28:0738(92)NG - NTEU, CHAPTER 207 VS FDIC
[ v28 p738 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
28 FLRA NO. 92 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION, CHAPTER 207 Union and FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, WASHINGTON, D.C. Agency Case No. 0-NG-1293
I. Statement of the Case
This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal filed by the Union under section 7105(a)(2)(B) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the Statute). The appeal concerns the negotiability of a single Union proposal, which we find is within the duty to bargain.
All benefit systems, e.g. dental care, 401(k), etc. will be made a part of this contract. No new system will be created without notice to the union and an opportunity to negotiate.
III. Positions of the Parties
The Agency asserts that it is not possible to determine the aspects of the Agency's employee benefit programs which the Union intends for negotiations under this proposal. On this ground, the Agency argues that the Union's petition should be dismissed because the proposal is not sufficiently specific to enable the Authority to provide the parties with a negotiability ruling.
The Agency also argues that the proposal is outside its duty to bargain because: (1) the benefits to which the proposal relates are merely incidents of employment rather than conditions of employment within the meaning of section 7103(a)(14) of the Statute; (2) the proposal would require negotiations on benefits which are controlled by Agency regulations for which a compelling need exists within the meaning of section 7117(a)(2) of the Statute; (3) the negotiations contemplated by the proposal would conflict with the Agency's right to determine its budget under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute; and (4) the proposal concerns matters such as salary deferral 401(k) plans and life insurance plans which cannot be negotiated because these matters are controlled by Federal law.
The Union states that the intent of the proposal is to require the Agency to provide the Union with advance notice and an opportunity to negotiate over changes in employee benefits which the Agency initiates during the term of the parties' agreement. Union petition for review; Union response at 4. In this regard, it argues that the proposal is sufficiently specific to enable the Authority to provide the parties with a negotiability ruling.
The Union asserts that the proposal covers benefits which meet the definition of conditions of employment in section 7103(a)(14) of the Statute--that is, "personnel policies, practices and matters . . . affecting working conditions"--and it is not intended to apply to benefits which are exempted from section 7103(a)(14) because they are specifically provided for by Federal statute. In the latter regard, the Union states this proposal concerns benefits which the Agency extends to employees at its discretion. Union response at 4-5.
Finally, the Union argues that the Agency's other objections to the proposal are speculative at this time because they do not apply to this proposal, but to what the Union may propose for negotiations in the future.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
A. The meaning of the proposal
The proposal provides that existing Agency benefit systems will be made a part of the parties' agreement and that no new benefit system will be created without notice to the Union and an opportunity to negotiate. As explained by the Union, the proposal would require the Agency to provide the Union with an opportunity to negotiate over changes in employee benefits, including money-related benefits, which the Agency initiates at its discretion in the future.
Further, stressing that the proposa