24:0714(73)CA - VA West Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA and AFGE Local 3943 -- 1986 FLRAdec CA



[ v24 p714 ]
24:0714(73)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 24 FLRA No. 73
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION 
 WEST LOS ANGELES MEDICAL CENTER 
 LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 3943, AFL-CIO
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case No. 8-CA-50393
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    I.  Statement of the Case
 
    This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority on exceptions
 to the attached Administrative Law Judge's Decision filed by the
 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3943 (the Union).
 The complaint alleged that the Veterans Administration, West Los Angeles
 Medical Center (WLAMC or Respondent) violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5)
 of the Statute by eliminating the work-break area for cardiology nurses
 at the Wadsworth Hospital of the VA'S WLAMC and by determining the
 location of the new work-break area without notifying the Union and
 providing it with an opportunity to bargain over the implementation of
 the change and the impact on unit employees.
 
    II.  Facts
 
    AFGE Local 3943 represents nurses at VA'S WLAMC.  Under the parties'
 national agreement, the WLAMC is obligated to notify Holly Boyd, a Vice
 President of Local 3943, of any bargainable changes which occur within
 the Wadsworth Hospital.  As to such changes, bargaining is accomplished
 locally with the Wadsworth facility.
 
    The dispute arose on May 17, 1985, when the Head Nurse cleared out
 Room 4214 to convert the room for exclusive use as her office.  Room
 4214 had been shared by staff nurses on the A/D Ward and the Head Nurse
 and used by the nurses to prepare reports and take 10-minute coffee
 breaks, two of which are allowed each day.  The Chief of Nursing
 Services decided to convert Room 4214 to the Head Nurse's office after
 she assigned one Head Nurse to handle both the A/D and B/C Wards.  The
 Chief Nurse did not know that the nurses were using the room for their
 breaks when she made this decision.  The Chief Nurse designated Room
 4236 as the new break area for the entire Wing and Room 4215/4218 (a
 conference room) as the work-report room for the cardiology ward nurses.
  The new break-room is not in close proximity to the patient care area
 and nurses on break cannot hear calls for assistance from fellow nurses
 in the A/D Wards, as they could when taking breaks in Room 4214.
 
    Nurses on the A/D Wards must assist each other with the care of
 patients who have undergone cardiac catherization and in other
 life-threatening situations which require an emergency call for
 assistance and medication and rapid communication among health care
 personnel.  Nurses on break are not responsible for unforeseen
 occurrences when they go off the ward for breaks.  However, due to
 staffing shortages, the nurses often remain near their stations during
 lunchtime and rarely take their allowable coffee breaks.
 
    Shortly after learning that Room 4214 was being reserved as a private
 office for the Head Nurse, Boyd sent her a memorandum, and demanded
 bargaining over the impact and implementation of the change.  She asked
 that the change not be implemented until agreement was reached.  On May
 21, 1985, a meeting took place between Boyd, the Head Nurse, the Chief
 Nurse, and Dora Garcia, Respondent's Labor Relations Specialist.
 Respondent participated in this meeting not to negotiate, but to discuss
 Boyd's unhappiness over the change.  During the meeting there was a
 discussion of possible alternate arrangements.  Alleged agreements
 regarding the conversion of a tub room into the new work-break room were
 later denied by management and management refused to meet for the
 purpose of negotiating on the impact and implementation of the change.
 The nurses used Room 4214 until May 30, 1985.  On May 31, 1985, Boyd
 gave a memorandum to the Head Nurse, with copies to other management
 principals, to protest the change until the completion of bargaining
 over impact and implementation.
 
    III.  Administrative Law Judge's Decision
 
    The Judge found that the change in work and break locations of the
 cardiology nurses did not change the nature of their duties, but made
 the performance of their duties less convenient and efficient.  The
 change in the break room made the cardiology nurses less readily
 available to their patients and unable to respond to calls for
 assistance, should any emergency arise in their absence.  The Judge
 found that while the cardiology nurses on break are not held responsible
 by the hospital for unforeseen occurrences, "their professional pride
 and concern for their patients nevertheless suffers when they must take
 a break under these circumstances." (Administrative Law Judge's
 Decision, at 18.) The Judge further found that the foreseeable effect of
 the change is that the nurses will be less inclined to take the rest
 breaks to which they are entitled, and which are commonly accepted as
 being of benefit to both employee and employer.
 
    The Judge concluded, however, applying the factors in Department of
 Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Region V,
 Chicago, Illinois, 19 FLRA No. 101 (1985), that the Authority would
 classify the changes as of a de minimis nature.  The Judge noted that,
 at most, the changes affect 22 employees out of a unit of 384;  involve
 only the location where the affected employees spend a relatively small
 percentage of the working time (at least 50 minutes a day);  do not
 involve a change in classification, duties, pay or promotion potential;
 and do not deprive employees of a location in which to perform work and
 take breaks (only a less convenient and efficient one).
 
    IV.  Positions of the Parties
 
    In its exceptions the Union argues that the Judge incorrectly held
 that (1) a test should be applied to the facts and circumstances of this
 case to determine whether there was a bargaining obligation;  and (2)
 Respondent has not committed the unfair labor practices alleged in the
 complaint.  The Union also asserts that the Judge relied on factors
 irrelevant to any such test and failed to invoke any presumption
 favoring impact and implementation bargaining.  Finally, the Union
 excepts to the Judge's recommended order insofar as it recommended
 dismissal of the complaint and failed to provide any affirmative relief.
 
    The General Counsel and the Respondent did not file submissions with
 the Authority.
 
    V.  Analysis
 
    In Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security
 Administration, 24 FLRA No. 42 (1986), we reassessed and modified the de
 minimis standard previously used to identify changes in conditions of
 employment that require bargaining.  We stated that in order to
 determine whether a change in conditions of employment requires
 bargaining, we would carefully examine the pertinent facts and
 circumstances presented in each case;  and that in examining the record,
 principal emphasis would be placed on such general areas of
 consideration as the nature and extent of the effect or reasonably
 foreseeable effect of the change on conditions of employment.  We also
 stated that equitable considerations would be taken into account in
 balancing the various interests involved;  that the number of affected
 employees and the parties' bargaining history would be given limited
 application;  and that the size of the bargaining unit would no longer
 be applied.
 
    Applying the revised standard to the facts and circumstances in this
 case, we conclude that the Agency was obligated under section 7106(b)(2)
 and (3) of the Statute to bargain with the Union concerning the impact
 and implementation of its decision to relocate the cardiology nurses'
 work-break room.  The record reveals that the change significantly
 affected the ability of the nurses to provide the best patient care in a
 situation where staffing levels were already characterized as
 dangerously short.  The foreseeable result of the change was that nurses
 would forego breaks in order to remain in the patient care area and be
 available in case an emergency situation should arise.  The change in
 the work-break area was permanent and disrupted the work routine and it
 appears this change made the performance of duties less efficient.
 
    Clearly these are just the kinds of problems that are best resolved
 through meaningful bilateral negotiations between the Union and the
 Agency and not by us.  Participation by the nurses' respresentative in
 the selection of the new break-room could have resolved the dispute and
 prevented it from rising to this level.  A balancing of labor and
 management's interests reveals that they both would benefit from
 meaningful negotiation on the most appropriate location of a work-break
 room.  Mutual resolution of the problems presented by management's
 action will allow the nurses to perform their duties in the most
 efficient and effective manner and provide the Agency and patients with
 the highest level of patient care.
 
    The number of employees affected by the change herein does not render
 the impact of the change less substantial or classify the matter as too
 insignificant for negotiation.  The twenty-two employees (out of a unit
 of 384) were subject to a substantial change in working conditions.  The
 change altered the efficiency of their operation and added new pressures
 and concerns.
 
    Accordingly, we do not agree with the Judg's finding that the change
 in the work-break location did not impose a duty on the Agency to
 bargain with the Union concerning the impact of its decision.
 Considering the totality of the facts and circumstances presented on
 this record, we conclude that the Agency violated section 7116(a)(1) and
 (5) of the Statute by eliminating the work-break area for cardiology
 nurses at the Wadsworth Hospital of the VA'S West Los Angeles Medical
 Center and by determining the location of the new work-break area
 without notifying the Union and providing it an opportunity to bargain.
 
    VI.  Conclusion
 
    Pursuant to section 2423 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and
 section 7118 of the Statute, we have reviewed the rulings of the Judge
 made at the hearing, find that no prejudicial error was committed, and
 thus affirm those rulings.  We have considered the Judge's decision and
 the entire record, including the parties' contentions, and adopt the
 Judge's findings and conclusions only to the extent consistent with our
 decision.
 
    We conclude that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5)
 of the Statute by eliminating the work-break area for cardiology nurses
 at the Wadsworth Hospital of the VA'S West Los Angeles Medical Center
 and by determining the location of the new work-break area without
 notifying the Union and providing it an opportunity to bargain over the
 implementation of the change and the impact on unit employees.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    Pursuant to Section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations
 and Section 7118 of the Statute, it is hereby ordered that the Veterans
 Administration, West Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles,
 California:
 
    1.  Cease and desist from:
 
    (a) Unilaterally eliminating the work-break area for cardiology
 nurses at the Wadsworth Hospital of the VA'S West Los Angeles Medical
 Center and by determining the location of the new work-break area
 without notifying the American Federation of Government Employees, Local
 3943, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive bargaining representative, and
 providing it an opportunity to negotiate with respect to the procedures
 to be observed in implementing such change and appropriate arrangements
 for employees adversely affected thereby.
 
    (b) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining or
 coercing its employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the
 Statute.
 
    2.  Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the
 purposes and policies of the Statute:
 
    (a) Upon request, bargain with the American Federation of Government
 Employees, Local 3943, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive bargaining
 representative, with respect to procedures and appropriate arrangements
 for employees adversely affected by the change in the work-break area
 for cardiology nurses at the Wadsworth Hospital.
 
    (b) Post at the Wadsworth Hospital of the Veterans Administration's
 West Los Angeles Medical Center, wherever bargaining unit employees are
 located, copies of the attached Notice on forms to be furnished by the
 Federal Labor Relations Authority.  Upon receipt of such forms, they
 shall be signed by the Chief of Nursing Services and shall be posted and
 maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places
 where Notices to employees are customarily posted.  Reasonable steps
 shall be taken to ensure that said Notices are not altered, defaced, or
 covered by any other material.
 
    (c) Pursuant to Section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, notify the Regional Director, Region VIII, Federal Labor
 Relations Authority, in writing, within 30 days from the date of this
 Order, as to what steps have been taken to comply herewith.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., December 22, 1986.
 
                                       /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       /s/ Jean McKee, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
                          NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES
 
  PURSUANT TO A DECISION AND ORDER OF THE FEDERAL LABOR
 RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY AND IN ORDER TO EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF CHAPTER 71
 OF TITLE
 5 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT
 RELATIONS
 
                   WE HEREBY NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT:
 
    WE WILL NOT unilaterally change conditions of employment by
 eliminating the work-break area for cardiology nurses at the Wadsworth
 Hospital of the Veterans Administration's West Los Angeles Medical
 Center and by determining a new work-break area, without first affording
 the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3943, AFL-CIO,
 the employees' exclusive bargaining representative, an opportunity to
 negotiate with respect to the procedures to be observed in implementing
 the change and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected
 thereby.
 
    WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner interfere with, restrain,
 or coerce our employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the
 Statute.
 
    WE WILL, upon request, bargain with the American Federation of
 Government Employees, Local 3943, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive
 bargaining representative, with respect to procedures and appropriate
 arrangements for employees adversely affected by the elimination of the
 work-break area for cardiology nurses and the determination of a new
 work-break area.
                                       . . . . . . . (ACTIVITY)
 
    Dated:  . . . . . .  By:  . . . .  Chief of Nursing Services
 
    This Notice must remain posted for 60 consecutive days from the date
 of posting, and must not be altered, defaced, or covered by any other
 material.
 
    If employees have any questions concerning this Notice or compliance
 with its provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional
 Director, Region VIII, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address
 is:  350 South Figueroa Street, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, California
 90071, and whose telephone number is:  (213) 894-3805.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS --------------------
 
    Case No.: 8-CA-50393
 
    VETERANS ADMINISTRATION WEST LOS ANGELES MEDICAL
    CENTER, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA,
         Respondent
 
                                    and
 
    AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, 
    LOCAL 3943, AFL-CIO,
         Charging Party
 
    Marco Gomez and
    Dora Garcia,
    For the Respondent
 
    John R. Pannozzo, Jr.
    For the General Counsel
    Federal Labor Relations Authority
 
    Before:  ISABELLE R. CAPPELLO
    Administrative Law Judge
 
                                 DECISION
 
                           Statement of the Case
 
    This is a proceeding under Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act
 of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-454, 29 Stat. 1192, 5 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.
 (1982), commonly known as the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations
 Statute, and hereinafter referred to as the Statute, and the rules and
 regulations issued thereunder and published at 5 CFR 2411 et seq.
 
    Pursuant to a charge of unfair labor practices filed on June 19, 1985
 and amended on September 19, the Regional Director of Region 8 of the
 Federal Labor Relations Authority (hereinafter, the "authority")
 investigated and, on September 27, 1985, served the complaint initiating
 this proceeding.
 
    The complaint alleges that on or about May 17, 1985, Respondent
 changed the working conditions of unit employees by eliminating the
 work-break room for certain nurses, without first notifying the Charging
 Party (also referred to herein as the "Union" and "Local 3943"), and
 providing it with an opportunity to bargain over the implementation of
 the change and the impact on unit employees, in violation of Section
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.  /1/ The complaint further alleges
 that the same statutory provisions were violated when on or about June
 17, 1985, Respondent determined the location of the new work-break room
 for certain nurses without completing bargaining with Local 3943, on
 behalf of the American Federation of Government Employees ("AFGE"), over
 the impact and implementation of the change.
 
    Respondent denies that it has violated the Statute.
 
    A hearing was held on November 19 and 20, 1985, in Los Angeles,
 California.  The parties appeared, adduced documentary evidence, and
 examined witnesses.  Briefs were filed by the Respondent on January 13,
 1986, and by the General Counsel on January 14, pursuant to a December
 12, 1985, order extending the briefing time until January 14.  Based
 upon the record made in this proceeding, my observation of the demeanor
 of the witnesses, and the briefs, I enter the following findings of fact
 and conclusions of law, and recommend the entry of the following order.
 
                           Findings of Fact /2/
 
    1.  At all times material herein, Respondent has been, and is now, an
 agency within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 7103(a)(3).
 
    2.  The West Los Angeles Medical Center ("WLAMC") of the Veterans
 Administration ("VA") includes two separate hospital facilities -- one
 at Brentwood and one at Wadsworth.  This case concerns the Wadsworth
 facility.  Since 1979, Rowena Bishop has been the Chief of the Nursing
 Service at Wadsworth.  Catherine Gloodt is the Head Nurse for Ward 4
 East at Wadsworth.
 
    3.  At all times material herein, AFGE has been and is now a labor
 organization within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 7103(a)(4).
 
    4.  Since on or about August 13, 1982, AFGE has represented certain
 VA employees.  There are approximately 17,000 professionals in the unit.
  There is presently no nationwide professional contract.  One is being
 negotiated and is in litigation over negotiability issues.
 
    5.  On January 7, 1985, a unit of nurses was included in the
 certified, national, consolidated, professional unit of VA employees
 represented by AFGE for the purpose of exclusive representation.  local
 3943 is a constituent local of AFGE.  No negotiations involving Local
 3943 has taken place since certification.
 
    6.  Local 3943 represents nurses at VA'S WLAMC, which is comprised of
 the two, separate facilities -- the Brentwood hospital has 151
 bargaining unit employees and the Wadsworth hospital has 384.  Local
 3943 also represents 500 VA employees at its Long Beach Medical
 facilities and 250 at VA'S Sepulveda facilities.  Not all professionals
 in the unit are nurses.  Prior to AFGE'S certification, the nurses at
 these hospitals were represented by the California Nurses Association.
 
    7.  The WLAMC is obligated to notify Holly Boyd a Vice-President of
 Local 3943, of any bargainable changes which occur strictly within the
 Wadsworth hospital, where she has worked as a nurse on the A/D Ward in
 the 4 East Wing for one year.  As to such changes, bargaining is done
 locally, within the Wadsworth facility.
 
    8.  The Wadsworth hospital was constructed in 1977.  Its 4 East Wing
 has four wards -- the A and D Wards which serve cardiology patients;
 the B Ward which serves hematology and oncology patients;  and the B and
 C Wards which contain general medicine patients.  The 4 East Wing is
 comprised of four squares, with the A and D Wards being located in the
 front of the wing separated by the receptionist's desk which faces the
 corridor leading from the elevators onto the wing.  The B Ward is
 located behind the A Ward.  The C Ward is located behind the D Ward.
 
    9.  Since the Wadsworth hospital was constructed, Room 4214, like
 similarly situated rooms on other wings, had been shared by staff nurses
 on the A/D Ward and the Head Nurse and used as a room in which the
 nurses prepared their reports and took their 10-minute coffee breaks,
 two of which are allowed a day.  Room 4214 is located behind the
 receptionist's desk, is centrally located between the A and D Wards, and
 is convenient for the nurses on those wards and allows them to hear
 calls for assistance by other cardiology nurses.  In Room 4214 were kept
 the on-call schedules of the doctors;  staff schedules;  discharge
 planning and daily patient reports;  records and personal communications
 from the nursing office;  cardiac catherization schedules;  and a tape
 machine for giving "report".  "Report" refers to a report given and
 received by nurses at the change of shifts;  takes one-half hour to
 prepare by the outgoing nurse;  and informs the incoming nurse of the
 needs and conditions of the patients.  In Room 4214, the cardiology
 nurses not only gave report and took coffee breaks, but also completed
 care plans, charts, and discharge plans for the patients.  Room 4214
 provided a convenient and quiet place for the nurses to work on these
 items.  All of these reports, plans and charts are confidential in
 nature.
 
    10.  On May 17, 1985, Holly Boyd walked by Room 4214 and saw Head
 Nurse Gloodt clearing out papers and throwing things away.  Head Nurse
 Gloodt explained to Ms. Boyd that she was moving out the nurses' things
 and, from then on, would have exclusive use of that room as her office.
 Head Nurse Gloodt was acting on orders of Rowena Bishop, the Chief of
 Nursing Services at Wadsworth.  Chief Nurse Bishop made this decision
 because there would no longer be two Head Nurses on 4 East Wing.  Head
 Nurse Gloodt was to administer both the A/D and B/C Wards (also called
 "Pods") (Tr. 104) and be in charge of some 57 beds and 30 employees.
 Head Nurse Gloodt had been Head Nurse of B/C Ward on the 4 East Wing.
 Chief Nurse Bishop decided on this move because she felt that Head Nurse
 Gloodt needed a place where she could have privacy and a place where she
 could carry out her administrative duties without interruption.  In Room
 4214, Head Nurse Gloodt would be centrally located and adjacent to the
 central communication desk, the primary communication source for patient
 care.  In Room 4214, Head Nurse Gloodt would be more identifiable as
 "being accountable for the total wing" (Tr. 104).  Chief Nurse Bishop
 did not know that the A/D Ward nurses were using Room 4214 for their
 breaks when she made this decision.  Head Nurse Gloodt's office had been
 in Room 4236, which she shared with B/C Wards nurses who gave report and
 took their breaks in this room.  As Head Nurse of both A/D and B/C
 Wards, Head Nurse Gloodt has to counsel and evaluate employees and
 follow up on patient-care complaint.  In making this decision, Chief
 Nurse Bishop designated Room 4236 as the break area for the whole 4 East
 Wing, and Room 4215/4218 (a conference room which links Wards A and B)
 as the work-report room for the cardiology ward nurses.
 
    11.  Room 4236 measures 9.5 by 13 feet.  Room 4214 measures 8.5 by
 11.5 feet.  Both have locked desks and file cabinets.  Room 4236 is
 located on Ward B, down a long hallway from Room 4214 and around the
 corner in the rear of the 4 East Wing.  It is 69 feet from Room 4214;
 159 feet from the most remote area of Ward A, in contrast to 90 feet
 distance between Room 4214 and this area;  and 183 feet from the most
 remote area of Ward D, in contrast to 114 feet distance between Room
 4214 and this area.  The cardiology nurses on breaks in Room 4236 can
 not hear calls for assistance from fellow nurses in the A/D Wards, as
 they could when taking breaks in Room 4214.
 
    12.  Nurses on the A/D Wards must assist each other when patients who
 have undergone cardiac catherization begin to bleed from the femoral
 artery or from a major vessel.  The procedure for stopping the flow of
 blood does not permit a cardiology nurse the opportunity to reach for a
 telephone since both hands must be used to place pressure on the artery
 or vessel.  Cardiac catherizations occur one to three times daily at
 Wadsworth.  Other life-threatening situations faced by nurses on the A/D
 Wards include a patient experiencing chest pain, which could be a
 myocardial infarction requiring an emergency call for assistance and
 medication, and a patient experiencing cardiac arrest, which requires
 rapid communication among health care personnel.
 
    13.  Nurses on break are not responsible for unforeseen occurrences.
 They are held responsible for changes in a patient's condition that the
 nurse was aware of prior to going on break or that the nurse was
 involved with in some way, or for treatment that was supposed to be
 administered and was not, and for not informing a colleague that the
 nurse is taking a break.  When a nurse takes a break, another nursing
 personnel must be available.  See TR. 155-156 and 166 where Chief Nurse
 Bishop so testified, and whose testimony I credit on this point.  /3/
 
    14.  Nurses are allowed to go off the ward for breaks.  However, due
 to staffing shortages, many times the nurses remain near their stations
 even during lunchtime and "rare(ly)" take their allowable coffee break
 (TR. 183).  Most of the time, on the day shift, 3 nursing personnel care
 for the 25 beds on the A/D Wards, a situation regarded as "dangerously
 short" by the nurses (TR.65).
 
    15.  The conference room now being jsed by the A/D nurses to give
 report on the tape machine is also used for doctor and patient care
 conferences and by students and other hospital personnel.  Scheduling
 conflicts sometimes interfere with the nurses giving report on the tape
 recorder.  A transient couple removed and taped over confidential
 patient information since the move of the tape recorder to the
 conference room.  This never happened while the tape machine was kept in
 Room 4214, although it too is kept unlocked.
 
    16.  The "morale" of the cardiology nurses, and their "dignity"
 suffered when they were "put out" of Room 4214 to make room for a
 private office for Head Nurse Gloodt (TR. 49).  The nurses no longer
 have as private an area to complete discharge planning and patient care
 plans.  These plans can be made at the nursing station and on the ward,
 but with less ease and efficiency.  There is now the possibility of a
 breach of patient confidentiality since personnel matters are discussed
 within earshot of people randomly walking by the nurses.  Also, the
 written materials used by the nurses in performing their duties, and
 formerly kept in Room 4214, are now to be found on three different
 bulletin boards.
 
    17.  On May 17, 1985, shortly after learning that Room 4214 was being
 reserved as a private office for Head Nurse Gloodt, Nurse Boyd sent her
 a memorandum, as Vice-President of Local 3943, and demanded bargaining
 over the impact and implementation of the change.  She asked Head Nurse
 Gloodt not to implement the change until agreement was reached and asked
 for a reply by May 22.
 
    18.  On May 21, 1985, a meeting took place between Vice-President
 Boyd, Head Nurse Gloodt, Chief Nurse Bishop, and Dora Garcia,
 Respondent's Labor Relations Specialists.  The purpose of Respondent in
 participating in this meeting was not to negotiate, but to discuss the
 unhappiness of Vice-President Boyd over the change.  During the meeting
 there was a discussion of possible alternate arrangements for the
 nurses' report and break rooms, specifically use of Room 4261 (the tub
 room), as suggested by Vice-President Boyd.
 
    19.  On May 21, 1985, Head Nurse Gloodt sent a work order to the
 Engineering Service in which she asked for expedited service on making
 four changes to the tub room -- install electrical outlets;  dynamite
 floor drain;  remove hand rail;  and remove signs off doors.  This work
 order was prepared on the instruction of Ms. Garcia.
 
    20.  On May 23, 1985, Vice-President Boyd prepared a memorandum of
 understanding to Ms. Garcia in which it was stated that the tub room,
 with certain modifications, would be used as the new report and break
 room instead of Room 4214.
 
    21.  At the parties labor-management meeting on May 28, 1985, Ms.
 Garcia referred to the May 23 memorandum and denied entering into any
 such agreement.  She said that the tub room would not be so used.  /4/
 She said that the nurses could make report out on the POD, at the
 nurses' station, or carry the tape recorder to any empty patient's room.
 
    22.  The cardiology nurses continued to use Room 4214 for report and
 discharge planning until May 30, 1985.  They also continued to use it
 for breaks until about that time "but less and less" as the "atmosphere
 wasn't conducive to that" and they did not feel "comfortable in there
 any longer" (TR. 20).  Head Nurse Gloodt began moving her belongings
 from Room 4236 into Room 4214 on May 17.  On May 30, she moved the tape
 machine from the desk in Room 4214 into patient Room 1 on Ward A.  On
 May 30, she also began locking the door to Room 4214 when she was not
 there.
 
    23.  From May 30, 1985, to June 17, 1985, the cardiology nurses
 usually used patient Room 1 as their report and break room.  At times,
 to keep the room free, it was necessary to place a patient in the B/C
 Ward.
 
    24.  On May 31, 1985, Vice-President Boyd gave a memorandum to Head
 Nurse Gloodt, with a copy to Chief Nurse Bishop and Ms. Garcia to
 protest the change in report and break area for the cardiology nurses
 until the completion of bargaining over the impact and implementation of
 the change.  A discussion ensued in which Vice-President Boyd requested
 continued use of Room 4214 until the completion of bargaining.  Head
 Nurse Gloodt stated that she had been told by Chief Nurse Bishop to make
 the change and that this had been approved by Ms. Garcia.
 
    25.  On June 5, 1985, Vice-President Boyd sent a memorandum to Chief
 Nurse Bishop, with a copy to Ms. Garcia, in which she complained about
 disruption of the work routine and morale of the cardiology nurses
 caused by the change in their work and break room;  submitted four
 possible solutions;  and asked for counterproposals within five days.
 Chief Nurse Bishop acknowledged receipt of the June 5 memorandum on June
 10 and stated that the Labor Relations Section would provide appropriate
 responses.
 
    26.  On June 17, 1985, Ms. Garcia responded to Vice-President Boyd.
 In a memorandum, Ms. Garcia stated that, in an attempt to accommodate
 the concerns of Local 3943 about "the reoccupation of Room 4214 to its
 original designated purpose, which is that of a Head Nurse office" (G.C.
 Exh. 8), Room 4215/4218 (a conference room) "may be used for taping and
 receiving report with exception of those times it is reserved for
 conferences at which time other arrangements will be made" (G.C. Exh. 8)
 and that Room 4236 would be "designated as a break room on 4E b/c" (G.C.
 Exh. 8).  Ms. Garcia gave the memorandum to Vice-President Boyd on June
 17, at a meeting attended also by Chief Nurse Bishop.  Ms. Garcia said
 that "that was what the arrangements were going to be and that there was
 not to be any further discussion about it, or bargaining" (TR. 27).
 
    27.  Local 3943 never received any counterporposals in response to
 its memorandum of June 5, 1985.
 
    28.  Chief Nurse Bishop never considered that management was
 bargaining with Local 3943 over the change in the work and break room of
 the cardiology nurses as she "did not see it as a change" (TR. 134 and
 see also TR. 146).
 
    29.  There are 9 to 10 registered nurses on the A/D Wards and 10 to
 11 on the B/C Wards who "were affected by that change (the establishment
 of Room 4214 as the Head Nurse's office and Room 4236 as the break
 room)" (TR. 164).
 
    30.  There was no evidence of any bargaining history or past
 practices according to which the parties have handled similar changes.
 
                        Discussion and Conclusions
 
    The General Counsel does not contend that Respondent owed a duty to
 Local 3943 to negotiate "over the substance of its decision to select
 the rooms to be used for work and break" by nurses in the bargaining
 unit.  See G.C. Br. 12.  This is a right of management reserved to it by
 Section 7106(b) (1) of the Statute /5/ and, of course, includes the
 right to make a wrong decision which the record indicates may have
 happened here.  /6/ While management may elect to bargain over Section
 7106(b)(1) rights, it did not do so here;  and the General Counsel does
 not seem to contend otherwise.  At most, Respondent listened to concerns
 expressed by the nurses and tried to alleviate them.
 
    The rights which are at issue here are the rights of a labor
 organization to bargain with management over procedures management will
 observe in exercising its authority, and appropriate arrangements for
 employees adversely affected by the exercise of management authority --
 so-called "impact and implementation" bargaining.  See Section
 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute.  /7/
 
    Respondent admittedly did not bargain with Local 3943 over the impact
 and implementation of its decision to relocate the work and break areas
 of the nurses in the A/D Wards of its Wadsworth hospital and contends
 that such bargaining was not necessary because the change was de minimis
 in nature.  See R. Br. 4.  If, indeed, the change was of a de minimis
 nature, this Authority does not view bargaining as necessary under the
 Statute.
 
    In measuring whether a change is de minimis nature, the Authority
 carefully examines "the totality of the facts and circumstances
 presented in each case".  See Department of Health and Human Services,
 Social Security Administration, Region V, Chicago, Illinois (hereinafter
 DHHS), 19 FLRA 827, 829 (1985).  Among the factors considered are these:
 
          1.  The nature of the change as it affects or foreseeably
       affects unit employees, as individuals or as a whole (e.g., the
       extent of the change in work duties, location, office space,
       hours, employment, loss of benefits and/or wages, etc.);
 
          2.  The temporary, recurring or permanent nature of the change
       (i.e., the duration and the frequency with which it affects unit
       employees);
 
          3.  The number of unit employees affected or foreseeably
       affected by the change;
 
          4.  The size of the bargaining unit;
 
          5.  The extent to which the parties may have established,
       through negotiation or past practice, procedures and appropriate
       arrangements concerning analogous changes in the past.
 
    See DHHS, 19 FLRA at 830 and 835.  Such considerations "are not
 intended to constitute an all-inclusive list;" nor are they intended to
 be applied in a "mechanistic" manner.  DHHS, id. at 830.  Former
 Authority member William J. McGinnis, Jr. also considered a sixth
 factor, namely:  "When would the implementation of the change involve or
 adversely affect unit employees." DHHS, id. at 835.
 
    In DHHS, the change required employees at three branch offices to
 travel to State of Michigan offices in the course of performing their
 duties and was held to be de minimis by the Authority.  It affected five
 or six employees out of a substantially larger number of employees in
 the bargaining unit.  The work duties remained substantially the same.
 The State offices were only six or seven blocks to four miles away.  The
 hours of work appeared to remain unchanged.  The work environment in at
 least one office was similar to that of an SSA office.  Employees were
 compensated for their travel expenses.  The travel time totaled only one
 day, in one office, up to six days in another.  The change was a
 short-lived and temporary one.  And any past bargaining over similar
 changes was limited to consultation concerning the posting of new travel
 schedules.  See DHHS, id. at 829.  As to these factors, the Authority
 noted "particularly the slight nature of the changes;  the short-lived
 temporary duration of the change;  the few employees who were affected
 relative to the total number of employees represented in the
 consolidated unit;  and the absence of any demonstrated bargaining
 history or past practice according to which the parties have handled
 similar changes in the past." See DHHS, id. at 830.
 
    Applying the same criteria as in DHHS, the Authority found a change
 to be more than de minimis in Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs
 Service ("Customs"), 19 FLRA 1155 (1985) where a change ("Minimal
 Passenger Revenue Collection") resulted in the elimination of overtime
 for cashiers at approximately 25 airports and the actual loss of
 overtime earnings for such employees;  had a reasonable foreseeable
 impact on unit employees in terms of potential reductions-in-force,
 reduction in overtime, classification changes and other changes in the
 assignment of work;  was permanent and immediate;  foreseeably impacted
 on the entire classification of cashiers throughout the agency;  and
 created a new, nationwide policy concerning which the parties had not
 previously negotiated on a nationwide basis.  See Customs, id. at 1158,
 relied upon by the General Counsel at page 20 of his brief.
 
    The General Counsel distinguishes the decision upon which Respondent
 relies, and in which the Authority found the changes to be of a de
 minimis nature.  See U.S. Army Reserve Components Personnel and
 Administration Center, St. Louis, Missouri ("Army"), 20 FLRA 117 (1985)
 and compare R. Br. 4-7, 10-11 with G.C. Br. 20-21.  In Army, the
 activity relocated its Date Management and Record Service across the
 hall from the north side of the west end of the fourth floor to south
 side of the east end of the fourth floor.  The originial location
 contained 3100 square feet of space, multiple aisles between desks,
 windows and 42 light fixtures.  The final location had 1550 square feet
 of space, a single aisle between desks, no windows and 27 light fixtures
 and was also closer to the ventilation system cold air return and had an
 increased noise level due to its proximity to another division.  The
 Authority noted that "the work duties performed by the relocated unit
 employees were not affected in any way" and that the relocation "was of
 a limited nature inasmuch as it involved only the employees of one
 organizational entity relocating from one place to another on the same
 floor" (id. at 119-120).  But for the reduction in office space, the
 Authority found the other changes to have been "minor in nature and more
 applicable to resolution through the negotiated grievance procedure"
 (id. at 120).  The Authority also noted that, while the relocation was
 permanent, only 23 employees out of a unit of approximately 1500 were
 affected.  And, finally, the Authority noted that there was no evidence
 of a past practice with respect to prior relocations of employees or
 with respect to other analogous changes in employees' working
 conditions.
 
    The General Counsel also distinguishes, at page 21 of his brief,
 footnote 18, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Columbia Area
 Office, Columbia, South Carolina (HUD), 20 FLRA 233 (1985) in which the
 Authority found de minimis a change that effected the reassignment of
 two unit employees out of a nationwide consolidated unit of
 approximately 200 professional or a nationwide consolidated unit of
 8,000 nonprofessional employees -- both units being governed by one
 master collective bargaining agreement.  (The record did not show to
 which unit the two reassigned employees belonged.) In reaching its
 conclusion, the Authority noted "particularly" that, although the duties
 of the two employees changed, their work location, pay, grade and
 promotion potential did not.  (id. at 236) The Authority also noted
 "particularly" that the change, while permanent, affected only 2 unit
 employees out of a unit of either 200 or 8,000 (ibid).  The reassignment
 was made "pursuant to a national field reorganization (announced in
 February 1983) and a reduction in staff (whereby) the Columbia Area
 Office was facing a loss of 17 employees" (HUD, id. at 234).  Two days
 after this decision, the Authority ruled as de minimis a change at
 another area office of HUD, made pursuant to plans begun in July 1981
 for restructuring the Loan Management Branch of its Washington, D.C.,
 Area Office.  The plans were implemented in October 1981.  The Authority
 found this change also to be de minimis and noted "particularly that
 only three employees in a unit of either approximately 200 or 8,000
 employees were assigned unspecified 'unclassified duties,' that the
 record fails to establish that any other unit employees were directly
 affected, and that the reorganization was of temporary direction." See
 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C., Area
 Office, 20 FLRA 374, 378 (1985).
 
    The General Counsel, at page 22 of his brief, distinguishes United
 States Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Chicago,
 Illinois ("IRS"), 20 FLRA 46 (1985), in which the Authority found de
 minimis a change whereby 2 employees (out of a section of 19 and in a
 unit of all professional and nonprofessional employees of the
 Respondent) were required to keep a log of their daily time changes in
 order to insure that they were properly utilizing their time.  Prior to
 this change, all 19 employees in the section kept only monthly accounts
 of their time.  In reaching its conclusion, the Authority noted
 "particularly the slight nature of the change and the small number of
 employees affected" (id. at 50).  It also noted that the change was
 "indefinite," but "temporary" (id. at 49) and did not change the duties
 of the employees but provided only a more accurate method of recording
 their time use.  The Authority also noted that there was no evidence
 that this requirement "would be applied on a wider scale or on a
 permanent basis, either within the (section at issue) or activity-wide"
 (id. at 50).
 
    The General Counsel, at page 23 of his brief also distinguishes
 Veterans Administration Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona ("VA"), 20 FLRA
 399 (1985) in which the Authority found de minimis a change that
 involved the reassignment of one unit employee to different job duties
 and a different work schedule.  The unit was part of nationwide
 consolidated unit of nonprofessional employees exclusively represented
 by AFGE, with no collective bargaining agreement then in effect for the
 consolidated unit.  The reassigned employee suffered no change in grade,
 pay, number of hours per week, or benefits.  While the new position
 requires the employee to rotate shifts and work on holidays, he will be
 required to work on only one holiday per year and will spend
 approximately 80 percent of his time on the same shifts.  There was no
 evidence to show a past practice with regard to negotiations concerning
 an analogous change in the past.
 
    The General Counsel, at page 23 of his brief, also distinguishes
 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 20 FLRA 430 (September 30, 1985)
 in which the Authority held de minimis a change in which one unit
 employee was reassigned from FAA'S Bridgeport, West Virginia, facility
 to new duties at its Elkins and Ellinore, West Virginia, facilities.
 While the work station of the employee remained the same, the new
 assignment requires him to travel approximately three to five times a
 week.  One-way travel from Bridgeport to Elkins is approximately 55
 miles and from Bridgeport to Ellinore is approximately 42 miles.  The
 employee was required to travel in a General Services Administration
 vehicle which he regarded as unsafe, but did not report.  Prior to the
 new assignment, the employee had, occasionally, traveled from Bridgeport
 to Elkins and Ellinore, In reaching its conclusion the Authority noted
 "particularly that the change involved only the increased frequency in
 travel of one employee in a nationwide consolidated unit" (FAA, id, at
 434).  The nationwide bargaining unit was Professional Airways Systems
 Specialists/MEBA, AFL-CIO ("PASS").  Eleven days after this decision,
 the Authority held to be more than de minimis, the reassignment of two
 unit employees in FAA'S Norfolk Sector, Field Office.  See Department of
 Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C., 20
 FLRA 474 (October 11, 1985), where one employee was transferred from
 Franklin to Norfolk, Virginia, thereby increasing his commute from three
 to five minutes to one and one-half hours.  The other employee was
 transferred from Newport News to Norfolk, Virginia, thereby increasing
 his commute from thirty minutes to an hour.  In this later FAA decision
 the Authority noted "particularly that the Respondent did not dispute
 the General Counsel's contention that the unilateral changes herein
 resulted in an adverse impact on unit employees which was more than de
 minimis" (id. at 477).  The two employees belonged to the same
 nationwide bargaining unit of PASS as those involved in FAA, 20 FLRA
 430, above discussed.
 
    The General Counsel, at page 26 of his brief, also distinguishes
 Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration,
 Washington, D.C. ("DOT"), 20 FLRA 481 (1985) in which the Authority held
 de minimis a change in which additional duties were assigned to unit
 employees classified as Electronic Technicians.  The assignment was
 temporary and involved substantially the same type of duties always
 performed.  No evidence was adduced to show that the newly assigned
 duties would change, to any measurable degree, the amount of time
 required by the employees to complete all their assigned duties;  would
 require travel to locations other than where their regular duties were
 performed, or would demand experience or skills in excess of or
 different from those already possessed by Electronics Technicians.  The
 change affected unit employees at only 2 facilities of a consolidated
 nationwide unit of approximately 8,000 nonprofessional employees.  There
 was no evidence of any past practice or bargaining history which would
 indicate how the parties had handled analogous changes.  In reaching its
 decision the Authority noted "particularly the relative small number of
 unit employees involved (only an unshown number at two facilities) as
 compared to the size of the bargaining unit, the routine nature of the
 duties assigned, and the temporary nature of the change." See DOT id. at
 484.  The bargaining unit was again PASS'S nationwide bargaining unit
 involved in the two above-discussed FAA cases.
 
    Of interest are several other recent decisions in which the Authority
 has applied its de minimis criteria.  In Bureau of Field Operations,
 Social Security Administration, San Francisco, California ("BFO"), 20
 FLRA 80 (1985) the Authority held to be de minimis a change in the work
 assignments of two employees which could affect both promotional
 opportunities and retention, and thus be "significant in nature," but
 was of a "temporary nature" lasting only two months (id. at 82).  The
 Authority noted "particularly the short duration of the temporary
 reassignment in duties, the very few employees affected by the change
 (at most four or five) relative to the total number of employees
 represented in the unit (95 others in the office involved, but a
 nationwide bargaining unit), and the absence of any demonstrated
 bargaining history or past practice according to which the parties have
 handled similar changes" (ibid).
 
    In Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C., 20 FLRA 112
 (1985) the Authority held to be de minimis a change that resulted in the
 removal of one telephone from a field office.  The Authority noted
 "particularly the limited nature of the change;  the few (eight)
 employees affected relative to the total number in the nationwide unit;
 and the absence of any demonstrated bargaining history or past practice
 pursuant to which the parties have handled similar changes in the past"
 (id. at 115-116).
 
    In Environmental Protection Agency and Environmental Protection
 Agency Region II, 20 FLRA 644 (1985), the Authority held to be de
 minimis a relocation of 12 employees, out of a nationwide bargaining
 unit, from one area of a floor about 50 feet across the hall to another
 area, a permanent and immediate change which resulted in less individual
 office and storage space in a noisier location, but the relocated
 employees remained in the same section and division and maintained their
 grade levels, pay rates and hours of work.  The Authority noted
 "particularly the limited nature of the change, the small number of
 employees affected relative to the size of the bargaining unit, and the
 lack of any demonstrated bargaining history or past practice of handling
 similar or analogous change" (id. at 644).
 
    In Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service and its
 Cleveland, Ohio District Office, 20 FLRA 403 (1985) the Authority held
 to be de minimis a change which left unit employees in the same location
 but in a more cramped work space with a loss of individual desks.  The
 Authority noted "particularly the slight nature of the change in working
 conditions other than those which were reasonably foreseeable as a
 result of the 1981 announcement, as to which the Union had opportunity
 to request bargaining;  the few employees affected (1 of 3 offices in a
 district which is composed of 60 districts covered by the parties'
 national agreement) relative to the total number of employees
 represented in the nationwide consolidated unit;  and the absence of a
 past practice concerning negotiations over analogous situations" (id. at
 406).
 
    The facts and circumstances of the instant case are now to be
 considered, using the criteria set by the Authority and as illuminated
 by their application to the above-discussed cases.
 
    1.  The nature of the change.  The change in the work and break
 locations of the cardiology nurses did not affect any basic change in
 the nature of their duties.  The change in work location did make the
 performance of their duty to make reports, charts and plans on patient
 care somewhat less convenient and efficient.  Schedules, reports and
 records upon which the nurses rely in performing these duties are no
 longer available to them in their new work location (the conference
 room), but are scattered throughout the cardiology ward on three
 bulletin boards.  Nor does the conference room provide as secure, quiet,
 and private a place to perform those duties which are of vital
 importance to the patient-care function of the nurses and the hospital.
 
    The change in the break r-om made the cardiology nurses less readily
 available to their patients and unable to respond to calls for
 assistance, should any emergency arise in their absence.  While the
 cardiology nurses on break are not held responsible by the hospital for
 unforeseen occurrences, their professional pride and concern for their
 patients nevertheless suffers when they must take a break under these
 circumstances.  The reasonably foreseeable effect of this change is that
 the cardiology nurses will be less inclined to take the rest breaks to
 which they are entitled, and which are commonly accepted in industry as
 being of benefit to both employee and employer.  Indeed, rest breaks of
 up to 20 minutes are reqarded as compensable time under the Fair Labor
 Standards Act.  See 29 CFR 785.18 and Mitchell v. Greinetz, 235 F.2d
 621, 623-624 (C.A. 10, 1956).  Thus, the cardiology ward as a whole
 (both nursing staff and pa