24:0917(88)NG - NLRBU and NLRB, Office of the General Counsel and the Board -- 1986 FLRAdec NG
[ v24 p917 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
24 FLRA No. 88 NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD UNION Union and NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL AND THE BOARD Agency Case No. 0-NG-900 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)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and concerns the negotiability of a single Union proposal. We find this proposal to be negotiable. II. Background The Union in this case filed three unfair labor practice charges against the Agency. In the first charge, filed concurrently with this appeal, the Union alleged that management had bargained in bad faith when it refused to negotiate over a proposal similar to the one under review here. The second and third charges, filed subsequent to this appeal, alleged that violations of section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute occurred when the Agency refused to furnish the names and addresses of employees in two units represented by the Union. In each instance, the Union elected to have the dispute processed under unfair labor practice procedures first. In each case, the Authority's Regional Office declined to issue a complaint. The first charge was dismissed by the Regional Director because the dispute was not appropriate for processing under unfair labor practice procedures. The second and third complaints were dismissed by the Regional Director on the basis that the information sought was readily available from other sources, and, therefore, the Agency's refusal to provide home addresses did not violate the Statute. After the refusals to issue complaints were sustained on appeals to the General Counsel, the Union asked that we resume processing this negotiability appeal. III. Union Proposal The Agency shall furnish the (Union) National President, the Washington District Vice President, and the Washington Local President, on an annual basis, a list of employees in the units to include: name; mailing address; position title; grade; Agency E.O.D.; and date of last promotion. The foregoing will be prepared as of December 31 each year and delivered by the end of February of each year. A. Positions of the Parties The Agency contends that disclosure of unit employees' home addresses is prohibited by law, specifically the Privacy Act of 1974. The Agency also points out that the Union has other "effective, expeditious ways" of communicating with the employees it represents. In light of this fact, the Agency contends that the "routine use" exception to the Privacy Act is inapplicable to this dispute. While acknowledging that out decision in Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 19 FLRA No. 21 (1985) involved a dispute nearly identical to the one in this case, the Union asserts that "the Authority, upon reconsideration, will reverse itself." In asserting this position, the Union contends that because employees actually have little privacy interest in their home addresses the Authority incorrectly denied the release of bargaining unit employees' names and addresses to the Union. B. Analysis and Conclusion Both parties agree that the question before us in this case is whether the release of bargaining unit employees' home addresses to the Union is a negotiable matter. They also concede that our decision in Farmers Home Administration governs the dispute here. In the original decision in that case, it was held that the disclosure of employees' names and home addresses was prohibited by the Privacy Act. /1/ The union in that case and the union in other cases in which the Farmers Home Administration precedent was followed petitioned for court review of the Authority's decisions. In the course of litigation on appeal, it became apparent that the question of whether unions were entitled to unit employees' names and home addresses under the routine use exception of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 552a(b)(3), had not been examined previously. Although that question had been raised before the Authority, it had not been addressed in the Farmers Home Administration decision. Consequently, remand was requested and granted in that case and two others presenting the same issue. In our decision on remand, Farmers Home Administration, Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 FLRA No. 101 (1986), we held that release of bargaining unit employees' names and home addresses to the union is not prohibited by law. In that decision we noted, among other things, that the Office of Personnel Management has defined one routine use of Federal employees' personnel records as disclosure of information they contain to officials of a certified representative when relevant and necessary to the union's representational responsibilities. Thus, we found that disclosure of names and home addresses was within the "routine use" exception to the Privacy Act. In reaching the conclusion that release of the information was within the duty to bargain, we also stated that "the mere existence of alternative means of communication is insufficient to justify a refusal to release the information." /2/ In our decision on remand we found that the union's written request for unit employees' names and home addresses did not have to be supported by an explanation of the reasons for the request, as is usually required by section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute. In making that finding we stated, at page 8 of the decision: In our view, an exclusive representative's need for the names and home addresses of the bargaining unit employees it is required to represent is so apparent and essentially related to the nature of exclusive representation itself, that unlike requests for certain types of other information, an agency's duty to supply names and home addresses information does not depend upon any separate explanation by the union of its reasons for seeking the information. Thus, we concluded that the release of names and home addresses of bargaining unit employees to the union is not prohibited by law, is necessary for the union to fulfill its duties under the Statute and meets the other requirements of section 7114(b)(4). Based on our decision on remand in Farmers Home Administration, the disclosure of the type of information sought by the Union in this case is not barred by law and is, in fact, essentially related to a union's ongoing representational responsibilities. Consequently, the proposal in this case which also seeks release of unit employees' home addresses is negotiable. See also National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1655 and Adjutant General of Illinois, 24 FLRA No. 1 (1986). We also note that while section 7114(b)(4) obligates an agency to furnish an exclusive representative with information, to the extent not prohibited by law, necessary for the bargaining process, no provision of the Statute precludes the parties from negotiating contractual provisions requiring release of information which is otherwise not unlawful. See National Treasury Employees Union and Department of Energy, 22 FLRA No. 12 (1986). IV. Order The Agency must upon request (or as otherwise agreed to by the parties) bargain concerning the disputed Union Proposal. /3/ Issued, Washington, D.C.