30:1007(110)CA - HHS, SSA and AFGE -- 1988 FLRAdec CA



[ v30 p1007 ]
30:1007(110)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


30 FLRA No. 110

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

                   Respondent

      and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

                   Charging Party

Case No. 3-CA-70443

DECISION AND ORDER

I. Statement of the Case

This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority under section 2429.1(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, based on a stipulation of facts by the parties.

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, the exclusive representative of a unit of the Respondent's employees, with the home addresses of certain of those employees. For the reasons stated below, we find that the Respondent committed the unfair labor practices as alleged.

II. Facts

The Union is the exclusive representative of a unit of the Respondent's employees. By letter dated May 5, 1987, the Union requested that the Respondent provide it with, among other things, the home addresses of unit employees who had complaints processed under the Respondent's EEO Early Settlement Demonstration Project. By letter dated May 26, 1987, Respondent refused to provide the Union with the home addresses of those employees. [PAGE]

The parties stipulated that the home addresses of the employees are maintained by the Respondent in "systems of records," as that term is defined in the Privacy Act, and that the information is retrievable from the records by employee name.

III. Positions of the Parties

The General Counsel contends, based on the Authority's decision on remand in Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 FLRA 788 (1986) (Farmers Home), enforced in part and remanded sub nom. U.S. Department of Agriculture and Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri v. FLRA, No. 86-2579 (8th Cir. Jan. 15, 1988), that under section 7114 (b) (4) of the Statute the Respondent was obligated to furnish the Union with the home addresses of the employees it represented. The General Counsel argues that the home addresses requested by the Union were necessary for the Union to negotiate regarding the Respondent's Demonstration Project in an intelligent and effective manner. The General Counsel contends that the Respondent's refusal to furnish the employees' home addresses constituted a violation of section 7116(a)(1), (5), and (8) of the Statute.

The Respondent contends that the release of the employees' home addresses is prohibited by the Privacy Act and that the Freedom of Information Act does not require disclosure of the information. The Respondent also contends that the purpose for which the Union seeks the information is not a purpose protected by the Statute and that the requested information is not necessary for the Union to carry out its representational duties. The Respondent further asserts that the Authority erred in its decision on remand in Farmers Home. The Respondent also argues that the existence of alternative means of communication should be considered when determining whether the employees' home addresses are subject to disclosure under section 7114(b)(4). Finally, the Respondent maintains that if the Authority rejects its arguments, the Authority should remand the case for a hearing because there are genuine issues of material fact concerning the existence and adequacy of alternative means of communication available to the Union and whether the requested information is necessary.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

In the Authority's decision on remand in Farmers Home, the Authority concluded that the release of the names and [ v30 p2 ] home addresses of bargaining unit employees to their 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 established by section 7114 (b) (4) of the Statute. The Authority also determined that the release of the information is generally required without regard to whether alternative means of communication are available.

Based on the parties' stipulation and the Authority's decision on remand in Farmers Home, we reject the Respondent's arguments that the release of the information sought by the Union is prohibited by law and is not necessary for the Union to carry out its representational duties under the Statute. See also 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), petition for rehearing filed Jan. 8, 1988, affirming Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, 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).

Further, we reject the Respondent's position that if the Authority rejects its arguments then material issues of fact exist and the Authority should remand the case for a hearing. The asserted issue of the existence and adequacy of alternative means of communication is not material to resolution of the case. Moreover, the asserted issue as to the necessity of requested information is resolved above in favor of the Union. Consistent with the decision in Farmers Home, we hold that the requested information is necessary for the Union to fulfill its representational responsibilities. Furthermore, the Respondent expressly stipulated that "(a)ll parties hereto waive a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, including the presentation of any evidence other than that contained in the Stipulation and the exhibits referred to herein, and the issuance of a Decision by an Administrative Law Judge." Stipulation 13. Therefore, the Respondent waived any hearing in this matter.

Accordingly, we conclude that the Respondent was required to provide the Union with the home addresses of the [ v30 p3 ] bargaining unit employees, as requested, under section 7114(b)(4). We further conclude that the Respondent's refusal to provide the Union with the requested information violated section 7116(a)(1), (5), and (8) of the Statute.

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 of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of certain of its employees, the home addresses of 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, AFL - CIO, with the requested home addresses of employees in the bargaining unit it represents.

(b) Post at 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 the Social Security Administration 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 p4 ]

(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., January 22, 1988.

Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman

Jean McKee, Member

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY [ v30 p5 ]

                    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, AFL - CIO, the exclusive representative of certain of our employees, the home addresses of 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, AFL - CIO, with the requested home addresses of employees in the bargaining unit it represents.

                             ______________________________