27:0020(4)CA - HHS, SSA and AFGE -- 1987 FLRAdec CA
[ v27 p20 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
27 FLRA No. 4 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Charging Party Case No. 3-CA-60554 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 home addresses of all bargaining unit employees assigned to the Respondent's field operations. 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 The Union is the exclusive representative of separate nationwide consolidated units of the Respondent's nonprofessional and professional employees. By letter dated August 1, 1986, the Union requested the Respondent to furnish the home addresses of unit employees under the jurisdiction of the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals, and explained why it considered direct mail communication the most effective way to fulfill the duty to represent the employees. It also listed four issues related to its duty to represent employees which it intended to address in such communication. By letter of August 25, 1986, the Respondent declined to furnish the list of home addresses of unit employees indicating that the Union has "various media available for communicating with employees," and that the Activity, Social Security Administration, "has denied similar AFGE request," and that it "views the furnishing of employee names and addresses . . . to be a violation of the Privacy Act." The parties agree that the information sought is maintained in a "system of records" as that phrase is defined and governed by the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552(a)), and is retrievable from this system of records by use of a personal identifier (employee names). III. Positions of the Parties The General Counsel asserts that our Decision on Remand in Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 FLRA No. 101 (October 31, 1986) (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) is dispositive of this case. The Respondent takes issue with our decision on remand in FHAFO, arguing that disclosure of home addresses of employees is prohibited by law and that in any event in this case the General Counsel failed to establish that the information was necessary, relevant and readily available as required by section 7114(b) of the Statute. IV. Analysis and Conclusions In 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 obligations under the Statute, and meets all of the other requirements 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. Based upon our decision in FHAFO and for the reasons stated more fully in that decision, we reject the Respondent's assertion that disclosure of the information is prohibited by law. In its exceptions, the Respondent noted that in our decision in FHAFO, we did not address the guidance to agencies contained in the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) concerning the "routine use" Privacy Act exception to disclosure. The Respondent argues here that FPM Supplement 711-1, Appendix C shows that disclosure of employees' home addresses to a union has never been considered by the Civil Service Commission or the Office of Personnel Management to be a routine use under the Privacy Act. However, on May 12, 1986, OPM deleted FPM Supplement 711-1 containing Appendix C. FPM Supplement 711-1, Labor-Management Relations, Installment 19 (May 12, 1986) (Addendum C). The instruction from OPM indicated essentially that material from the supplement had been updated and incorporated in FPM Chapter 711. Ibid. The revised FPM Chapter 711 did not, however, incorporate the former Appendix C guidance, nor did it provide new guidance relating to the route use. Therefore, there is no need for us to consider such guidance on routine use because it is no longer in effect. We also reject the Respondent's assertion that the information was not shown to be necessary for the Union to meet its obligations under the Statute. Although we concluded in FHAFO that this information generally is necessary for unions to meet their obligations even if alternative means of communication are available, the Union in this case explained in its request for the information that it needed to correspond with unit employees directly and why alternative means of communication would be less effective. Moreover, the Union listed four issues related to address in such communications. Finally, we reject the Respondent's argument that the record fails to prove that the home addresses are reasonably available. The Respondent stipulated that the information is maintained in systems of records and is retrievable by use of employee names. Based on the foregoing, we conclude that by refusing to furnish the home addresses of unit employees to the Union, the Respondent failed to comply with section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute, and violated section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8). 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, shall: 1. Cease and desist from: (a) Refusing to furnish, upon request by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of units of its employees, the names and home addresses of the employees in the units it represents under the jurisdiction of the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals. (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, the exclusive representative of units of its employees, furnish it with the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining units it represents under the jurisdiction of the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals. (b) Post at all its facilities where bargaining unit employees represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, 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 Commissioner of Social Security, 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 III, 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., May 11, 1987. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman /s/ Henry B. Frazier III Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES AS ORDERED BY THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND TO THE EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE WE NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT: WE WILL NOT refuse to furnish, upon request by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of units of our employees, the names and home addresses of the employees in the bargaining units 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 them by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. WE WILL, upon request by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of units of our employees, furnish it with the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit it represents under the jurisdiction of the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals. (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 III, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is: 1111 18th St., NW, 7th Floor, PO Box 33758, Washington, D.C. 20033-0758 and whose telephone number is: (202) 653-8500.