24:0087(10)NG - AFSCME Local 2478 and Commission on Civil Rights -- 1986 FLRAdec NG

[ v24 p87 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 24 FLRA No. 10
 LOCAL 2478
                                            Case No. 0-NG-1068
                         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 two Union proposals.  We hold Union Proposal 1 to be
 nonnegotiable and Union Proposal 2 to be negotiable.
                           II.  Union Proposal 1
          Article 29, Section 3.  (Disciplinary Actions)
          When it is determined by the Employer that disciplinary action
       is necessary, the employee will be promptly informed of the
       reasons why the action is being taken.  Such action will be
       accomplished with dispatch and normally be initiated within 30
       days after management becomes aware of the alleged occurrence.  In
       no case will the Employer bring disciplinary action against an
       employee for occurrences which are alleged to have happened more
       than one year previously.  (Only the underscored portion is in
                       A.  Positions of the Parties
    The Agency contends that this proposal is outside the duty to bargain
 because it interferes with management's right to discipline employees,
 under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute.  The Union contends that the
 proposal would merely protect employees' rights by insuring prompt
 disciplinary action and would not violate the Agency's right to
 discipline its employees.  It also contends that by negotiating over the
 proposal the Agency would not endanger its ability to proceed with
 disciplinary actions when such actions are required by law, as the
 parties' agreement contains provisions to that effect.
                               B.  Analysis
    The proposal would prohibit the Agency from taking any disciplinary
 action against employees for occurrences alleged to have happened more
 than one year previously.  In our opinion, this proposal is to the same
 effect as a provision found nonnegotiable in National Federation of
 Federal Employees, Local 615 and National Park Service, Sequoia and
 Kings Canyon National Parks, U.S. Department of Interior, 17 FLRA 318
 (1985) (Provision 2), affirmed sub nom. National Federation of Federal
 Employees, Local 615 v. FLRA, No. 85-1299 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 12, 1986),
 which required that investigations of incidents for which disciplinary
 action may be taken normally be initiated within 60 days of the incident
 or within 60 days after the employer becomes aware of the incident.  The
 Authority noted that by establishing a contractual "statute of
 limitations" which would preclude it from investigating incidents which
 may result in the disciplining of employees, the provision would, in
 certain circumstances, prevent the agency from acting at all with
 respect to that right.  See also American Federation of Government
 Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1770 and Department of the Army, Headquarters,
 XVII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 17 FLRA 752 (1985)
 (Union Proposal 3).  The proposal in this case, likewise, would
 establish a contractual limitation which would, in certain
 circumstances, prevent the Agency from acting at all with respect to its
 right to discipline employees.
    As a result of this analysis, the Authority finds it unnecessary to
 address the Union's additional contention.
                              C.  Conclusion
    For the reasons given here and in the cases cited in the analysis,
 Union Proposal 1 is inconsistent with management's right to discipline
 employees under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute and is, therefore,
 outside the duty to bargain.
                          III.  Union Proposal 2
          Article 32, S