27:0310(42)CA - VA, Washington, DC and VA Medical Center, North Chicago, IL and AFGE Local 2107 -- 1987 FLRAdec CA



[ v27 p310 ]
27:0310(42)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 27 FLRA No. 42
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION 
 WASHINGTON, D.C. AND 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL 
 CENTER, NORTH CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2107, AFL-CIO
 Charging Party
 
                                            Case No. 5-CA-70131
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
                         I.  Statement of the Case
 
    This matter is before the Authority under section 2429.1(a) of our
 Regulations based on the parties' stipulation of facts.  The complaint
 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 provide the Union with the names and home addresses of all
 employees in the Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center, North
 Chicago, Illinois bargaining unit.  The General Counsel and the
 Respondent have filed briefs with the Authority.  For the reasons
 discussed below, we find that the Respondent has committed the unfair
 labor practices as alleged.
 
                              II.  Background
 
    By letter dated December 17, 1986, the President of American
 Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 2107 (the Union)
 requested the Director of the North Chicago VA Medical Center to provide
 the Union with the names and home addresses of all bargaining unit
 employees at the activity.  There are approximately 1544 employees in
 the bargaining unit.  The parties were in negotiations for a local
 supplemental agreement to the governing master agreement.  The Union
 wished to solicit concerns and opinions regarding the local supplemental
 agreement and regarding a contracting-out study.
 
    The Respondent's Personnel Division Chief notified the Local Union
 President by letter on December 23, 1966, that the listing was being
 prepared.  In a telephone conversation on or about January 26, 1987,
 however, the Respondent's Personnel Division Chief refused to provide
 the home addresses of the bargaining unit members to the Union.  The
 Respondent has continued to refuse to provide the home addresses of
 employees to the Union.
 
    The parties have stipulated that the information requested by the
 Union is normally maintained by Respondent in the regular course of
 business, is reasonably available, and does not constitute guidance,
 advice, counsel, or training for management officials or supervisors,
 relating to collective bargaining.
 
                       II.  Positions of the Parties
 
                            A.  The Respondent
 
    The Respondent states that section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute requires
 federal employers to release "data" only when it "is reasonably
 available and necessary for full and proper discussion, understanding,
 and negotiation of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining"
 and only "to the extent not prohibited by law." The Respondent asserts
 that disclosure of the information requested by the Union is not
 required by section 7114(b) because such disclosure is prohibited by law
 under the Privacy Act.  The Respondent contends that even if the Privacy
 Act did not prohibit disclosure, section 7114(b) would not require an
 agency to furnish to a labor organization the employees' names and home
 addresses.  The Respondent contends that only data related to conditions
 of employment are required to be given to a union under section 7114(b)
 during contract negotiations.
 
    The Respondent asserts further that even if the employees' names and
 home addresses are records in a system of records and one or more of the
 exceptions to the Privacy Act's disclosure prohibition do not apply, the
 nonconsensual disclosure of home addresses is nevertheless precluded by
 the Privacy Act.  The Respondent contends that neither the Freedom of
 Information Act nor the routine use exceptions apply.
 
    Finally, the Respondent asserts that adequate alternative means exist
 for communication between the Union and the bargaining unit members
 making unnecessary the Union's need for the employees' names and home
 addresses.
 
                          B.  The General Counsel
 
    The General Counsel argues that our decision on remand in Farmers
 Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 FLRA No. 101
 (1986), petition for review filed sub nom. U.S. Department of
 Agriculture and the Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St.
 Louis, Missouri v. FLRA, No. 86-2579 (8th Cir. Dec. 23, 1986) is
 controlling in this case.  The General Counsel submits that the
 Respondent's refusal to provide the home addresses of bargaining unit
 employees violates section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute and constitutes the
 unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint.
 
                       IV.  Analysis and Conclusions
 
    In our decision on remand in Farmers Home, we held that the release
 of the 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 of section 7114(b)(4).  Our decision in Farmers Home
 analyzed the two exceptions to the Privacy Act's bar to disclosure of
 personal information pertinent to the release of employees' names and
 home addresses:  exception (b)(2) concerning the Freedom of Information
 Act, and exception (b)(3) relating to "routine use" of information.  We
 found that both exceptions to the Privacy Act's bar applied so as to
 authorize release of the information under the Privacy Act.
 
    In our decision in Departments of the Army and Air Force, Army and
 Air Force Exchange Service Headquarters, Dallas, Texas and Army and Air
 Force Exchange Service, McClellan Air Force Base, California, 26 FLRA
 No. 85 (1987), application for enforcement filed sub nom. FLRA v.
 Departments of the Army and Air Force, Army and Air Force Exchange
 Service Headquarters, Dallas, Texas and Army and Air Force Exchange
 Service, McClellan Air Force Base, California, No. 87-1201 (D.C. Cir.
 May 4, 1987), we addressed the situation where employees' home addresses
 were not in a system of records governed by the Office of Personnel
 Management's routine use statement which allows disclosure to unions.
 We found that this distinction does not affect the disclosure of the
 employees' home addresses to a union under exception (b)(2) of the
 Privacy Act.  Thus, regardless of the particular character of the system
 of records containing the employees' home addresses, disclosure may
 still be made to a union.
 
    We also found in Farmers Home that the release of the information is
 generally required without regard to whether alternative means of
 comunication are available.  Further, from the parties' stipulation, it
 is evident that the other requirements of section 7114(b)(4)(A), (B) and
 (C) have been met.  Consistent with our decision in Farmers Home, we
 therefore find that the Respondent was required to furnish the Union
 with the home addresses of the employees in the bargaining unit.  Its
 refusal to do so violated section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the
 Statute.
 
                                 V.  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 Veterans Administration, Washington, D.C. and the Veterans
 Administration Medical Center, North Chicago, Illinois, shall:
 
    1.  Cease and desist from:
 
          (a) Refusing to furnish, upon request of the American
       Federation of Government Employees, Local 2107, AFL-CIO, the
       exclusive representative of its employees, the names and home
       addresses of all bargaining unit employees located at its North
       Chicago VA Medical Center.
 
          (b) In any like or related manner, interfering with,
       restraining, or coercing its employees in the exercise of rights
       assured them by the Statute.
 
    2.  Take the following affirmative action in order to