRA 604, 606 (1982), the
 Judge found that a status quo ante remedy would be appropriate and
 ordered the Respondent to rescind its changes and bargain concerning the
 implementation procedures and the impact upon adversely affected
 employees of any changes proposed in the procedures by which AFGE may
 use the photocopy machine and the internal mail system.
 
                       IV.  Positions of the Parties
 
    The Respondent does not take exception to the Judge's finding that it
 violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute but only to the
 Judge's ordered status quo ante remedy.  The Respondent argues that the
 status quo ante remedy which orders it to rescind the changes would
 interfere with its internal security and severely disrupt its
 operations, thus impairing the efficiency and effectiveness of such
 operations.
 
    The General Counsel argues, in its opposition, that the status quo
 ante remedy is appropriate noting that Respondent introduced no evidence
 to substantiate its assertions that a return to the status quo would be
 time consuming, expensive and cumbersome.
 
                               V.  Analysis
 
    In agreement with the Judge, and noting the absence of exceptions,
 the Authority finds that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and
 (5) of the Statute by changing the established procedures by which the
 AFGE utilized the photocopy machine and internal mail system, without
 providing AFGE with prior notice and an opportunity to bargain over the
 impact and implementation of the changes.
 
    However, in disagreement with the Judge, the Authority finds that the
 status quo ante order is not warranted.  In this regard, the Authority
 notes that the Judge found and the parties agreed that the May 31, 1984
 changes made by the Respondent were an exercise of its right to
 determine internal security practices under section 7106(a)(1) of the
 Statute.  /1/ In the Authority's view, where a management action is
 based on its right to determine internal security practices of the
 agency, greater weight must be given to the disruptive effect in
 applying the factors contained in Federal Correctional Institution, 8
 FLRA 604 (1982).  To require the Respondent to rescind the changes which
 involved Respondent's internal security would be by its very nature
 disruptive to Respondent's operation.  Further, the Authority notes that
 Respondent's changes were not made willfully for the purpose of
 preventing AFGE from using the internal mail system and photocopy
 machine, but rather only changed the procedure by which AFGE could gain
 access to these facilities.  Although it is true that the changes in
 procedures did make access more difficult, in the Authority's view,
 these problems would best be resolved through mutual give and take
 bargaining concerning the procedures to be observed in implementing the
 changes involved to the satisfaction of all parties.  /2/
 
                              V.  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 Decisi