22:0570(61)NG - AFGE Local 32 and OPM -- 1986 FLRAdec NG

[ v22 p570 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 22 FLRA No. 61
                                            Case No. 0-NG-985
                         I.  Statement of the Case
    This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal
 filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and concerns the
 negotiability of the following Union proposal.  /1/
          Employees will receive a letter stating that they performed
       work in specially referred correspondence from the OPM Director,
       Compensation Director and Retirement Program Director's Offices on
       a priority basis for the OPF's.
                       II.  Positions of the Parties
    The Agency contends that there has not been a substantial change in
 working conditions which would require bargaining on impact and
 implementation.  The Agency also alleges, in essence, that sole and
 exclusive control over the content of an Official Personnel Folder (OPF)
 is vested in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and individual
 Federal agencies by law, namely 5 U.S.C. Section 1302, Executive Order
 12107, and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 552a.  Thus, since this
 proposal requires bargaining on the content of an OPF, it is
 inconsistent with these authorities and the implementing Government-wide
 regulations set out in Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations and
 the Federal Personnel Manual and does not constitute a condition of
 employment within the meaning of section 7103(a)(14) of the Statute.
 The regulations cited by the Agency are 5 CFR Parts 293 and 294 and FPM
 Supplement 293-31.
    The Union contends that it is entitled to bargain over matters
 affecting working conditions whether or not the Agency has acted to
 change those working conditions.  It also argues that none of the
 Government-wide laws or regulations cited by the Agency prohibit placing
 records related to work assignments in an employee's OPF or prevent
 bargaining regarding the exercise of agency discretion in maintaining
 the OPF's of its employees.
                              III.  Analysis
                            A.  Duty to Bargain
    When a Union files a negotiability appeal unser section 7105(a)(2)(E)
 of the Statute, section 7117(c) entitles it to a decision on the
 negotiability issues in the appeal.  To the extent that there are
 factual issues in dispute between the parties concerning the duty to
 bargain in the specific circumstances of a case, such issues should be
 raised in other appropriate proceedings.  American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2736 and Department of the Air
 Force, Headquarters, 379th Combat Support Group (SAC), Wurtsmith Air
 Force Base, Michigan, 14 FLRA 302 (1984).  Hence, the Agency's
 contention that under the circumstances it has no duty to bargain on the
 disputed proposal is not relevant in this negotiability dispute.
                  B.  Law and Government-wide Regulations
    Employees in the priority correspondence unit previously responded to
 correspondence from Members of Congress and the President, among others.
  Due to a change in assigned work, these employees now also respond to
 correspondence referred to them from the offices of the OPM Director,
 Associate Director for Compensation, and the Assistant Director for
 Retirement Programs.  This proposal would require the Agency to note
 this change is assigned work in a letter to be included in the
 employee's OPF.  Such a letter, in our opinion, would constitute in
 effect an addendum to the employee's position description in order to
 more accurately describe the duties actually assigned to these
    It is well established that the duty of an agency under the Statute
 is to negotiate with an exclusive representative of an appropriate unit
 of its employees concerning conditions of employment affecting them to
 the extent of