24:0743(74)CA - DOL, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Council of Field Labor Locals, AFGE Local 644 -- 1986 FLRAdec CA



[ v24 p743 ]
24:0743(74)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 24 FLRA No. 74
 
 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR 
 OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND 
 HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL COUNCIL OF FIELD LABOR 
 LOCALS, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF 
 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 644 
 AFL-CIO
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case No. 2-CA-40440
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
                         I.  Statement of the Case
 
    This unfair labor practive case is before the Authority on exceptions
 to the attached Administrative Law Judge's Decision filed by the
 Charging Party (The Union) and by the General Counsel.  The Respondent
 filed replies to the Charging Party's and the General Counsel's
 exceptions.  The complaint alleged that the Respondent changed a past
 practice and policy affecting unit employees by assigning certain
 Industrial Hygienists (IH) to perform administrative duties in the
 Philadelphia Area Office (PAO) for scheduled 30-day periods without
 notifying the Union and bargaining with it over the impact and
 implementation of the change, thereby violating section 7116(a)(1) and
 (5) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the
 Statute).
 
                              II.  Background
 
    The Union is the exclusive representative of a nationwide unit of
 employees, including those in the PAO.  At the time of the hearing,
 there were, among other employees, nine nonsupervisory IHs in the PAO --
 four GS-12s and five GS-11s, and two IH supervisors, including Eduardas
 Skladaitis.  The IHs duties involve conducting industrial hygiene
 inspections in a variety of work places to determine compliance with the
 Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. Section 651, et
 seq.  Sometime in June 1984, Skladaitis met with the four GS-12 IHs and
 informed them that the office administrative duties had grown to a point
 that he could no longer handle them alone;  and that each would be
 assigned to the office to assist him with such duties for 30-day periods
 on a rotating basis.  He then discussed such duties;  requested the
 employees to select the months which they preferred to perform them;
 and stated that he would schedule each employee for two rotations
 initially and at the end of the eight-month period he would set up
 another schedule.
 
    Shortly thereafter, the four IHs were given copies of a June 7, 1984
 memorandum which described the duties to be performed during the
 assignment, including the supervisor's expectations with respect to the
 employees' processing of their regular inspection work.  The assignments
 began on June 11, 1984 and ended around December 1984 when a second IH
 supervisor was hired.  Most of the IHs were rotated only once and some
 did not serve an entire 30-day rotation.  The Union was not notified of
 these assignments, and learned of them after the implementation date.
 
                          III.  Judge's Decision
 
    The Judge found that the assignments constituted a change in past
 practice and policy concerning the performance of administrative duties
 since some of the required duties had never been performed by the four
 IHs;  others had been performed infrequently;  and the employees had
 never been required to spend such an extended period performing duties
 not directly related to the investigation of their assigned cases.  The
 Judge also noted areas where the Union identified potential adverse
 impact.
 
    The Judge applied the factors set out in Department of Health and
 Human Services, Social Security Administration, Region V, Chicago,
 Illinois, 19 FLRA No. 101 (1985) and concluded that the impact or
 reasonably foreseeable impact of the change on the unit employees was no
 more than de minimis.  In so concluding, he noted that the assignemnts
 did not change the employees' normal duties, office location, space,
 hours, or benefits;  were made to cover growing administrative duties in
 the PAO;  were not permanent;  and affected only four employees in a
 nationwide unit.  He further noted that it was not clear from the record
 that similar changes were ever negotiated at the area office level.
 
                       IV.  Positions of the Parties
 
    The General Counsel desagrees with the Judge's conclusion and
 contends that the evidence and the Judge's findings of fact compel the
 conclusion that the reasonably foreseeable impact of the change on the
 unit employees' conditions of employment was more than de minimis.  The
 Union essentially contends that the de minimis test applied by the Judge
 is inconsistent with the Statute and its legislative history, and
 therefore, requests the Authority to reconsider that test.
 Alternatively, it requests the Authority to adopt a "demonstrable
 present or future impact" test.  The Union argues that the change in
 this case had an "extensive demonstrable effect on unit employees," as
 well as a "foreseeably demonstrable effect";  therefore, the
 Respondent's action constitutes a violation requiring, among other
 things, a status quo ante remedy.
 
    The Respondent supports the Judge's Decision.  It further argues,
 with regard to the General Counsel's contention, that even assuming the
 Authority found that the change was more than de minimis at the time it
 was instituted, the complaint should be dismissed because (1) the
 rotations were terminated prior to the hearing, (2) no adverse impact
 resulted, and (3) the subjects the Union would have negotiated (leave,
 training and the impact on performance evaluations) were covered by the
 parties' national agreement.
 
                               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 which 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 this case, we find based on the
 facts and circumstances that the nature and extent of the change gave
 rise to a duty to bargain.  In this regard we note that the duration of
 the change was initially indefinite;  that the change required the
 employees to perform new duties, and others which they had performed
 only on an infrequent basis;  and that it required the employees to
 spend an extended period, which had never been required before,
 performing functions not directly related to their case investigations.
 We also note, as found by the Judge, that the Union identified areas of
 potential adverse effect involving training, leave, and promotional
 opportunities, and was concerned that the change could decrease the time
 for employees to accomplish their normal inspection duties.  The Union
 also argued that the change could cause employees to miss their assigned
 due dates, and would interfere with their timely writing of inspection
 reports which could affect their performance evaluations.  In view of
 these circumstances, the assignment of administrative duties in this
 case resulted in an obligation to bargain.  Further, noting that the
 Union was not notified of the change and that there is no evidence to
 show that it clearly and unmistakably waived its right to negotiate over
 the impact and implementation of such change, we find no merit to the
 Respondent's contention that the complaint should be dismissed because
 certain matters that the Union would have negotiated were covered by the
 parties' national agreement.
 
    Therefore, we find the the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and
 (5) of the Statute, as alleged.
 
                                VI.  Remedy
 
    The Union requests a status quo ante order to remedy the unfair labor
 practices by the Respondent.  We conclude that such a remedy is not
 warranted in the circumstances of this case where the evidence shows
 that the assignments were discontinued prior to the hearing in this
 case.  Thus, in these circumstances where a status quo ante remedy would
 be meaningless, a prospective bargaining order should fully remedy the
 refusal to bargain violations.  /*/ See Department of Health and Human
 Services, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland, 17 FLRA
 594 (1985).
 
                             VII.  Conclusion
 
    Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations
 and section 7118 of the Statute, the Authority has reviewed the rulings
 of the Judge made at the hearing, finds that no prejudicial error was
 committed, and thus affirms those rulings.  The Authority has considered
 the Judge's Decision and the entire record, including the parties'
 contentions, and adopts the Judge's findings and conclusions only to the
 extent consistent with our decision above.
 
                                   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
 Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration:
 
    1.  Cease and desist from:
 
    (a) Implementing a change in the working conditions of its employees
 in the Philadelphia Area Office concerning the assignment of
 administrative duties without first notifying the National Council of
 Field Labor Locals, American Federation of Government Employees, Local
 644, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive bargaining representative, and
 affording it an opportunity to negotiate with respect to the procedures
 to be observed in implementing such changes and concerning 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 National Council of Field Labor
 Locals, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 644, AFL-CIO,
 the employees' exclusive bargaining representative, with respect to
 procedures and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected
 by the implementation of the change concerning the assignment of
 administrative duties.
 
    (b) Post at its Philadelphia Area Office 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 Area
 Director 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) Purcuant to Section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, notify the Regional Director, Region II, 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
 
  PURSUNAT 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 implement a change in the working conditions of our
 employees in the Philadelphia Area Office concerning the assignment of
 administrative duties without first affording the National Council of
 Field Labor Locals, American Federation of Government Employees, Local
 644, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive bargaining representative, an
 opportunity to negotiate with respect to the procedures to be observed
 in implementing such change and concerning 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 National Council of Field
 Labor Locals, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 644,
 AFL-CIO, our employees' exclusive bargaining representative, with
 respect to procedures and appropriate arrangements for employees
 adversely affected by the implementation of the change concerning the
 assignment of administrative duties.
                                       (Activity
 
    Dated:  . . . . . .
                                       By:  . . . . . . .  Philadelphia
                                       Area Director
 
    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 II, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address
 is:  26 Federal Plaza, Room 3700, New York, NY 10278, and whose
 telephone number is:  (212) 264-4934.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS --------------------
 
    Case No.: 2-CA-40440
 
 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, OCCUPATIONAL 
 SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
    Respondent
 
                                    and
 
 NATIONAL COUNCIL OF FIELD LABOR LOCALS, 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, 
 LOCAL 644 AFL-CIO
    Charging Party
 
    Barbara S. Liggett, Esquire
    For the General Counsel
 
    Mark Maxin, Esquire
    For the Respondent
 
    Before:  ELI NASH, Jr.
    Administrative Law Judge
 
                                 DECISION
 
                           Statement of the Case
 
    Pursuant to a Complaint and Notice of Hearing issued on October 31,
 1984 by the Regional Director for the Federal Labor Relations Authority,
 New York, New York, a hearing was held before the undersigned on
 February 19, 1985.
 
    This proceeding arose under the Federal Service Labor-Management
 Relations Statute (herein called the Statute).  It resulted from a
 charge filed on August 1, 1984 by the National Council of Field Labor
 Locals, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 644, AFL-CIO,
 (herein called the Union) against U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational
 Safety and Health Administration (herein called the Respondent).
 
    The Compalint alleges that the agency violated sections 7116(a)(1)
 and (5) of the Statute by changing a past practice and policy affecting
 bargaining unit employees by assigning GS-12 Industrial Hygienists to
 perform administrative duties in its Philadelphia Area Office for
 scheduled 30-day periods.
 
    All parties were represented at the hearing.  Each was afforded full
 opportunity to be heard, adduce evidence, and to examine as well as
 cross-examine witnesses.  Thereafter, briefs were filed with the
 undersigned which have been duly considered.
 
    Upon the entire record herein, from my observation of the witnesses
 and their demeanor, and from all of the testimony and evidence adduced
 at the hearing, I make the follwing findings and conclusions:
 
                             Findings of Fact
 
    The Union is the exclusive representative of a nationwide unit of
 employees, including employees of its Respondent's Philadelphia Area
 Office.  The Charging Party is a constituent local of the Union.  A
 collective bargaining agreement, effective August 17, 1978, is currently
 in effect between the Union and Respondent.
 
    The Philadelphia Area Office supervisory staff is headed by Area
 Director Bernard Dillon and five supervisors in 3 different areas:  two
 industrial hygienist supervisors, two safety supervisors, and an office
 management supervisor who is responsible for the clerical staff ahd who
 report to Dillon.  Eduardas Skladaitis and Chris Komis are the
 industrial hygienists supervision.  In addition to the supervisors there
 were at the time of the hearing nine nonsupervisory industrial
 hygienists in the office:  four GS-12s and five GS-11's.
 
    Sometime in early June 1984, Skladaitis called a meeting of the four
 GS-12 industrial hygienists in the office and informed them that the
 office administrative duties had grown to a point where he could no
 longer handle all the duties alone.  Skladaitis told the GS-12's that
 they would be assigned, on a rotating basis, to be in the office for
 30-day periods to assist him in performing these various administrative
 duties.  Skladaitis then discussed, in general terms, the administrative
 functions he was assigning to them.  Skladaitis requested that the
 employees select the months which they preferred to perform their
 administrative assignments, and said that he would schedule two
 rotations for the time being, and then at the conclusion of the eight
 month period, set up the schedule again.
 
    Shortly thereafter, probably a day or two after the meeting, the four
 were given copies of a memorandum dated June 7, 1984, which established
 precise duties to be performed during the administrative assignments to
 the office including, Skladaitis' expectations with respect to the
 employees' processing of their regular inspection work.  The memorandum
 stated in part that,
 
          (n)o field work will be required during these periods unless an
       emergency situation should occur.  You are expected to review your
       open assignments prior to these periods to ensure that any
       necessary field work is performed before your assignment to the
       office.
 
    The memorandum also provided that "(a)s time permits, you should also
 work on open case files requiring no field activity." It also provided
 that the GS-12 assigned to the office would serve as an acting
 supervisor in Skladaitis' absence.
 
    The assignments by Skladaitis which were reaffirmed in his June 7,
 1984 memorandum, constituted a change in past practice and policy
 concerning the performance of administrative duties since some of the
 required duties had never been performed by the four GS-12 industrial
 hygienists.  /1/ Other duties had been performed only on an infrequent
 basis, at Skladaitis' request.  In addition, the GS-12's had never been
 required to spend such an extended period of time performing functions
 not directly related to the investigation of the case assigned to them.
 However, the sole administrative duty that none of the 4 had performed
 was tracking which involved following the development of a case to
 determine its status until final abatement is reached.  This involved no
 more than 5 to 10 percent of the duties to be performed during rotation.
  Thus, the testimony of two industrial hygienists Barry Scott and
 Pauline Caraher was that they had not performed certain duties listed in
 the June 7 memorandum.
 
    On June 11, 1984 Respondent started the administrative assignment
 rotations.  The evidence reveals that the Union was not notified of
 these administrative assignments.  Union President Richard Clougherty,
 who is one of the Union officials designated to received notice of
 change in the Philadelphia Area Office, learned of the change in
 administrative assignments in the Philadelphia office only after the
 implementation date of the change.  Then he learned of the changes only
 when another Union officer, James Weyrauch, telephoned Clougherty to
 inquire whether the Union had been notified of changes affecting
 Philadelphia industrial hygienists.  Weyrauch had himself learned of the
 administrative duty change from the affected GS-12's, who showed him
 copies of the June 7, 1984 memorandum and wanted to know if the Union
 was aware of the change.  After speaking with Weyrauch and reviewing a
 copy of the June 7, 1984 memorandum, Clougherty determined that the
 change in assignments announced by Skladaitis was likely to have an
 adverse impact on the affected employees, and filed the instant unfair
 labor practice charge.
 
    The administrative duty rotations ended around December 1984 because
 a second industrial hygienist supervisor had been selected, thereby,
 eliminating Skladaitis' problems.  Consequently, most of the industrial
 hygienists were rotated only once and even then some did not serve an
 entire 30-day rotation.
 
    The Union apparently foresaw a number of areas of potential adverse
 impact.  The 30-day rotation among only four employees it felt would
 result in employees spending 90 days per year on administrative duties,
 thereby, eliminating a significant portion of the time which had been
 available to GS-12's to accomplish their normal inspection duties.  The
 Union's concern was that while the performance of administrative duties
 is an element of the performance standards for the affected employees,
 it is a non-critical element.  The Union also was concerned that
 employee evaluations might be negatively affected by the decrease in
 inspections which appeared to be an unavoidable consequence of spending
 so much time on non-inspection duties.  While employees do not have
 individual quotas for numbers of inspections they are required to
 complete in a year, the Philadelphia office does have such a quota, of
 which employees are constantly reminded throughout the year.  In
 addition, Respondent publishes a newsletter giving an average number of
 inspections per industrial hygienist on both a region-wide and
 nation-wide basis.  The Union feared, based on past experience, that if
 the office did not meet its goals, management would look for employees
 who had not contributed the necessary number of inspections.  The Union
 also felt that the decrease in numbers of inspections performed could
 affect employees' performance evaluations because the standards allow
 for only one report with deficiencies per twenty-five consecutive
 inspections.  Thus, the Union feared that as the number of inspections
 decreased, employees would be penalized disproportionately for errors.
 
    In addition to the adverse impact anticipated as a result of the
 decreased amount of time available for inspection activities, the Union
 anticipated adverse impact from confining employees to the office for
 the extended 30-day periods.  In this regard, a critical element of the
 GS-12 performance standards in "Time Utilization." Here each case
 assigned to an industrial hygienist is given a due date by Skladaitis.
 The "Time Utilization" element allows for only five missed due dates per
 evaluation period.  The concern here being that employees serving their
 30-day administrative assignments would be unable to complete the work
 necessary to submit their cases to Kskladaitis for review by the due
 dates.  There was no apparent modification of due dates as a result of
 the assignment of the administrative duties.  Contrariwise, the language
 of the June 7, 1984 memorandum is that employees were to plan their
 field work so that inspections were completed prior to the
 administrative assignments, and report writing could during the
 assignments "as time permits." Although all witnesses testified that the
 administrative duties were in fact too extensive to allow for time to
 write up inspection reports, this statement in the June 7, 1984
 memorandum raised a possibility that employees would be held accountable
 for completion of their open inspection cases while juggling new
 administrative duties.  Apparently, Skladaitis sought to dispel any
 adverse consequences for assuming such administrative duties by talking
 to hygienists such as Caraher.  However, no assurances were given in
 writing.  In addition, Article 43, Section 12 of the parties' collective
 bargaining agreement seemingly requires that performance appraisals make
 allowance for factors beyond the control of the employee.
 
    Besides these concerns the Union saw an impact of the 30-day
 assignments on the critical element of "Time Utilization" as an increase
 in the average report preparation time compared to the average on-site
 inspection time.  Therefore, if an employee completed an on-site
 inspection and then began serving a 30-day administrative assignment
 during which he or she was forced to put the inspection aside and attend
 to other duties, the eventual report writing time would be longer than
 if that employee had been allowed to write up the case immediately after
 completion of the inspection, thereby preventing the employee from
 meeting that critical element.
 
    Finally concern about training;  the impact of the 30-day assignments
 on annual leave schedules or sick and emergency leave;  and a concern
 that the rumored second supervisory industrial hygienist position would
 be announced and filled before all GS-12's had an opportunity to serve
 in this administrative function, giving an advantage in the category of
 experience to the GS-12's who had completed the earlier rotations.
 
                        Discussion and Conclusions
 
    Respondent's principal defense in this matter is that the impact of
 the assignment of administrative duties herein was de minimis.  In a
 spate of cases since the hearing in this matter, the Authority has dealt
 with the question of whether a duty to bargain arises from the exercise
 of a management right that results in an impact or a reasonably
 foreseeable impact on bargaining unit employees which is no more than de
 minimis.  See Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security
 Administration, Region V, Chicago, Illinois, 19 FLRA No. 101, 19 FLRA
 827 (1985);  Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service, 19 FLRA
 No. 128, 19 FLRA 1155 (1985);  United States Department of the Treasury,
 Internal Revenue Service, Chicago, Illinois, 20 FLRA No. 6, 20 FLRA 46
 (1985);  Bureau of Field Operations, Social Security Administration, San
 Francisco, California, 20 FLRA No. 9, 20 FLRA 80 (1985);  Federal
 Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C.; 20 FLRA No.11, 20 FLRA 112
 (1985);  Department of Housing and Urban Development, Columbia Area
 Office, Cloumbia, South Carolina, 20 FLRA No. 31, 20 FLRA 233 (1985);
 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C. Area
 Office, 20 FLRA No. 38, 20 FLRA 374 (1985);  Federal Aviation
 Administration, 20 FLRA No. 45, 20 FLRA 420 (1985);  Department of
 Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C., 20
 FLRA No. 52, 20 FLRA 474 (1985);  Environmental Protection Agency,
 Region II, 20 FLRA No. 76, 20 FLRA 644 (1985).
 
    In the above cases the Authority set out 5 factors it would use in
 determining whether a change was more than de minimis.  Those factors
 are:  the extent of the change in work duties, location, office space,
 hours, loss of benefits or wages and the like;  the temporary, recurring
 or permanent nature of the change;  the number of employees affected or
 foreseeably affected by the change;  the size of the bargaining unit;
 and the extent to which the parties may have established, through
 negotiations or past practice, procedures and appropriate arrangements
 concerning analogous changes in the past.  The Authority also noted that
 a determination as to whether the exercise of a management right under
 section 7106(b)(2) and (3) will not necessarily require in every case a
 determination or to whether the exercise of the management right results
 in a change in a condition of employment having an impact on bargaining
 unit employees which is more than de minimis, especially where there is
 no indication that the nature and degree in impact is at issue in the
 case.  Here Respondent exercised a management right when it assigned
 administrative work to the GS-12's on a temporary basis.  Therefore, the
 nature and degree of impact must be considered under criteria
 established by the Authority.  /2/
 
    In all the circumstances of this case, applying the suggested factors
 it must be found that the impact or reasonably foreseeable impact on
 conditions of employment of unit employees caused by requiring four unit
 employees to perform administrative and supervisory duties assigned to
 them was no more than de minimis.  It is noted that the administrative
 duties assigned to these employees did not change their normal duties of
 which they were basically relieved during the 30-day period in which
 they rotated into the administrative assignments.  Nor did it change
 their location, office space, hours or benefits.  In addition, the
 assignments were made to cover growing administrative duties in the
 Philadelphia Area Office for a temporary period.  The duration of the
 change was brief, lasting approximately six months although initially it
 appeared that it would have been in effect for a much longer period of
 time. time.  However, there is no indication from the record that the
 change was ever intended to be permanent.  It appears that, at best, the
 assignment of administrative duties was only intended to last until a
 new supervisory employee was selected.  As to the number of employees
 affected and the size of the bargaining unit, only four employees in a
 nationwide unit, which included many industrial hygienists, were
 required to perform these administrative duties on a rotating basis.
 Furthermore, there is no evidence to indicate that these administrative
 assignments would have been required on a wider scale or on a permanent
 basis, either among Skladaitis' employees or other employees activity
 wide.  Finally, it is not clear from the record that analogous changes
 were ever negotiated at the area office level.
 
    Based on the foregoing, and noting the slight nature of the change
 and the small number of employees affected, it is found that the impact
 or the reasonable foreseeable impact of the change on unit employees'
 conditions of employment in this matter was no more than de minimis.
 Accordingly, it is found that Respondent was under no obligation to
 notify the Union and afford it an opportunity to request bargaining
 pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute.  It is therefore,
 recommended that the Authority adopt the following:
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS ORDERED that