26:0140(16)NG - Maritime / Metal Trades Council and Panama Canal Commission -- 1987 FLRAdec NG
[ v26 p140 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
26 FLRA No. 16 MARITIME/METAL TRADES COUNCIL Union and PANAMA CANAL COMMISSION Agency Case No. 0-NG-955 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES I. Statement of the Case (Footnotes appear in the Appendix to this Decision) This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and presents issues as to the negotiability of four proposals. The Authority finds that Proposals 1 and 4 are nonnegotiable and Proposals 2 and 3 are negotiable. II. Proposal 1 All legal holidays in the United States and the Republic of Panama are legal holidays of the Panama Canal Commission for the purpose of this agreement, in keeping with the Commission's status as an overseas US Government agency and the local practice of the US Department of State. A. Positions of the Parties The Agency argues that this proposal is not within the duty to bargain because it pertains to a matter which is specifically provided for by the Federal statute -- section 111 of title 1 of the Panama Canal Code (C.Z. Code tit. 1, Section 111) and 5 U.S.C. Section 6103. The Union contends that the provisions of C.Z. Code tit. 1, Section 111 are no longer binding on the Agency and that under 5 U.S.C. Section 6103, agencies have discretion to observe local holidays as well as the holidays set forth in that provision. B. Analysis and Conclusion We find that holidays are a matter specifically provided for by Federal statute and, therefore, conclude that this proposal is not within the duty to bargain. Insofar as Federal employees in general are concerned, 5 U.S.C. Section 6103 sets forth holidays. Insofar as the "Canal Zone" /1/ is concerned, C.Z. Code tit. 1, Section 111 sets forth holidays. While there is some overlap as to the holidays specified in 5 U.S.C. Section 6103 and the Panama Canal Code, the holidays set forth in those authorities are not identical. The Canal Zone Code was enacted into Federal statute by Public Law No. 87-845 (1962) (76-A Stat. 6). Section 3303 of the Panama Canal Act of 1979, 193 Stat. 452, 499, repealed portions of the Canal Zone Code and redesignated the remaining portions as the Panama Canal Code. 22 U.S.C. Section 3602. Title 1, section 111 was not among the provisions repealed; nor does it appear to be otherwise inconsistent with the Panama Canal Act. We conclude that it is still in force and that the Union's assertion that it is no longer binding cannot be sustained. /2/ It appears that the holidays which legally apply to the Agency are those which are set forth in 5 U.S.C. Section 6103 and in the Panama Canal Code. Moreover, 5 U.S.C. Section 6103 specifically provides for certain holidays. It does not vest agencies with discretion to designate holidays as implied by the Union. In view of the fact that holidays are specifically provided for by Federal statutes -- 5 U.S.C. Section 6103 and C.Z. Code tit. 1, Section 111 -- we find that the proposal concerns a matter which is not a condition of employment as defined by section 7103(a)(14) of the Statute. III. Proposals 2 and 3 The FLRA Members disagree over the negotiability of these proposals. The majority opinion is on page 7 of this decision, Chairman Calhoun's dissent is on page 12. IV. Proposal 4 The Commission will make every effort to house Panamanian professional employees in Commission housing units, in accordance with CC Res. No. 2-81/CCR (R). Housing and all utilities shall be provided to professional unit employees on a gratuitous basis. A. Positions of the Parties The Agency asserts that this proposal is nonnegotiable because it does not concern conditions of employment; it is inconsistent with international agreements implementing the Panama Canal Treaty; it concerns a method and means by which the Agency performs its work within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1); and it covers non-bargaining unit employees. Additionally, insofar as the second sentence would require the Agency to pay for telephone service, the Agency argues that it conflicts with Federal statute. The Union disputes the Agency's contentions arguing that, under the circumstances, housing is a condition of employment. It asserts that as "key" employees all professionals should be entitled to efforts on the part of the Agency to obtain Panamian consent to their occupancy of Commission housing. It argues that this proposal is not inconsistent with the Panama Canal Treaty or related agreements. It asserts that the Agency's argument that the proposal concerns a method by which it performs its work is inconsistent with its argument that the proposal does not concern a condition of employment. Lastly, it states that it intends the proposal to apply only to bargaining unit employees. B. Analysis and Conclusions 1. The Proposal Conflicts with Federal Law The issue of housing for employees of the Agency was addressed by the Panama Canal Treaty and implementing agreements. Article XIII of the Treaty provided for title to all housing, which prior to the Treaty was owned by the Panama Canal Company, to be transferred to the Panamanian Government upon the Treaty's entry into force. Article III of the Treaty granted to the U.S. the rights to manage, operate and maintain the Panama Canal, its complementary works, installations and equipment. An "Agreement in Implementation of Article III of the Panama Canal Treaty" was executed which set out in more detail how Article III was intended to operate. Among other things, the Agreement established a Coordinating Committee to perform functions specifically designated in the Agreement as well as others entrusted to it by the U.S. and Panamanian Governments concerning implementation of the Agreement. Article II of the Agreement provided that housing areas made available to the U.S. by Panama were to be dedicated to the primary purpose of housing U.S. citizen employees and dependents. Article III of the Agreement. /3/ The housing areas were to be administered in accordance with Article VI of the Agreement. Article VI reiterated the provisions of Article III regarding the "primary purpose" of the housing areas and also provided that: /4/ (1) the use of housing units beyond those required by the U.S. for housing its citizen employees would pass to Panama; (2) those U.S. employees who were not U.S. citizens and who, on the date of the Treaty's entry into force, were occupying housing units, the use of which were transferred to Panama, would be given the opportunity to lease, rent or purchase such units; (3) in addition to housing its citizen employees, the U.S. could use the housing areas for other purposes related to the management, operation and maintenance of the Canal; and (4) the Coordinating Committee would serve as the channel for consultation and coordination between the U.S. and Panama with respect to matters arising under the Agreement. The Coordinating Committee issued a resolution providing that, with prior express authorization by the Government of Panama, it would allow use of housing units by Panamanian citizen employees when the Agency considered it necessary that they reside near their place of work and when the Committee agreed in each specific case. CC Resolution No. 2-81/CCR (R). /5/ We find that the proposal requiring "every effort to house Panamanian professional employees in Commission housing" is inconsistent with the Treaty and its implementing Agreement which generally do not authorize the Agency to provide housing to Panamanian nationals in housing areas which pursuant to the Treaty have been made available for the Agency's use. Under the Coordinating Committee's interpretation of the Treaty and the Implementing Agreement, an exception may be considered only in those instances where it is necessary to the management, maintenance, and operation of the Canal that an employee reside near their place of work. However, the proposal as drafted and explained by the Union does not recognize this limitation. Rather, it seeks blanket eligibility of all professional employees without regard to whether such residence near their place of work is necessary to the management, maintenance, and operation of the Canal. We do not view the Union's assertion that all professionals are "key" employees, without more, as establishing a relationship between where those employees live and the ability of the Agency to accomplish its mission. Because the proposal seeks to circumvent the limitations imposed by the Treaty and its Implementing Agreement as to providing housing to Panamanian nationals, it is inconsistent with the Treaty. Compare National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 6 FLRA 508 (1981) (Proposal 1) which found that a proposal which would require reimbursement for training expenses without regard for applicable statutory limitations was not within the duty to bargain. As determined previously by the Authority, the Treaty has the force of Federal law. International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots and Panama Canal Commission, 13 FLRA 508 (1983) (Proposal 5). The second sentence seeks free rent and utilities for those employees occupying Agency housing. The Agency argues that because this would require it to pay for telephone service at employee residences, this proposal conflicts with Federal statute -- 31 U.S.C. Section 679 (recodified at 31 U.S.C. Section 1348). /6/ The Union does not dispute the Agency's contention that the proposal would require the Agency to provide free telephone service to employees. 31 U.S.C. 1348 explicitly prohibits, with certain specific exceptions, the use of appropriated funds to pay for telephone service at private residences. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the residence is Government-owned or leased. /7/ Because the proposal here does not fall within one of the exceptions, we find it is inconsistent with Federal statute. 2. Conclusion This proposal is inconsistent with Federal law. Therefore, it is nonnegotiable. In view of this conclusion, we find it unnecessary to address the Agency's other contentions as to the negotiability of the proposal. V. Order Pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, the Union's petition for review as to Proposals 1 and 4 is dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., March 12, 1987. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY DECISION AND ORDER ON PROPOSALS 2 AND 3 Proposal 2 The Cost of Living Allowance contemplated by section 1206 of the Panama Canal Act will be determined by the Commission at a rate of 60% of an employee's gross salary. Gross salary for the purposes of this section includes all items of basic pay, including but not limited to differential, bonuses and other compensation. A union representative from the professional bargaining unit shall be included on all boards, study groups or other bodies which are tasked with considering and making recommendations pertaining to the cost of living allowance. Furthermore, the union shall be consulted on all related matters. Proposal 3 The Commission will do everything it can to see that the cost of living allowance contemplated by section 1206 of the Panama Canal Act will be determined by the Commission at a rate of 60% of an employee's gross salary. Gross items of basic pay, including but not limited to differential, bonuses and other compensation. The Commission will do everything it can to see that a union representative from the professional bargaining unit shall be included on all boards, study groups or other bodies which are tasked with considering and making recommendations pertaining to the cost of living allowance. Furthermore, the union shall be consulted on all related matters. The Commission will make bi-weekly reports to the Union on its progress in achieving the goals set forth in this article. A. Positions of the Parties The Agency contends that these proposals are nonnegotiable. In support, it argues that the legislative history of the Panama Canal Act indicates thatCongress intended to bar negotiation over employee compensation in the same manner that negotiation over such matters is barred by the Statute. The Agency contends that because the matters which the cost of living allowance is designed to replace, i.e., commissary, exchange and postal privileges, are not conditions of employment, neither is the cost of living allowance a condition of employment. The Agency asserts that the scope of the proposals is not limited to bargaining unit employees. Last, the Agency argues as to that portion of the proposals which requires Union participation on bodies responsible for considering and making recommendations concerning the cost of living allowance that, because the subject matter of the deliberations involved is a nonnegotiable matter, Union participation in such deliberations is not negotiable. The Union contends that the proposals are negotiable as the amount of the subject cost of living allowance is a matter which is a condition of employment and is within the discretion of the Agency. It also states that these proposals are intended to be applied only with respect to determining the cost of living alowance for bargaining unit employees. Analysis and conclusions 1. Background The cost of living allowance to which the proposals refer is authorized by section 1206 of the Panama Canal Act. /8/ It is intended to compensate certain Agency employees for increased living costs resulting from the termination of their eligibility to use various U.S. military facilities as a consequence of the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. /9/ By the specific terms of the Panama Canal Act the determination of the actual amount of the cost of living allowance is within the discretion of the Agency. 2. Negotiability of Proposals Relating to Employee Compensation Under the Panama Canal Act, the employees in the bargaining unit to which these proposals apply are covered by the provisions of the Statute insofar as labor-management relations and collective bargaining are concerned. /10/ Consequently, the scope of the duty to bargain which applies to these employees is the one established by the Statute. We have recently reaffirmed that nothing in the Statute, or its legislative history, bars the negotiation of proposals concerning employee compensation insofar as (1) the matters proposed are not specifically provided for by law and are within the discretion of the agency and (2) the proposals are not otherwise inconsistent with law, Government-wide rule or regulation or an agency regulation for which a compelling need exists. American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1897 and Department of the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 24 FLRA No. 41 (1986). Thus, the Agency's argument that the Panama Canal Act and the Statute bar negotiations on proposals merely because they concern the subject of compensation is rejected. 3. The Proposals Concern Conditions of Employment of Bargaining Unit Employees At the outset we note that the Union specifically states that these proposals are intended to be limited in application to bargaining unit employees. This interpretation is compatible with the language of these proposals and we adopt it for the purpose of this decision. We reject the Agency's contention to the contrary. Without passing upon the Agency's blanket assertion that commissary, exchange and postal privileges are not conditions of employment, we conclude that the cost of living allowance with which the proposals are concerned falls within the meaning of conditions of employment. In this regard, the Agency is authorized by law to make monetary payments to certain employees based on and because of their status as employees of the Agency. In passing the legislation which became the Panama Canal Act, the Congress expressly stated that one purpose of the provisions of the Act was to minimize the disruption in the working environment and employment conditions of employees of the Panama Canal Company (a predecessor organization of the Agency) incident to the transition under the Treaty. /11/ Given the nature and origin of the cost of living allowance -- a payment to employees as employees authorized by law and for the express purpose of minimizing disruption in their employment conditions -- we find that a direct relationship exists between the proposal and the employment relationships of bargaining unit employees. In view of this relationship and the fact that the proposal is limited to bargaining unit employees, we conclude that these proposals concern conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees. See Antilles Consolidated Education Association and Antilles Consolidated School System, 22 FLRA No. 23 (1986), in which we discussed factors which we consider in ruling on whether a proposal involves a condition of employment of bargaining unit employees. 4. Union Participation on Bodies Considering the Cost of Living Allowance The Agency claims that, because the cost of living allowance is a nonnegotiable matter, Union participation on bodies considering the cost of living allowance is not within the duty to bargain under the Authority's decision in National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1167 and Department of the Air Force, Headquarters, 31st Combat Support Group (TAC), Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, 6 FLRA 574, 580 (1981), aff'd sub nom. National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1167 v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 681 F.2d 886 (D.C. Cir. 1982). That decision, however, is inapplicable to the circumstances present here. The determination in Homestead that the union's proposed involvement in managerial deliberations concerning contracting out was nonnegotiable was based on the fact that the deliberations and discussion in question were part of the decision-making process with respect to a management right under section 7106 of the Statute. However, the Agency here makes no assertion that any management right is involved in these proposals. Moreover, neither party has asserted that the "boards, study groups or other bodies" referred to in these proposals would encompass purely intramanagement meetings held for such purposes as formulating management position, strategies, etc. 5. Summary and Conclusions Insofar as these proposals relate to the determination of the amount of the cost of living allowance to be paid bargaining unit employees, they concern a condition of employment which is within the Agency's discretion. The Agency does not claim nor is it otherwise apparent that the proposals in this respect otherwise conflict with law, Government-wide rule or regulation or an agency regulation for which a compelling need exists. Thus we find the proposals to be within the duty to bargain insofar as they relate to the cost of living allowance determination. In view of this conclusion, we also reject the Agency's derivative contention that, because the cost of living allowance is a nonnegotiable matter, the portion of the proposals relating to Union participation in boards, study groups and bodies charged with considering and making recommendations pertaining to the cost of living allowance is also negotiable. Based on all of the above, we conclude that these proposals are negotiable. C. Order The Agency must upon request, or as otherwise agreed to by the parties, negotiate over Proposals 2 and 3. /12/ Issued, Washington, D.C., March 12, 1987. /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY Separate Opinion of Chairman Calhoun In my opinion in American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1897 and Department of the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 24 FLRA No. 41 (1986), petition for review filed sub nom. Department of the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida v. FLRA, 87-3073 (11th Cir. February 2, 1987), I stated that in the absence of a clear expression of Congressional intent to make wages and money-related fringe benefits negotiable, I would find that these matters are not within the duty to bargain under the Statute. As is stated in my opinion in District No. 1, Pacific Coast District, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and Panama Canal Commission, 26 FLRA No. 8 (1987), I find no such expression in the Panama Canal Act of 1979 or its legislative history. Therefore, for the reasons stated in those opinions, I do not join the majority decision concerning Proposals 2 and 3. Issued, Washington, D.C., March 12, 1987. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- (1) The Panama Canal Act of 1979 defines the Canal Zone as: "the areas and installations in the Republic of Panama made available to the United States pursuant to the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 and related agreements . . . . " 22 U.S.C. Section 3602. (2) In support of its contention that the provisions of C.Z. Code tit. 1, Section 111, are no longer binding, the Union alleges that the Department of State offices in Panama observe Panamanian holidays. However, regardless of whatever practice the Department of State may engage in, we cannot conclude that those provisions are no longer binding given the terms of the Panama Canal Act. (3) Article III (Use of Land and Water Areas) of the Agreement provided as follows: 2. Housing Areas: The areas and installations set forth in paragraph 2 of Annex of this Agreement (hereinafter referred to as "housing areas") shall be dedicated to the primary purpose of housing United States citizens employees and dependents. The housing areas shall be administered in accordance with the regime of civil coordination established in Article VI of this Agreement. (4) Article VI (Regime of Civil Coordination for Housing Areas) provides in relevant part: 1. As provided in Article XIII of the Panama Canal Treaty, title to all housing within the housing areas, owned by the Panama Canal Company immediately prior to the entry into force of this Agreement, is transferred to the Republic of Panama. The housing areas shall, however, continue to be dedicated, for the duration of this Agreement, to the primary purpose of housing employees of the Commission in accordance with the provisions of this Article. 2. The Republic of Panama hereby places at the disposal of the United States, without cost, the use of such housing, within the housing areas, as the United States may deem necessary for United States citizen employees and dependents throughout the duration of this Agreement. The United States may continue to manage, maintain, improve, rent and assign such housing for United States citizen employees and dependents. 3. The use of housing units beyond those required by the United States for housing United States citizen employees and dependents at the date of entry into force of this Agreement, shall pass to the Republic of Panama on that date . . . . 4. In order to protect the interests and welfare of employees of the United States who are not United States citizen employees and who, on the date of entry into force of this Agreement, are occupying housing units, the use of which is transferred to the Republic of Panama, the Republic of Panama shall give such persons the following special treatment: (a) The opportunity to occupy, by lease or rental, or in the event the Republic of Panama decides to sell, to acquire by purchase at reasonable prices, the units which they are occupying on the date of entry into force of this Agreement; (b) In cases of purchase, the opportunity to obtain long-term financing arrangements. (c) In cases where continued occupancy of a particular housing unit is not feasible, the opportunity to obtain other adequate housing within such areas at reasonable cost, on a preferential or priority basis. 5. In addition to housing its United States citizen employees and dependents, the United States may use the housing areas for other purposes related to the management, operation and maintenance of the Canal. The housing areas may also be used for other activities complementary to or compatible with the primary purpose of housing employees of the Commission under revocable land licenses to be issued in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article IV of this Agreement. . . . . . . . 7. The Coordinating Committee shall serve as the channel for consultation and coordination between the two Parties with respect to matters arising under the regime of civil coordination established in this Article. (5) CC Resolution No. 2-81/CCR (R) provided: Whereas Article VI, paragraph 5 of the Agreement in Implementation of Article III of the Panama Canal Treaty provides that in addition to housing its United States citizen employees and dependents, the United States may use the housing areas for other purposes related to the management, operation and maintenance of the Canal, and Article VI, paragraph 7 of said Agreement provides that the Coordinating Committee shall serve as the channel for consultation and coordination between the two Parties with respect to matters arising under the regime of civil coordination established by this Article; Resolves that: After prior express authorization by the Government of Panama, the Coordinating Committee may allow the use of housing units located within the Panama Canal Commission housing areas to Panamanian employees and their dependents, when said Commission considers that it is necessary that such employees reside near their place of work, as agreed by the Coordinating Committee in each specific case. (This quotation appears as submitted by the Agency; the Union does not contest its accuracy.) (6) 31 U.S.C. Section 1348 provides: Section 1348. Telephone installation and charges (a)(1) Except as provided in this section, appropriations are not available to install telephones in private residences or for tolls or other charges for telephone service from private residences. (2) Under regulations of the Secretary of State, appropriations may be used to install and pay for the use of the Foreign Service. Subsection (b) of this section applies to long-distance calls made on those telephones. (b) Appropriations of an agency are available to pay charges for a long-distance call if required for official business and the vouchers to pay for the call is sworn to by the head of the agency. Appropriations of an executive agency are available only if the head of the agency also certifies that the call is necessary in the interest of the Government. (c) Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Army on recommendation of the Chief of Engineers, not more than $30,000 may be expended each fiscal year to install and use in private residences telephones required for official business in constructing and operating locks and dams for navigation, flood control, and related water uses. (d) Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, funds appropriated to the Department of Defense are available to install, repair, and maintain telephone wiring in residences owned or leased by the United States Government and, if necessary for national defense purposes, in other private residences. (7) Accord Decision of the Comptroller General, 33 Comp. Gen. 28 (1955). Compare Decision of the Comptroller General, 53 Comp. Gen. 195 (1973), in which the Comptroller General in applying the prohibition against providing telephone service for the personal benefit of employees at Government expense, distinguished between those Government-owned residence facilities set apart for exclusive personal use of employees and those which could not be considered as set aside for exclusive personal use. (8) Section 1206 of the Panama Canal Act is codified at 22 U.S.C. Section 3646 and provides: Section 1206. Cost of living allowance Effective beginning October 1, 1984, each officer and employee of the Commission who is a citizen of the United States and was employed by the Panama Canal Company or the Canal Zone Government on September 30, 1979, or who is an individual of any nationality recruited outside the Republic of Panama after September 30, 1979, may be paid an allowance to offset any increased cost of living which may result from the termination of the eligibility of the officer or employee and his dependents to use military postal services, sales stores, and exchanges. The amount of the allowance may be determined by the Commission. (9) See H.R. REP. 98, Part I, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. 52, reprinted in 1979 U.S. CODE CONG. & AD. NEWS 1034, 1054; S. REP. NO. 255, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. 22-23 (1979); H.R. REP. NO. 473, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. 57, reprinted in 1979 U.S. CODE CONG. & AD. NEWS 1034, 1139-40. (10) Section 1271(a) of the Panama Canal Act which is codified at 22 U.S.C. Section 3701 provides: Sec. 1271. (a) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the applicability of chapter 71 of title 5, United States Code, relating to labor-management and employee relations, with respect to the Commission or the operations of any other Executive agency conducted in that area of the Republic of Panama which, on September 30, 1979, was the Canal Zone, except that in applying those provisions -- (1) the definition of "employee" shall be applied without regard to clause (i) of section 7103(a)(2) of such title 5 which relates to nationality and citizenship; and (2) a unit shall be considered to be appropriate notwithstanding the fact that it includes any supervisor if that supervisor's position (or type of position) was, before October 1, 1979, represented before the Panama Canal Company by a labor organization that included employees who were not supervisors. (11) The Report of the Senate Committee on Armed Services which accompanied the legislation which became the Panama Canal Act contained the following statements: Third, in arriving at its recommended version of the implementing legislation, the committee was very concerned about the welfare and security of United States citizens and other persons working for the Company and the Department of Defense in Panama. Many of the provisions of the bills before the committee relate to these employees; the disruption in their working environment and employment conditions inevitably incident to the transfer of control over the Canal Zone to Panama should be kept to a minimum. S. REP. NO. 255, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. 3 (1979). Section 306 -- Cost of living allowance Since the time the canal was constructed, United States Government agencies building and operating the canal have provided sales stores to meet the requirement of employees engaged in the operation. This practice is required to be discontinued by Article III of the Treaty and the Annex referred to in paragraph 4 of Article III. However, paragraph 3 of Article XIII of the Agreement in Implementation of Article III of the Treaty permits the United States to furnish similar services to U.S. employees of the Commission in military commissaries and post exchanges for a period of five years after entry into force of the Treaty. On the expiration of that five-year period such employees will be required to buy exclusively from Panamanian sources and a sharp increase in their cost of living at that time is anticipated. Section 306 authorizes the payment of a cost of living allowance beginning October 1, 1984, to offset any increased cost of living which may result from the expiration of eligibility to buy from U.S. military facilities. The allowance may be paid to U.S. citizens who are employed by the Panama Canal Commission prior to October 1, 1979, and to persons of any nationality who are recruited outside the Republic of Panama on or after that date. The amount of the allowance may be determined by the Commission. Id. at 22-23. (12) In finding those proposals negotiable, we make no judgment as to their merits.