43:0830(68)NG - - AFGE Local 2614 and Navy, Antilles Consolidated School System - - 1991 FLRAdec NG - - v43 p830
[ v43 p830 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
43 FLRA No. 68
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
ANTILLES CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL SYSTEM
DECISION AND ORDER ON A NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE
December 30, 1991
Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.
I. Statement of the Case
This case is before the Authority on a negotiability appeal filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and involves the negotiability of one proposal concerning exchange privileges.
For the following reasons, we find that the proposal is negotiable.
PX (Ie [sic] post exchange) privileges shall be granted to bargaining unit employees at Roosevelt Roads and Ramey school pursuant to DoD directive 1330.9 as they apply to Puerto Rico.
III. Positions of the Parties
The Agency asserts that the proposal is nonnegotiable because it does not concern the conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees. According to the Agency, the exchanges could only be used by employees during their nonduty hours. The Agency argues that, in Antilles Consolidated Education Association and Antilles Consolidated School System, 22 FLRA 235 (1986) (Antilles), the Authority concluded that a proposal granting exchange privileges to unit employees did not concern conditions of employment because it was undisputed that access to the exchanges would occur during the employees' nonduty hours and there was no evidence in the record that access to the exchanges was in any manner related to the work situation of unit employees.
The Agency acknowledges that in several cases the Authority has found that exchange privileges for unit employees do concern matters affecting conditions of employment; however, the Agency contends that the Authority's conclusions were based on the particular circumstances of each case. The Agency cites Department of the Air Force, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, 23 FLRA 605 (1986) (Eielson); Department of the Army, Fort Greely, Alaska, 23 FLRA 858 (1986) (Greely); and U.S. Department of the Army, Fort Buchanan, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 37 FLRA 919 (1990) (Buchanan). The Agency notes that in those cases the following factors were found to support the conclusion that exchange privileges were matters affecting conditions of employment: (1) unit employees had previously been allowed to use the exchanges; (2) access to the exchanges was used by the agencies to recruit employees at geographically remote locations and to maintain an adequate standard of living; (3) travel to commercial facilities was difficult.
The Agency claims that none of the factors that existed in Eielson, Greely, and Buchanan exist at the Roosevelt Roads and Ramey schools. According to the Agency, exchange privileges at the Roosevelt Roads and Ramey schools are not necessary "to maintain adequate living standards" or "because of a lack of reasonably convenient substitute facilities." Agency Statement of Position at 3. The Agency notes that there are "private sector shopping alternatives (e.g. shopping centers) near the employees['] homes and schools." Id. The Agency disputes the Union's claim that employees must sometimes purchase school supplies and that it would be more convenient to purchase those supplies on the base. The Agency states that employees are not required to purchase such supplies because those materials are provided by the school. The Agency also states that, because commissary privileges are not part of the proposal, the Union's statement that employees cannot use the commissary "is not an issue." Id.
According to the Union, the base at Roosevelt Roads "is the largest (in territory) naval station in the world." Petition for Review at 1-2. The Union states that unit employees, who are teachers' aides, "must sometimes purchase supplies needed for the performance of their duties" and that "the only place to make these purchases on base" is at the exchange. Id. at 2. The Union also states that employees cannot purchase supplies on the base because they do not have exchange privileges and, therefore, must travel off base to obtain necessary supplies.
Moreover, the Union notes, unit employees are "denied the variety of nutritional foodstuffs available at the commissary for their lunch." Id. The Union also notes that unit employees "can eat lunch at the school cafeteria only if there is food left over after the students have lunched." Id. (emphasis in original). In addition, according to the Union, because employees only have a half-hour for lunch, there is not enough time for them to drive off the base to eat and return to school. The Union states that there are "no snack bars or other food facilities at the schools." Id.
For these reasons, the Union concludes that the proposal concerns matters related to the unit employees' conditions of employment.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
The issue in this case is whether the proposal granting exchange privileges to unit employees concerns a matter affecting the conditions of employment of unit employees. For the following reasons, we find that the proposal concerns a matter affecting the conditions of employment of unit employees.
In determining whether a matter involves a condition of employment of unit employees, we consider 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. See Antilles, 22 FLRA at 237 (1986). As to the first factor, there is no dispute between the parties concerning whether the proposal applies to bargaining unit employees. Consequently, in the absence of any evidence in the record to the contrary, we find that the subject matter of the proposal pertains to unit employees.
As to the second factor--whether the record establishes that there is a direct connection between the subject matter of the proposal and the work situation or employment relationship of unit employees--we conclude that the record supports the finding that there is a direct connection between access to the base exchange and the work situation of unit employees. Specifically, we note that, 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 and stated that, under Antilles, "the Authority inquires into the nature and extent of the practice on working conditions." AFGE, Local 2761, 866 F.2d at 1445. In determining whether the matter at issue in that case was a condition of employment, the court examined whether there was a "link" or "nexus" between that matter and employees' employment. Id. at 1447, 1449. The court concluded that where a matter has "a direct effect on the work relationship[,]" it concerns a condition of employment. Id. at 1449. See also United States Department of the Air Force, Griffiss Air Force Base, Rome, New York v. FLRA, No. 90-1561 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 10, 1991) (Griffiss A