37:0880(73)CA - - HHS, SSA, Region X, Seattle, WA and AFGE, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220 - - 1990 FLRAdec CA - - v37 p880


[ v37 p880 ]
37:0880(73)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


37 FLRA No. 73

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

REGION X

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

(Respondent)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SSA FIELD OFFICE LOCALS

COUNCIL 220

(Charging Party)

9-CA-90143

DECISION AND ORDER

October 5, 1990

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority in accordance with section 2429.1(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, based on the parties' stipulation of facts. The General Counsel and the Respondent filed briefs with the Authority. The General Counsel argues that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) by unilaterally discontinuing subscriptions to the Federal Times for branch offices and thereby changing the working conditions of unit employees without giving the Union notice and an opportunity to bargain over the substance and/or impact and implementation of that decision. The Respondent argues that reducing the number of subscriptions to the Federal Times is not a condition of employment and, therefore, it had no obligation to bargain over the decision itself or the impact and implementation of that decision.

For the following reasons, we find that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by unilaterally discontinuing subscriptions to the Federal Times for its branch offices and that a status quo ante remedy is appropriate in this case.

II. Facts

The Union is authorized as the agent of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, to represent employees in the Social Security Administration, Region X, Seattle, Washington. Region X consists of 22 district offices and 26 branch offices.

Since at least 1985, the Respondent has ordered a subscription to the Federal Times for each of its district and branch offices. The Federal Times is a weekly newspaper "for individuals in the [F]ederal civil service, which contains information regarding [F]ederal employee rights and benefits including pay, health and retirement programs, as well as . . . reports of [F]ederal court decisions, decisions of the Court of Claims and the Comptroller General, and FLRA and MSPB [Merit Systems Protection Board] decisions." Stipulation at 2. A copy of the Federal Times "was normally placed in the break room of each branch office where it was read by employees and utilized by Union representatives, in their official Union capacity, as a source of information." Id. at 3.

On or about November 29, 1988, the Union learned that the Respondent intended to discontinue its Federal Times subscriptions for all branch offices in Region X. On or about December 6, 1988, the Respondent ordered 1989 Federal Times subscriptions for the district offices but did not order subscriptions for the branch offices. Id.

In a letter dated December 9, 1988, the Union's Regional Vice President requested to bargain over the Respondent's decision to discontinue its practice of providing Federal Times subscriptions for the branch offices and/or the impact and implementation of that decision. In a letter dated January 10, 1989, the Respondent's Assistant Regional Commissioner for Management and Budget "refused to bargain with the Union regarding discontinuation of the branch office subscriptions to the Federal Times." Id. From January 10, 1989 and continuing to the present, the Respondent has refused to bargain over the change in Federal Times subscriptions and/or the implementation or impact of that change on bargaining unit employees.

The Respondent's 1989 subscriptions to the Federal Times became effective on or about December 27, 1988. From December 27, 1988 to the present, "most branch offices have not received copies of the Federal Times except for an occasional issue routed to a branch office from a district office." Id.

III. Positions of the Parties

A. The General Counsel

The General Counsel contends that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by unilaterally discontinuing the Federal Times subscriptions for the branch offices in Region X and refusing to bargain with the Union over that change.

According to the General Counsel, "the sole issue for determination is whether the branch office employees' receipt of the Federal Times involves a condition of employment." General Counsel's Brief at 4. The General Counsel contends that the criteria set forth in Antilles Consolidated Education Association and Antilles Consolidated School System, 22 FLRA 235, 237 (1986) (Antilles) for what constitutes a condition of employment have been met in this case. As to whether the matter proposed to be bargained pertains to bargaining unit employees, the General Counsel asserts that "it is obvious that the matter proposed to be bargained . . . pertains to bargaining unit employees in that for at least the past four years, the newspaper had been placed by the Respondent in the breakrooms of the various branch offices where it had been utilized by unit employees and the Union." General Counsel's Brief at 4.

As to the nature and extent of the effect that access to the Federal Times has on the working conditions of unit employees, the General Counsel argues that "the Federal Times provides the employees with information directly related to their rights and benefits as [F]ederal employees, as well as providing [U]nion representatives with information for use in their representational capacity." Id. at 5. The General Counsel further argues that:

[S]upplying a weekly newspaper to unit employees in their break room which discusses [F]ederal labor and employee relations matters and other general matters pertaining to [F]ederal employee rights and benefits . . . has at least the same degree of effect on the working conditions of those employees as the various other break room equipment, utensils and materials which the Authority has found to be negotiable matters.

Id. at 4-5.

To support this argument, the General Counsel cites cases where it asserts the Authority found that the employees' access to kitchen utensils as well as "the employees' use of . . . break room conveniences, including a microwave oven and a large refrigerator, and the availability of snack foods and a price list, constituted conditions of employment within the meaning of section 7103(a)(14) of the Statute." Id. at 5.

The General Counsel contends that the Federal Times provides information on Federal union representational activities, retirement planning and other "matters directly related to the employees' employment relationship." Id. at 5-6. The General Counsel further contends that while "some of the specific items covered by the Federal Times involve matters . . . which are excluded from the definition of conditions of employment[,]" "the employees' right to information regarding such issues should be found to be within the Statute's contemplation." Id. at 5, 6. As with cases where the Authority has found negotiable proposals which require an agency to take action in accordance with law, the General Counsel argues that "the employees' right to continue to receive information regarding matters affecting their working conditions[,] even if specifically provided by statute, is itself a negotiable condition of employment." Id. at 6.

The General Counsel distinguishes the availability of the Federal Times from matters that the Authority has found do not constitute conditions of employment. According to the General Counsel, the Federal Times "contains information directly related to [F]ederal employee rights and benefits," whereas the other cases involved "nonwork activities engaged in while in a non-duty status" or were cases where "the Authority found the effect on working conditions only remote or speculative or too indirect to constitute a condition of employment." Id. at 7-8 (footnotes omitted).

Based on the foregoing arguments, the General Counsel concludes that "the availability of the Federal Times to the branch office employees is directly related to and has a direct effect upon their working conditions; and thus, is a term and condition of employment which can not be changed without bargaining with the [U]nion concerning the change." Id. at 8. The General Counsel asserts that because terminating the branch office subscriptions to the Federal Times involves a negotiable condition of employment, a status quo ante remedy requiring the Respondent to reinstate the branch office subscriptions is warranted in this case. Id.

B. The Respondent

The Respondent contends that it had no obligation to bargain over "its decision to save $1,300 by reducing the number of subscriptions to the Federal Times" because that "matter is not a condition of employment" and that, therefore, "no violation of [s]ections [7116](a)(1) and (5) of the Statute legally could have occurred." Respondent's Brief at 3, 4. The Respondent argues that regardless of management's past actions, "the Authority is obligated to conduct an independent analysis in order to determine whether the matter at hand is indeed a condition of employment[.]" Id. at 5. Therefore, the Respondent asserts that the "fact that 26 branch offices had been receiving their own copies of [the Federal Times] is irrelevant[.]" Id.

As to whether the practice of providing Federal Times subscriptions to the branch offices constitutes a condition of employment, the Respondent argues that "the matter proposed to be bargained in the instant case fails to meet either of the two tests set forth in Antilles." Id. at 6. With respect to the first test, whether the matter proposed to be bargained pertains to bargaining unit employees, the Respondent asserts that "the matter at hand was directed to field managers and did not pertain to bargaining unit employees." Id. at 7. The Respondent further asserts that "the mere placement of a copy of the Federal Times, after it has been reviewed by one or more level[s] of management, in an employee's break room where it can be looked at during lunch or other non-duty time" does not constitute a condition of employment. Id. Specifically, the Respondent contends that its decision to limit the Federal Times to the district offices was a decision that "the Federal Times should go only to District Managers" and that "directly affected these managers." Id. The Respondent notes that in a letter to the Union representative sent 6 weeks after the decision was announced to the field managers, the Respondent's Regional Commissioner stated that "'the Federal Times [was] purchased by management for management use and [was] shared with local staff by management option.'" Id., quoting Stipulation, Exhibit 12.

As to the second Antilles test, the effect of the practice on employees' working conditions, the Respondent cites a Regional Director's decision finding that an agency decision to cancel its subscription to the magazine Hippocrates "'does not bear any direct or indirect relation to either [F]ederal employment or [the Agency's] programs and policies'" and, therefore, did not concern conditions of employment. Id. at 8, quoting Regional Director's decision, Case No. 9-CA-90443. The Respondent requests "that the Authority take administrative notice of the nature and contents of the magazine Hippocrates[.]" Id. at 8-9. Comparing the two publications, the Respondent contends that "the perceived differences in the respective contents of the Federal Times and Hippocrates [are] . . . a distinction without a difference" because both publications "contain articles about . . . appropriate subjects for collective bargaining" and "articles which describe matters which clearly would fall outside the scope of collective bargaining." Id. at 9. The Respondent further contends that "the content of discarded reading material is irrelevant" and that "the Authority need not . . . conduct a detailed analysis of the content of the Federal Times versus that of Hippocrates" because what "management orders for management to read is a matter of concern only to management." Id. at 12.

The Respondent argues that "[t]here is obviously no direct relationship between working conditions of those assigned to the field offices of Respondent's Region X and the reading of the Federal Times" because: (1) "[e]mployees are not required to read weekly issues of this publication to more efficiently carry out their work assignments and thereby better serve the public"; (2) "[t]here is no employee obligation to keep up with [matters covered in the Federal Times] in order to more effectively carry out the mission of the Social Security Administration"; and (3) "the occasional reading of a discarded issue of the Federal Times while on break or at lunch can in no fashion be construed to be a 'means' or 'method' of accomplishing the work of the Social Security Administration." Id. at 10.

The Respondent contends that this case is distinguishable from "cases in which the Authority has found agencies obligated to bargain over such matters as . . . access to vending machines, the continued placement of microwave ovens and refrigerators in lunchrooms, and employee accessibility to sinks[.]" Id. According to the Respondent, employees "cannot be expected to work for 8 hours or more a day without some means of obtaining necessary nourishment[,]" whereas what an employee "chooses to read . . . during lunch or break is an entirely different matter." Id. at 11. The Respondent asserts that this case is similar to cases where the Authority held "that employee access to agency controlled recreational facilities when not on duty, or access to travel and educational benefits upon retirement, are matters which do not concern conditions of employment." Id.

The Respondent concludes that the "fact that copies of certain publications are discarded by certain managers and placed in a location where bargaining unit employees in a non-duty status may . . . read them, in no way, shape or form converts such a happenstance into a condition of employment." Id. at 12.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

For the following reasons, we conclude that the Respondent was obligated to bargain with the Union before discontinuing its practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times. Accordingly, the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by failing to bargain over the substance of its decision to cancel the Federal Times subscriptions for its branch offices and the impact and implementation of that decision.

A. Duty to Bargain

An agency must negotiate with the exclusive representative over unit employees' conditions of employment, except as provided otherwise by Federal law, Government-wide rule or regulation, or agency regulations for which a compelling need exists. Even if the subject matter of a change in conditions of employment is outside the duty to bargain, an agency must bargain about the impact and implementation of a change that has more than a de minimis impact on unit employees. See United States Army Adjutant General Publication Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 35 FLRA 631, 634 (1990).

In deciding whether a matter involves a condition of employment of bargaining unit employees, the Authority considers whether: (1) the matter pertains to bargaining unit employees; and (2) the record establishes that there is a direct connection between the matter and the work situation or employment relationship of bargaining unit employees. Antilles, 22 FLRA at 237.

With respect to the first factor, the Respondent contends that its decision to limit the Federal Times to the district offices was a decision that "directly affected [district] managers" and, therefore, "the matter at hand . . . did not pertain to bargaining unit employees." Respondent's Brief at 7. However, the parties stipulated that a copy of the Federal Times "was normally placed in the break room of each branch office where it was read by employees . . . as a source of information." Stipulation at 3. Accordingly, we reject the Respondent's contention and find that the matter at issue pertains to bargaining unit employees. See Patent Office Professional Association and Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce, 29 FLRA 1389, 1395 (1987) (Proposal 3), affirmed sub nom. Patent Office Professional Association v. FLRA, 873 F.2d 1485, 1492-93 (D.C. Cir. 1989) (even though the Patent Office's Official Gazette was used primarily to communicate technical information to patent practitioners, a proposal concerning the use of the Gazette was found to pertain to bargaining unit employees because matters important to unit employees had appeared in the publication which was also available to bargaining unit employees).

As to the second factor of the Antilles test--whether there is a "direct connection" between the matter at issue and "the work situation or employment relationship" of unit employees--we conclude that there is a direct connection between the Respondent's practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times and the work situation or employment relationship of the bargaining unit employees in this case.

In American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2761, AFL-CIO v. FLRA, 866 F.2d 1443 (D.C. Cir. 1989) (AFGE, Local 2761), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reviewed the Authority's application of the second part of the Antilles test. The court noted that under Antilles, "the Authority inquires into the extent and nature of the effect of the practice on working conditions." AFGE, Local 2761, 866 F.2d at 1445. In determining whether the matter there in issue was a condition of employment, the court examined whether there was a "link" or "nexus" between that matter and the worker's employment. Id. at 1447, 1449. The court found that where a matter has "a direct effect on the work relationship[,]" it concerns a condition of employment. Id. at 1449.

In view of the court's application of the Antilles test in AFGE, Local 2761, we find that the practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times directly affects the employment relationship of unit employees. We reject the Respondent's contention that there is "no direct relationship between working conditions of those assigned to the field offices of Respondent's Region X and the reading of the Federal Times" because: (1) employees are not required to read the Federal Times "to more efficiently carry out their work assignments" or to "more effectively carry out the mission of the Social Security Administration"; and (2) reading "the Federal Times while on break or at lunch can in no fashion be construed to be a 'means' or 'method' of accomplishing the work of the Social Security Administration." Respondent's Brief at 10.

Rather, we find that providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times is linked to the workers' employment because, as stipulated by the parties, the Federal Times is a weekly newspaper "for individuals in the [F]ederal civil service, which contains information regarding [F]ederal employee rights and benefits including pay, health and retirement programs, as well as . . . reports of [F]ederal court decisions, decisions of the Court of Claims and the Comptroller General, and FLRA and MSPB decisions." Stipulation at 2. The Federal Times is distinguishable from other publications of more general interest because its contents are devoted almost exclusively to matters directly relevant to Federal employment and to the employees' status as Federal employees. In this regard, we note the Respondent's request that "the Authority take administrative notice of the nature and contents of the magazine Hippocrates" because, the Respondent contends, "the perceived differences in the respective contents of the Federal Times and Hippocrates [are] . . . a distinction without a difference." Respondent's Brief at 8-9. We reject that contention and find that, unlike the Federal Times, the magazine Hippocrates contains information on general health and medicine and, therefore, is not devoted to matters directly relevant to Federal employment.

Having found that providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times is linked to the workers' employment, we reject the Respondent's assertion that the matter at issue does not pertain to conditions of employment because it is not required for employees to accomplish their work more efficiently or effectively or does not constitute a means or method of performing work. The Authority does not require such a showing to find that a matter pertains to conditions of employment. See, for example, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. and U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Boston, Massachusetts, 37 FLRA 25, 34 (1990) (the availability of potable water was found to directly affect the working conditions of unit employees); AFGE, Local 2761 (agency's annual picnic and employees' access to post exchange privileges found to be conditions of employment).

We also reject the Respondent's assertion that this case is similar to cases where, according to the Respondent, the Authority held "that employee access to agency controlled recreational facilities when not on duty, or access to travel and educational benefits upon retirement, are matters which do not concern conditions of employment." Respondent's Brief at 11, citing Overseas Education Association, Inc. v. FLRA, 858 F.2d 769 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (OEA); and National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-168 and Department of the Army, Headquarters 5th Infantry Division and Fort Polk, Louisiana, 19 FLRA 552 (1985) (Department of the Army). In OEA, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Authority's determination that the proposals at issue "did not have a sufficiently direct relationship or nexus with actual working conditions, because they would only affect the rights of unit employees upon retirement" and, therefore, "[t]hese desired post-service emoluments [were] . . . simply too distant and speculative to have a direct impact on an employee's day-to-day allegiance to his or her job." OEA, 858 F.2d at 771, 772 (emphasis in original). Unlike OEA, the Respondent does not assert that the matter at issue in this case affects employees who are no longer in Federal service. Although the Federal Times may contain information on Federal employees' retirement benefits, it is undisputed that the Federal Times also provides employees with other information directly related to Federal employment and to their current status as Federal employees. See Stipulation at 2; Exhibits 2-9.

In Department of the Army, the Authority found that a proposal stating, in part, that "civilian employees may use Morale Support Activities Facilities" was nonnegotiable because: (1) the proposal "relate[d] to activities of employees involved in non-work activities while in a non-duty status"; and (2) no claim was made that the proposal implemented an agency policy "to ensure reasonable standards of health decency for unit employees." Department of the Army, 19 FLRA at 552, 553. While the parties stipulate that the Federal Times was available in employee breakrooms, the parties do not stipulate that employees read the Federal Times only during lunch periods on nonduty time as opposed to break periods on duty time. Further, even if employees did read the Federal Times only during lunch periods, Department of the Army does not analyze whether there was a "link" or "nexus" between the matter at issue in that case and the workers' employment. See AFGE, Local 2761, 866 F.2d at 1447, 1449. Accordingly, the Respondent's reliance on that case is misplaced.

Having found that the Respondent's practice of providing Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times concerns conditions of employment, we must determine whether the Respondent had an obligation to bargain over the change in its practice. In this regard, the Respondent argues only that it had no obligation to bargain over "its decision to save $1,300 by reducing the number of subscriptions to the Federal Times." Respondent's Brief at 3. To the extent that the Respondent argues that requiring it to provide the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times interferes with management's right to determine its budget under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute, we reject that argument.

The Respondent does not attempt to satisfy either of the tests set forth by the Authority in American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 2 FLRA 604 (1980), aff'd as to other matters sub nom. Department of Defense v. FLRA, 659 F.2d 1140 (D.C. Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 945 (1982) to determine that a matter impermissibly interferes with an agency's section 7106(a)(1) right to determine its budget. Specifically, the Respondent has not shown that providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times requires that: (1) its budget include specified programs or operations or specified amounts to be allocated to those programs; or (2) the matter at issue would lead to increased costs that are significant, unavoidable, and not offset by compensating benefits. See American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1857 and U.S. Department of the Air Force, Air Logistics Center, Sacramento, California, 36 FLRA 894, 901-02 (1990).

Accordingly, we find that by unilaterally discontinuing the Region X branch office subscriptions to the Federal Times, the Respondent changed a negotiable condition of employment without giving the Union notice and an opportunity to bargain over that change, in violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.

B. The Remedy

Having found that the Respondent violated the Statute, we must consider what remedy is appropriate. For the following reasons, we find that a status quo ante remedy--one that requires the Respondent to reinstate its practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times and to bargain with the Union if it seeks to change that practice--is appropriate in this case.

Where, as here, management has changed a negotiable condition of employment without fulfilling its obligation to bargain on that change, the Authority will grant a status quo ante remedy in the absence of special circumstances. Department of the Navy, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, 35 FLRA 153, 155-56 (1990). A return to the status quo ante effectuates the purposes and policies of the Statute and ensures that the obligation to bargain is not rendered meaningless. See United States Army Adjutant General, Publications Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 35 FLRA 631, 634-35 (1990). The Respondent has not established any special circumstances to show that a status quo ante remedy is unwarranted in this case. In these circumstances, we conclude that a status quo ante remedy will effectuate the purposes and policies of the Statute.

Accordingly, we will order the Respondent to reinstate its practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times. If the Respondent seeks to change its practice of providing Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times, it must first bargain with the Union about any such change in conditions of employment.

V. 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, Region X, Seattle, Washington shall:

1. Cease and desist from:

(a) Unilaterally discontinuing or changing its practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times without first notifying the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO, the agent of the exclusive representative of its employees, and providing it the opportunity to bargain on the decision to discontinue or change such a practice.

(b) Refusing to bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO, the agent of the exclusive representative of its employees, over its decision to discontinue its practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times.

(c) In any like or related manner, interfering with, restraining, or coercing its employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the Statute.

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

(a) Restore its practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times.

(b) Notify the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO, the agent of the exclusive representative of its employees, of any intention to discontinue or change its practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times, and, on request, bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO, to the extent consistent with law and regulations, on any decision to discontinue or change the practice.

(c) Post at its facilities throughout the Social Security Administration, Region X, Seattle, Washington, 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 Regional Commissioner, and shall be posted and maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter in conspicuous places, including all bulletin boards and places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken to ensure that the Notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material.

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

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 unilaterally discontinue or change our practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times without first notifying the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO, the agent of the exclusive representative of our employees, and providing it the opportunity to bargain on the decision to discontinue or change such a practice.

WE WILL NOT refuse to bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO, the agent of the exclusive representative of our employees, over our decision to discontinue our practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times.

WE WILL NOT, in any like or related manner, interfere with, restrain, or coerce our employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the Statute.

WE WILL restore our practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times.

WE WILL notify the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO, the agent of the exclusive representative of our employees, of any intention to discontinue or change our practice of providing the Region X branch offices with subscriptions to the Federal Times, and, on request, bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, National Council of SSA Field Office

Locals, Council 220, AFL-CIO on any decision to discontinue or change the practice.

____________________________
(Agency)

Dated:__________ By:_______________________________

(Signature) (Title)