26:0491(59)CA - HHS, SSA, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Region II and AFGE Local 1760 -- 1987 FLRAdec CA
[ v26 p491 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
26 FLRA No. 59 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND APPEALS, REGION II Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1760 Charging Party Case No. 2-CA-60465 DECISION AND ORDER I. Statement of the Case This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority in accordance with section 2429.1(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, based on a stipulation of facts by the parties, who have agreed that no material issue of fact exists. The Respondent and the General Counsel have filed briefs. The complaint, issued November 26, 1986, alleges that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) by refusing to furnish the Union with the names and home addresses of bargaining unit employees it represents. The request was made under section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute. We conclude that the Respondent violated the Statute as alleged. II. Facts of the Case On March 10, 1986, the Union, which is the exclusive representative of a unit of the Respondent's employees, requested the names and home addresses of unit employees. The Union sought the data under section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute. The Union stated that the information was necessary to solicit employees' views on a management program to redesign the disability review process, resource allocations and a modernization program. On March 25, 1986, the Respondent supplied the names and office locations of unit employees but denied the request for home addresses, stating its "understanding that you are not entitled to the home addresses . . . under existing FLRA case law(.)" The Respondent suggested that the Union "discuss alternative means of accessibility" to unit employees with its labor relations coordinator. On July 5, the Union again requested the home addresses and asked that if the request were denied, the Respondent suggest specific alternative means of accessibility. The Respondent replied on July 23, suggesting specific options. Finally, on August 1, the Union reiterated its request and explained why the various options for contacting employees were inadequate substitutes. The parties stipulate specifically that the information is maintained by the Respondent in the regular course of business, is reasonably available and necessary for full and proper discussion of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining, and is not guidance, advice, counsel or training for management officials or supervisors related to collective bargaining. III. Positions of the Parties The Respondent argues that disclosure of the home addresses of its employees is prohibited by law. It asserts that the Freedom of Information Act exception to the Privacy Act does not apply because of the alleged substantial privacy interest involved and because the public interest in disclosure is not great. Although the Respondent stipulated that the information requested "is reasonably available and necessary for full and proper discussion, understanding and negotiation of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining," (Stipulation 12(b)), the Respondent argues in its brief that the General Counsel failed to meet the burden of proving that disclosure of the data was relevant and necessary to the Union's duties in representing employees. The Respondent argues that 13 provisions of the parties' National Agreement provide methods for the Union to communicate with unit employees. The Respondent further argues that the Union should have acquired the right to home addresses through collective bargaining "if it suspected that these means were inadequate to permit it to effectively discharge its representational duties." (Respondent's brief at 15). The General Counsel argues that the Authority's decision on remand in Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 FLRA No. 101 (FHAFO), petition for review filed sub nom. U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri v. FLRA, No. 86-2779 (8th Cir. Dec. 23, 1986), settled the issue that disclosure of names and home addresses is not prohibited by law, and that the requirements of section 7114(b)(4) were met. IV. Analysis and Conclusions On October 31, 1986, we issued our Decision and Order on Remand in FHAFO. We concluded that the release of names and home addresses of bargaining unit employees to exclusive representatives is not prohibited by law, is necessary for unions to fulfill their duties under the Statute, and meets all of the other requirements to furnish data to an exclusive representative established by section 7114(b)(4). We also determined that the release of the information is generally required without regard to whether alternative means of communication are available. A. Disclosure of Names and Home Addresses is Not Prohibited Based on our decision on remand in FHAFO, we reject the arguments of the Respondent that disclosure of home addresses of unit employees is prohibited by law. B. The General Counsel Has Established that the Data is Necessary for the Union to Fulfill Its Obligations As to the Respondent's argument that the information was not necessary, the Respondent stipulated that the information sought was necessary. But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Respondent did not mean what is suggested by the plain language of the stipulation, as we noted in FHAFO, we will not review the adequacy of alternative methods of communication on a case-by-case basis. As we stated, communication which would be facilitated by release of home addresses is "fundamentally different from other communication through alternative means which are controlled in whole or in part by the agency." (Slip op. at 9). C. Conclusion In view of the foregoing, we conclude that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute by refusing to provide the Union with home addresses of bargaining unit employees. ORDER Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, and Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Region II, shall: 1. Cease and desist from: (a) Refusing to furnish, upon request of American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1760, the exclusive representative of a unit of its employees, the home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit it represents. (b) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining or coercing its employees in the exercise of the rights assured them by the Statute. 2. Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Statute: (a) Upon request by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1760, the exclusive representative of a unit of its employees, furnish it with the home addresses of employees in the bargaining unit it represents. (b) Post at its facilities in Region II where bargaining unit employees represented by American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1760 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 Regional Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Region II, and shall be posted and maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places, including all bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken to insure that such 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 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. Issued, Washington, D.C. March 31, 1987. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES AS ORDERED BY THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND TO EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE WE NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT: WE WILL NOT refuse to furnish, upon request of American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1760, the exclusive representative of a unit of our employees, the home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit it represents. WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner, interfere with, restrain, or coerce our employees in the exercise of the rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. WE WILL upon request by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1760, the exclusive representative of a unit of our employees, furnish it with the home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit it represents. (Activity) Dated: By: (Signature) (Title) 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, Rm. 3700, New York, N.Y. 10278, and whose telephone number is: (212) 264-4934.