24:0470(50)NG - AFGE Local 1501 and HHS, SSA, Baltimore, MD -- 1986 FLRAdec NG

[ v24 p470 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 24 FLRA No. 50
                                            Case No. 0-NG-830
                         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 presents issues
 concerning the negotiability of three Union proposals.  /1/ The Union
 submitted the proposals in response to the Agency's announcement of its
 intentions to reassign employees to work on different types of cases.
 At the time the Union filed this appeal it also filed an unfair labor
 practice charge (ULP) concerning the Agency's actions.  It elected to
 have the ULP processed first.  The ULP was decided in Department of
 Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Baltimore,
 Maryland, 22 FLRA No. 10 (1986).
                          II.  Procedural Issues
    A.  The Petition Is Timely
    The Agency argues that this appeal, filed on April 22, 1983, is
 untimely based on a written allegation of nonnegotiability which it gave
 the Union on April 1, 1983.  This written allegation had not been
 requested by the Union and did not start the time limits for an appeal.
 See, for example, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,
 AFL-CIO, Local 121 and Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Engraving
 and Printing, Washington, D.C., 10 FLRA 198 (1982).  The Union presented
 revised proposals on April 7, 1983.  The appeal is timely filed from the
 Agency's written allegation of nonnegotiability as to those revised
 proposals dated April 8, 1983.
    B.  The Alleged Defect in the Service of the Appeal Is Not Fatal
    The Agency asserts that the Authority should dismiss the appeal
 because the Union did not adequately serve it with the initial petition.
  There is no question that the Union's initial filing was flawed.
 However, when the Authority advised the Union of the deficiencies in the
 time set by the Authority.  In its supplemental submission, the Union
 indicated that it had served representatives of the Agency with "a copy
 of the petition for review and related documents." The Agency asserts
 that appropriate officials have, in fact, not been served with the
 initial submission.
    Two factors are important to this issue.  The first is that the
 Union's initial filing contained no substantive information about the
 appeal which was not in the supplemental filing.  In view of the defects
 in the initial filing and the fact that the Union's supplemental filing
 contained all the information relevant to the appeal we find that, even
 assuming that the original filing was not served on the appropriate
 agency officials in a timely manner, the Agency suffered no real
 disadvantage.  The second consideration is that the negotiability issues
 which are the subject of this appeal were also involved in parallel
 proceedings -- the ULP complaint referred to above.  /2/ In the hearing
 conducted on the complaint the Agency submitted as evidence the Union's
 initial filing in this case (Respondent's Exhibit No. 1 in the
 proceedings leading to Department of Health and Human Services, Social
 Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland, 22 FLRA No. 10 (1986) ).
 Moreover, the negotiability of the Union's proposals which are the
 subject of this case was litigated in the context of determining whether
 a ULP had occurred in that case.  See Department of Health and Human
 Services, 22 FLRA No. 10 at 103-105 and 115-116.  In these circumstances
 we find, even assuming that technically the Agency was not properly
 served with the initial filing, there was no prejudice to the Agency and
 dismissal of the appeal on that basis is not warranted.
    C.  Mootness
    The negotiability of Union Proposals 1 and 3 was decided in