31:0003(1)NG - NFFE, Bureau of Indian Affairs Council and DOI, Bureau of Indian Affairs -- 1988 FLRAdec NG
[ v31 p3 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
31 FLRA NO. 1 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS COUNCIL Union and DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS Agency Case No. O-NG-1444 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE I. Statement of the Case This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Service (the Statute). It concerns a proposal by the Union to include a position currently titled Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic within the scope of negotiations over wages conducted pursuant to section 704 of the Statute. The proposal would also retitle the position as Mechanic, Power Equipment. We find that the proposal is not within the duty to bargain under section 704 because it does not concern a subject matter which was negotiated between the parties prior to August 19, 1972. We find further that the proposal conflicts with the Agency's right under section 7106(b)(1) to determine the numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty and is excepted from the definition of conditions of employment under section 7103(a)(14) because it relates to the classification of a position. II. Background In 1969, the employees of the Power Unit (or Power Section) of the Agency's Colorado River Agency, who had previously negotiated wages, elected to be covered under the newly implemented Coordinated Federal Wage System (CFWS). Subsequently, the employees in the Power Unit were returned to a negotiated wage system. In 1970, the parties entered into an agreement which stated that wages would be established through collective bargaining for the specified labor classifications as well as any future labor classifications associated exclusively with the production, transmission and/or distribution of electric power. Based on that agreement, the parties have periodically entered into supplementary agreements governing the wages of covered labor classifications. III. The Proposal The Union proposes to include a position currently titled Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic, WG-5803-10, under the coverage of the supplementary agreement governing wages for the Power Unit. In addition to placing this position under the coverage of wage negotiations, the proposal would redesignate it as Mechanic, Power Equipment. IV. Positions of the Parties The Agency asserts that the proposal concerns matters which were not subject to negotiation prior to the enactment of Pub. L. No. 92-392 and, thus, is not negotiable under section 704 of the Statute. It requests that a hearing be conducted on this issue in order to establish a complete and accurate record in the matter. The Agency also asserts that the proposal conflicts with the rights to direct employees; to assign employees; to assign work; to determine mission, organization and number of employees; and to determine the numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty. Last, the Agency asserts that because the proposal concerns the classification of a position, it does not concern conditions of employment. The Union asserts that the parties have previously negotiated over which classifications will be covered under the supplementary agreements on pay for the Power Unit. Based on this history it contends that the proposal is negotiable under section 704 of the Statute. The Union opposes the Agency's request that a hearing be conducted in this case. V. Analysis and Conclusion 1. The Proposal Does Not Concern a Subject Matter Which Was Negotiated Prior to August 19, 1972 The Authority has found that under section 704, proposals concerning a subject matter which was negotiated between the parties prior to August 19, 1972 are negotiable even if they conflict with section 7106 of the Statute. Columbia Power Trades Council and United States Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, 22 FLRA 998 (1986). The dispute here concerns one of three positions currently titled Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic, WG-5803-10. The Union asserts that the incumbent of this position, Conrad Nopah, has been exclusively assigned to perform work in the Power Unit for more than 3 years and that the Agency considers him to be part of the Power Unit. While the Agency does not dispute that Mr. Nopah currently performs work in the Power Unit, it contends that he is actually assigned to a different organizational subdivision--the Equipment Maintenance Unit, Operation and Maintenance section (O&M Section). The Agency has provided copies of relevant portions of its organization chart as well as Mr. Nopah's position description. The Union does not challenge the validity of these documents. However, it disputes the Agency's assertion that Mr. Nopah's position is not organizationally assigned to the Power Unit. The Union has provided work schedules which list Mr. Nopah with the employees of the Power Unit rather than with those of the O&M;Section. In our view, the work schedules relied upon by the Union do not override the Agency's organization chart and the position description. Organization charts and position descriptions are official Agency documents which, among other things, set forth the organizational location of positions within the Agency: The work schedules were issued for the purpose of informing employees of changes in their duty hours, not their organizational assignments. Union Response, attachments 39-40. In our view the organization chart and position description provide a definitive statement as to Mr. Nopah's organizational assignment. That is, as acknowledged by the Agency, an employee may be scheduled to perform work in an organizational location other than the one to which he or she is assigned without affecting the employee's organizational assignment. Agency Statement of Position at 1-2. The work schedules indicate only that Mr. Nopah was performing work in support of the Power Unit during the periods covered by the schedules. We conclude, based on the record, that Mr. Nopah's position is organizationally assigned to the O&M;Section. In view of this conclusion, the proposal would require the Agency to reassign Mr. Nopah's position from one organizational subdivision, the O&M Section, to another, the Power Unit. The Union argues that the parties have previously negotiated over which classifications would be covered under the supplementary agreements on pay for the Power Unit. However, the Union does not assert or show that the parties ever negotiated to transfer an employee or position into the Power Unit from another organizational subdivision. 1/ Thus, there is no basis in the record for concluding that the Union's proposal to reassign Mr. Nopah's position to the Power Unit concerns a subject matter which was negotiated prior to August 19, 1972. 2. The Proposal Conflicts with a Management Right The proposal would require the reassignment of Conrad Nopah's position from the O&M Section to the Power Unit. Under section 7106(b)(1) the numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision are negotiable only at the election of an agency. Insofar as the proposal requires the Agency to negotiate over the relocation of a particular employee and his position to a particular organizational subdivision, it conflicts with section 7106(b)(1). See American Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO, Council 236 and General Services Administration, 9 FLRA 825 (1982) (Proposal 1). In view of this conclusion, we do not reach the Agency's argument that the proposal conflicts with other management rights as well. 3. The Proposal Concerns the Classification of a Position In addition to requiring the organizational relocation of a position, the proposal would also change the title of the position. The determination of the title of a position is a matter which relates to the classification of the position. Under 5 U.S.C. 5346 the Office of Personnel Management is responsible for establishing and maintaining within the prevailing rate pay system a "job grading system" which, among other things, includes the establishment of occupational alinements and job titles within occupations. This "job grading system" is a classification system for wage board jobs. 2/ Under section 7103(a)(14) of the Statute, matters relating to the classification of any position are specifically excluded from the definition of condition of employment. Insofar as the proposal seeks to change the title of Mr. Nopah's position, we conclude that the proposal relates to the classification of his position and does not concern a condition of employment. 4. Summary and Conclusions The proposal does not concern a subject matter which was negotiated between the parties prior to August 19, 1972. It conflicts with the management right to determine the numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty. It does not concern conditions of employment because it relates to the classification of a position. The proposal is not within the duty to bargain. 3/ In view of these conclusions it is unnecessary to resolve the Agency's other contentions as to the nonnegotiability of the proposal. VI. Order The Union's petition for review is dismissed. In view of this disposition based on the record, it is unnecessary to conduct a hearing as the Agency has requested. The request is denied. Issued, Washington, D.C. February 3, 1988. Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY FOOTNOTES Footnote 1/ The Union has submitted several affidavits to support its contention that the proposal concerns a subject matter which the parties had previously negotiated. These affidavits contain statements that during various negotiations, the Union submitted proposals which listed classifications to be included within the scope of the supplementary agreements on pay or that the parties negotiated over the classifications to be included. The affidavits do not support a conclusion that the parties ever engaged in negotiations over the reassignment of a position from another organizational subdivision to the Power Unit. Footnote 2/ The Senate Report accompanying the legislation which became Pub. L. No. 92-392, which established 5 U.S.C. 5346 in its current form, stated: Job Grading System Section 5346 provides for a job grading system. This is a classification system for wage board jobs and is to be administered by the Civil Service Commission. The Commission will be required to monitor classification by agencies to insure compliance with uniform rules and procedures. S. Rep. No. 791, 92d Cong., 2d Sess. (1972) reprinted in 1972 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 2980, 2984. Footnote 3/ The Agency has moved to strike various "assertions, references and documents" contained in the Union's submissions which the Agency contends are irrelevant to the negotiability appeal. The assertions, references and documents to which the Agency objects question the Agency's actions and motives in declaring the proposal nonnegotiable. While such matters are of questionable relevance to the processing of a negotiability appeal, we do not find that they are of such nature to warrant granting a motion to strike them. Compare National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 29 and U.S. Army Engineer District, Kansas City, Mo., 21 FLRA 101, 103 (1986). In that decision the Authority granted a motion to strike portions of an Agency's statement of position which exceeded the scope of the issue upon which the Authority had granted reconsideration.