31:0878(65)NG - AFGE, National Archives and Record Administration, Council of AFGE Locals (Council 1260) and National Archives and Record Administration -- 1988 FLRAdec NG



[ v31 p878 ]
31:0878(65)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 31 FLRA NO. 65

                  31 FLRA 878 (1988)

Date:             21 MAR 1988


AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, NATIONAL ARCHIVES
AND RECORD ADMINISTRATION COUNCIL OF
AFGE LOCALS (COUNCIL 1260)

                   Union

         and

NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORD
ADMINISTRATION

                   Agency

Case No. 0-NG-1463

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 Statute (the Statute) and concerns
the negotiability of one proposal. The proposal seeks to preserve
the current practice by preventing the Agency from implementing a
requirement that employees wear Agency furnished blazers and name
tags at work. We find the proposal to be outside the duty to
bargain because it interferes with management's right to
determine internal security practices under section 7106(a)(1) of
the Statute, and with the right to determine the methods and
means of performing work under section 7106(b)(1) of the
Statute.

     II. Background and Proposal

     The employees work in the research rooms of the National
Archives Records Administration (NARA). These employees have
direct daily contact with members of the public who come to the
National Archives to conduct research. Their duties include
assisting researchers in determining what records are available,
and finding and retrieving records from stack areas. These
employees also enforce research room rules and record
handling procedures, and ensure that records are returned to
stack areas.

     On August 28, 1987, the Agency notified the Union of its
decision to require employees in the research rooms to begin
wearing Agency-furnished blazers and name tags. On September 4,
1987, the Union requested bargaining and submitted the following
proposal:

     Employees (will) not be required to wear blazers as part of
their attire.

     III. Positions of the Parties

     The Agency contends that this proposal violates its right to
determine its internal security practices under section
7106(a)(1) of the Statute. The Agency notes that recently, NARA
has been the topic of highly publicized theft of records. The
Agency argues that the ability to readily identify employees by a
prescribed uniform is essential in order to protect the records
in its custody. According to the Agency, the increased visibility
of its employees will act as an impediment for persons who might
consider engaging in illegal activities.

     The Agency also contends that the proposal violates its
right under section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute to determine the
methods and means by which work will be performed. The Agency
argues that the wearing of uniforms has long been considered by
the Authority to be a "means" of performing work within the
meaning of section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute. According to the
Agency, the Archivist of the United States has the authority to
exhibit records in his custody and to enforce rules governing the
use of NARA's research rooms. Thus, the employees involved in
this case carry out the mission of the Archivist. The Agency
contends that if researchers are unable to identify who works for
the Agency, the Archivist's ability to exercise his authority is
reduced. The Agency claims that by wearing uniforms, the
employees would be more easily identifiable by the public, and
thus, would be better able to accomplish the Agency's mission.
Thus, according to the Agency, the wearing of uniforms is the
"means" that it has chosen to better achieve its statutory
mission.

     In addition, the Agency argues that this proposal does not
constitute an appropriate arrangement for employees adversely
affected by a management action. The Agency claims that its
decision to require the use of uniforms does not adversely affect
employees. According to the Agency, the uniforms, as
well as their maintenance and upkeep, will be provided by the
Agency. In addition, the Agency asserts that this proposal
totally abrogates the Agency's exercise of its rights under
section 7106 of the Statute.

     The Union argues that the Agency has not established a
relationship between the wearing of blazers and the furthering of
the Agency's mission. According to the Union, the means of
performing work does not include employee identification through
wearing apparel. In addition, the Union claims that the Agency's
desire to make its employees more visible for security purposes
is already achieved by having employees wear badges.

     IV. Analysis and Conclusion

     We find this proposal to be nonnegotiable because it
directly interferes with the Agency's exercise of its right under
section 7106(a)(1) to determine its internal security practices.
We also find that the proposal interferes with the Agency's
decision to determine the methods and means of performing work
under section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute.

     We find that the proposal interferes with the Agency's right
to determine its internal security practices under section
7106(a)(1). As used in the Statute, the term internal security
practices includes those policies and actions which are part of
the Agency's plan to secure or safeguard its physical property
against internal or external risks, to prevent improper or
unauthorized disclosure of information, or to prevent the
disruption of the Agency's activities or operations. American
Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO, Local 32 and
Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C., 14 FLRA  6, 8
(1984) (Proposal 2), affirmed sub nom. FLRA  v. Office of
Personnel Management, 778 F.2d 844 (D.C. Cir. 1985).

     According to the record, the employees involved in this case
have access to records and documents under the custody of the
National Archives. The Agency claims that the increased
visibility of the research room employees, resulting from wearing
blazers, will act as a deterrent to those who might consider
engaging in illegal conduct. We find that the Agency's interest
in safeguarding its records is justified and that it has shown a
reasonable connection between the requirement of a uniform and
the security of its operations. As long as the measures chosen by
the Agency to  achieve its objective are reasonably
related to the purpose for which the particular security practice
is adopted, we will not question the extent of the measures. See
American Federation of Government Employees Council 214, AFL -
CIO and Department of Defense, Department of the Air Force, Air
Force Logistics Command, 30  FLRA  1025