30:0937(105)CA - VA, Washington, DC and VA Medical Center, Battle Creek, MI and AFGE Local 1629 -- 1988 FLRAdec CA



[ v30 p937 ]
30:0937(105)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


30 FLRA No. 105

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. AND
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER
BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN

              Respondent

      and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1629,  AFL-CIO

                          Charging Party

Case No. 5-CA-70091

DECISION AND ORDER

The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached decision in this case, finding that the Veterans Administration, Washington, D.C. and Veterans Administration Medical Center, Battle Creek, Michigan (the Respondent) had engaged in the unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint by refusing to furnish, upon request of the Charging Party, the names and home addresses of bargaining unit employees. The Respondent filed exceptions to the Judge's Decision.

Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the Statute), we have reviewed the rulings of the Judge made at the hearing and find that no prejudicial error was committed. The rulings are hereby affirmed. Upon consideration of the Judge's Decision and the entire record, we adopt the Judge's findings, conclusions, and recommended Order. See United States Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration v. FLRA, Nos. 87-3513(L), 87-3514, 87-3515 (4th Cir. Nov. 25, 1987), affirming Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, [PAGE] 24 FLRA 543 (1986); Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration and Social Security Administration Field Operations, New York Region, 24 FLRA 583 (1986); Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, 24 FLRA 600 (1986).

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 Veterans Administration Medical Center, Battle Creek, Michigan shall:

1. Cease and desist from:

(a) Refusing to furnish, upon request of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of certain of its employees, the names and 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) Furnish the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, AFL - CIO with the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit it represents.

(b) Post at its facilities where bargaining unit employees represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, 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 Director of the Medical Center and shall be posted in conspicuous places, including all bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees are customarily posted, and shall be maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter. Reasonable steps shall be taken to ensure that such notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material. [ v30 p2 ]

(c) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, notify the Regional Director, Region V, Federal Labor Relations Authority, in writing, within 30 day's from the date of this Order as to what steps have been taken to comply.

Issued, Washington, D.C., January 21, 1988.

Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman

Jean McKee, Member

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY [ v30 p3 ]

                   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 the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of certain of our employees, the names and 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 their rights assured them by the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute.

WE WILL furnish the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, AFL - CIO with the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit it represents.

                             ______________________________
                                    (Activity)

Dated: _________________  By:______________________________
                               (Signature)        (Title)

This Notice must remain posted for 60 consecutive day's 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 V, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is: 175 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 1359-A, Chicago, Illinois 60604 and whose telephone number is: (312) 353-6306. [PAGE]

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION,
WASHINGTON, D.C. AND
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
MEDICAL CENTER, BATTLE CREEK,
MICHIGAN

              Respondent

    and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
LOCAL 1629, AFL-CIO

              Charging Party

Case No. 5-CA-70091

Franklin E. Winslow, Esquire
         For the Respondent

Sandra LeBold, Esquire
         For the General Counsel

Girard Meyers
         For the Charging Party

Before:  JOHN H. FENTON
         Chief Administrative Law Judge

DECISION

Statement of the Case

This case is based on an unfair labor practice complaint issued by the Regional Director, Region V, Federal Labor Relations Authority, Chicago, Illinois, against the Veterans Administration, Washington, D.C. and Veterans Administration Medical Center, Battle Creek, Michigan, based on a charge filed by the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, AFL - CIO. The complaint alleged, in substance, that Respondent violated sections 7116 (a) (1), (5) and (8) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute, [PAGE] 5 U.S.C. 7101 et. seq. (the Statute), by refusing to furnish the Union with the names and home addresses of all bargaining unit employees represented by the Union as required by section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute. 1

Respondent's Answer admitted the jurisdictional allegations as to the Respondent, the Union, and the charge, and admitted the refusal to furnish the information. It denied, however, that such information was normally maintained in the regular course of business, and is reasonably available and necessary for full and proper discussion, understanding, and negotiation of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining. [ v30 p2 ]

A hearing was held in Battle Creek, Michigan, at which the parties were afforded a full opportunity to adduce evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses and make argument. A brief was filed by Respondent which has been fully considered.

Upon the entire record, including my observation of the witnesses and their demeanor, I make the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Findings of Fact

Respondent refused to furnish the Union with the names and home addresses of its Medical Center employees on December 10, 1986. The Union did not at that time, or thereafter, indicate it sought such information for organizing purposes, nor did Respondent at that time indicate that the effort to assemble such data would be burdensome. Rather, the Medical Center stated that the VA Central Office had instructed it not to release such information because the question whether it should comply with the Authority's holding in Farmers Home Administration (23 FLRA No. 101) was then under review.

The Medical Center employs about 1500 people, of whom 850 to 1100 are in the bargaining unit. The official personnel folders are not updated with address changes. However, a list of all employees and their addresses is maintained in a fiscal office computer in Austin, Texas. This list is given to the Medical Center each November, at which time employees are asked to verify their addresses and to complete a form if a correction is needed. Any such changes are keypunched into the computer, but the list itself is not changed, so that it may be up to a year old. The list further does not indicate the bargaining unit status of employees. There exists another report which is coded for bargaining unit status, but lacks addresses. It would apparently take the better part of a week for a clerk to compare the lists, cross out those employees not in the bargaining unit, and work on solving any discrepancies. I conclude it would at most take only a few days to do the job if difficult discrepancies were ignored, or simply reported to the Union. 2 [ v30 p3 ]

The Union has bulletin boards, access to literature racks, access to orientation sessions, and the usual meetings through which it can communicate with employees. It does not have access to an internal mail distribution system.

Discussion and Conclusions

Respondent contends that the data sought is not normally maintained in the regular course of business or reasonably available, is not necessary for collective bargaining purposes, and that it can be secured by the Union through the alternative means described above. It also, of course, asserts that the release of addresses is not warranted under the Freedom of Information Act, and is precluded by the Privacy Act, and by VA regulations.

This case is clearly governed by the Authority's comprehensive decision in Farmers Home Administration, Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 FLRA 101. Respondent maintains such records and they are available with a few days of effort. Such alternative means as exist are irrelevant, the data is necessary for representational purposes, and neither the Privacy Act, FOIA, nor VA regulations is an obstacle to release.

I accordingly find that Respondent has failed to comply with 5 U.S.C. 7114(b) (4), in violation of 5 U.S.C. 7114(a)(1), (5) and (8), and recommend that the Authority adopt the following Order.

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 Veterans Administration Medical Center, Battle Creek, Michigan, shall: [ v30 p4 ]

1. Cease and desist from:

(a) Refusing to furnish, upon request by the Local 1629, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit of its employees, the names and 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 Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute.

2. Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Statute.

(a) Furnish Local 1629, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit of its employees, the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit it represents.

(b) Post at its facilities where bargaining unit employees 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 a senior official 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 ensure 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 V, [ v30 p5 ] Federal Labor Relations Authority, in writing within 30 days from the date of this Order, as to what steps have been take to comply herewith.

JOHN H. FENTON
Chief Administrative Law Judge

Dated: November 10, 1987
       Washington, D.C.

[ v30 p6 ]

                   NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES
                          PURSUANT TO
                 A DECISION AND ORDER OF THE
              FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
          AND IN ORDER TO EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF
                 CHAPTER 71 OF TITLE 5 OF THE
                      UNITED STATES CODE
      FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE
             WE HEREBY NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT:

We have been found by the Federal Labor Relations Authority to have committed an unfair labor practice. We have been ordered to post this Notice and abide by its provisions.

WE WILL NOT refuse to furnish, upon request by the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit of our employees, the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit.

WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner, interfere with, restrain, or coerce any employee in the exercise of their rights guaranteed by the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute.

WE WILL furnish American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1629, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit of our employees, the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining unit.

                             ______________________________
                                  (Agency or Activity)

Dated:  ___________________  By: __________________________
                                       (Signature)

[PAGE]

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 any of its provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional Director of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, Region V, whose address is: 175 W. Jackson Boulevard, Suite 1359-A, Chicago, Illinois 60604 and whose telephone number is: (312) 353-6306. [ v30 p2 ]

FOOTNOTES

Footnote 1 Section 7114(b)(4) provides: (b) the duty of an agency and an exclusive representative to negotiate in good faith . . . shall include the obligation-- (4) in the case of an agency, to furnish to the exclusive representative involved, or its authorized representative, upon request and, to the extent not prohibited by law, data-- (A) which is normally maintained by the agency in the regular course of business; (B) which is reasonably available and necessary for full and proper discussion, understanding, and negotiation of subjects within the scope of collective bargaining; (C) which does not constitute guidance, advice, counsel, or training provided for management officials or su