24:0475(51)NG - AFGE Local 997 and Air Force, Maxwell AFB, AL -- 1986 FLRAdec NG
[ v24 p475 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
24 FLRA No. 51 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 997 Union and DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA Agency Case No. 0-NG-777 DECISION AND ORDER on NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE I. Statement of the Case This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal filed under section 7105(a)(2)(D) and (E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and presents issues as to the negotiability of a single Union proposal. We find that the proposal is negotiable. /1/ II. Union Proposal The employer will absorb seventy-five (75) percent of the cost of the Health Insurance, Life and AD&D. III. Positions of the Parties The Agency contends that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain because it does not concern conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees, affects employees outside the bargaining unit, interferes with its right under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute to determine its "budget," and is inconsistent with an Agency regulation for which there is a compelling need. The Union disputes the Agency's contentions and asserts that the proposal is negotiable. IV. Analysis and Conclusions In American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1897 and Department of the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 24 FLRA No. 41 (1986) we held that nothing in the Statute, or its legislative history, bars negotiation of proposals relating to pay and fringe benefits insofar as (1) the matters proposed are not specifically provided for by law and are within the discretion of the agency and (2) the proposals are not otherwise inconsistent with law, Government-wide rule or regulation or an agency regulation for which a compelling need exists. Based on that analytical framework, we held that the proposal in that case, which required the agency to pay up to 75 percent of the premium cost of health insurance for non-appropriated fund (NAF) employees, was within the duty to bargain. In the present case as in Eglin Air Force Base the employees involved are NAF employees whose health insurance benefits are not established by law but are governed by Agency regulation. The proposal in this case is not materially different from the one in Eglin Air Force Base. It addresses employer contributions for life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance as well as those for health insurance; however, the Agency makes no arguments that a different disposition is warranted based on this distinction nor are any reasons for doing so otherwise apparent. In fact, as the Agency acknowledges, these additional matters like the health insurance benefits are governed not by Federal statute but by agency regulations. /2/ In view of these materially identical circumstances, we conclude for the same reasons expressed in detail in Egline Air Force Base as follows. First, this proposal concerns a condition of employment which is negotiable to the extent it is not inconsistent with applicable law and regulation. Second, the Agency has not sustained its claims that this proposal would determine conditions of employment for nonunit employees, interfere with management's right to determine its budget or conflict with an agency regulation for which a compelling need exists. Consequently, for the same reasons as expressed in Eglin Air Force Base, this proposal is within the duty to bargain. V. Order The Agency shall upon request, or as otherwise agreed to by the parties, negotiate over the Union's proposal. Issued, Washington, D.C., December 15, 1986. /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY Dissenting Opinion of Chairman Calhoun I agree with the majority that the proposal at issue in this case is not materially different from the one in dispute in American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1897 and Department of the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 24 FLRA No. 41 (1986). Therefore, I cannot join the majority for the reasons stated in my dissenting opinion in that case. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- (1) In finding this proposal is negotiable we make no judgment as to its merits. (2) See Agency Statement of Position at 4 and 9.