44:0179(17)CA - - VA, VAMC, Veterans Canteen Service, Lexington, KY and NAGE Local R5-184 - - 1992 FLRAdec CA - - v44 p179

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[ v44 p179 ]
44:0179(17)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


44 FLRA No. 17

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER

VETERANS CANTEEN SERVICE

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

(Respondent)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL R5-184

(Charging Party/Union)

4-CA-00786

DECISION AND ORDER

February 28, 1992

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority on exceptions to the attached decision of the Administrative Law Judge filed by the Respondent. The General Counsel filed both an opposition to the Respondent's exceptions and cross-exceptions to the Judge's decision.

The complaint alleges that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) when the Respondent failed to give the Union notice and an opportunity to bargain over the removal of vending machines and a microwave oven from the employees' vending room. The Judge found that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by permanently removing the coffee machine from the employees' vending room and ordered the Respondent to restore to the employees' vending room a coffee machine comparable to the one that was removed. The Judge further found that the Respondent did not violate section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by removing the other machines from the employees' vending room.

Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Statute, we have reviewed the rulings of the Judge made at the hearing and find that no prejudicial error was committed. We affirm the rulings. We agree with the Judge that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by removing the coffee machine from the vending room. However, contrary to the Judge, we find that the Respondent also violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) by its specific actions with respect to the other vending machines and the microwave oven in the vending room without first providing the Union with notice and an opportunity to bargain over its decision to change conditions of employment.

II. Background

The facts of this case, set forth more fully in the Judge's decision, are summarized below.

The Union is the agent for the exclusive representative of employees at the Leestown Road facility located at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1989, with the Union's approval, the Respondent created a vending room in the Leestown Road facility for use by employees during their work breaks. Under contract with an outside vendor, the Respondent installed in the vending room a microwave oven which was available for use without charge, a sandwich machine, a snack machine, two soft-drink machines (a can-dispensing machine and a cup-dispensing machine), and a coffee machine. All of these machines were new. The vending room was accessible only to unit and management employees and not to patients or visitors of the medical center. The vending room contained the only sandwich machine that was available in the building, and the machines in the vending room were used by employees on a daily basis. The nearest other snack machine was at least 15 minutes away, so it was not used by employees during their 10-minute breaks. Employees used the microwave oven to heat, among other things, food purchased from the vending machines. The vending room provided "the only convenient source for prepared foods . . . for many employees working on evening and night shifts." Judge's Decision at 3. During at least some of the hours of the evening and night shifts, the cafeteria at the Leestown Road facility is closed.

In mid-1990, the Chief of the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) observed that revenue from the vending machines was low and "anticipated that the outside vendor, which owned the machines, might exercise its option to cancel the contract and remove all of the machines." Id. at 2. To prevent such an action, the VCS Chief suggested "that the vendor swap the Leestown Road vending room machines with a group of older machines then in use at the Respondent's Cooper Drive facility" because the Cooper Drive machines were generating more revenue. Id. The vendor agreed to the VCS Chief's suggestion to exchange the cup-dispensing soft-drink machine, the microwave oven, and the sandwich, snack, and coffee machines at the Leestown Road facility for the microwave oven and the older sandwich and snack machines at the Cooper Drive facility. The VCS Chief's discussions with the vendor "led him to understand that the Cooper Drive machines would be installed in place of [the original Leestown Road machines] within three or four hours of their removal." Id. The Union was not notified of the agreement between the VCS Chief and the vendor to remove and replace the machines from the Leestown Road facility.

As agreed, the vendor removed the microwave oven and all of the vending machines, except for the can-dispensing soft-drink machine, from the Leestown Road facility during the week that the VCS Chief was on annual leave. Due to inadequate plumbing and electrical capacity at the Cooper Drive facility, it was impossible for the vendor to install the Leestown Road machines at the Cooper Drive facility as scheduled. In the VCS Chief's absence, the vendor decided to leave the Cooper Drive machines in place until the deficiencies could be corrected. However, instead of returning the Leestown Road machines temporarily, "the vendor left them, unused, at Cooper Drive, awaiting installation there." Id. at 3. The vending room at the Leestown Road facility was without machines, except for the can-dispensing soft-drink machine, for "not less than two weeks." Id.

The Union inquired about the machines upon learning of their removal. However, the VCS Chief, who had arranged the removal of the machines, was on leave, and the Assistant Personnel Chief stated to the Union president that he was not aware that the machines had been removed. According to the Union president, the Assistant Personnel Chief checked into the matter and told the Union president that "no one knew that the machines were going to be removed." Transcript at 52.

When the Cooper Drive machines were eventually installed at the Leestown Road facility, the vending room at the Leestown Road facility "lacked a coffee machine and a cup-dispensing soft-drink machine to replace those removed[.]" Judge's Decision at 3. However, coffee was available from a machine in a connected building that is approximately one tenth of a mile from the vending room. Employees are also permitted to use their own coffee pots to make coffee at their work stations.

Following the Respondent's actions with respect to the machines at the Leestown Road facility, the Union filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by removing the machines from the vending room at the Leestown Road facility without first providing the Union with notice and an opportunity to bargain over the change in conditions of employment.

III. Administrative Law Judge's Decision

The Judge found that the Respondent "does not dispute the proposition that the availability of food, beverages, and microwave in the vending room had become a condition of employment for employees represented by the Union." Id. The Judge further found that the following aspects of the removal of the machines were at issue: (1) the temporary situation that deprived the employees of the amenities provided by the removed machines for approximately 2 weeks; and (2) the permanent change from one set of machines to another less complete and older set of machines.

With respect to the first issue, the Judge found that the Respondent did not violate the Statute because there had been no change in conditions of employment. The Judge noted that "the duty to bargain arises only at the point where a change affecting conditions of employment . . . is contemplated." Id. at 4. The Judge found that the VCS Chief "authorized the replacement of one set of machines with another, but with only a 3-4 hour interruption" and that "the resulting, unforeseen, extended hiatus cannot retroactively have created a duty to bargain at the time the originally contemplated hiatus was conceived." Id. Therefore, the Judge determined that the question is "whether the 3-4 hour hiatus contemplated as incidental to the swap represented a change in conditions of employment." Id.

The Judge found that "the availability of the products and services offered by the machines that were to be replaced had become a condition of employment[,]" but that "implicit in that condition of employment was the prospect and even the probability that the availability would be interrupted for brief periods" due to power outages, equipment breakdowns, or depletion of a particular machine's inventory. Id. at 5. Because the "contemplated interruption was no greater than what could normally be expected[,]" the Judge concluded that "the contemplated hiatus of a few hours did not change a condition of employment and was not, therefore, a bargainable event." Id.

With respect to the second issue of whether the Respondent violated the Statute by permanently changing from one set of machines to another, the Judge examined whether the Respondent changed the conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees by: (1) substituting older machines; (2) permanently removing the cup-dispensing soft-drink machine; and/or (3) permanently removing the coffee machine. The Judge found that the substitution of older machines did not constitute a change in conditions of employment because the older machines "provided substantially the same services and products as the originals and were in working order[.]" Id. at 6. The Judge further found that the record did not indicate that the substitution of older machines had any effect on working conditions.

As to the permanent removal of the cup-dispensing soft-drink machine, the Judge found that the record was "silent" as to how "the availability of soft drinks in cups with ice" affected the employees' work situation or employment relationship. Id.

Finally, as to the permanent removal of the coffee machine, the Judge found that "the employees' loss of the convenience of having a coffee machine in the break room is a change that affects their working conditions[.]" Id. at 7. The Judge noted that the "Authority considers 'break room conveniences' in general, independent of cafeteria facilities, to be conditions of employment" and that the Authority has "held a union proposal for various food-related items including a coffee machine to be negotiable." Id. at 6 (citations omitted).

Having found that the Respondent changed unit employees' conditions of employment, the Judge concluded that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute because the Respondent permanently removed the coffee machine from the vending room without first notifying the Union or providing the Union with an opportunity to bargain over the change. As a remedy, the Judge recommended that the Respondent be required to restore to the vending room a coffee machine comparable to the one that was removed.

IV. Positions of the Parties

A. Respondent's Exceptions

The Respondent excepts to the portion of the Judge's decision finding that the Respondent violated the Statute by permanently removing the coffee machine from the vending room at the Leestown Road facility. The Respondent also argues that the Judge improperly concluded that the Respondent "does not dispute the proposition that the availability of food, beverages, and microwave in the vending room had become a condition of employment for employees represented by the Union." Judge's Decision at 3. The Respondent contends that it "has maintained from the beginning that VCS activities are by statutory authority exempt from the definition of 'condition[s] of employment.'" Respondent's Exceptions at 10. The Respondent argues that the availability of the coffee machine in this case is not a condition of employment within the meaning of section 7103(a)(14)(C) of the Statute because the authority of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (the Secretary) to operate VCS canteens, including the authority to remove vending machines from employee break areas, is specifically provided for by 38 U.S.C. §§ 4201-4210. According to the Respondent, title 38 of the U.S. Code mandates the VCS, under the control and supervision of the Secretary, to "control the vending machines and to make the contracts for such service." Id. at 11.

The Respondent contends that the situation presented in this case is similar to Colorado Nurses Association v. FLRA, 851 F.2d 1486 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (Colorado Nurses Association), in which the court found that matters concerning professional medical employees of the Department of Medicine and Surgery (DM&S) were not conditions of employment because the Administrator had the exclusive authority to prescribe regulations concerning the conditions of employment of those DM&S employees. According to the Respondent, Colorado Nurses Association "clearly compels the conclusion that VCS is not required to bargain over VCS activities carried on to effect the purposes set out in 38 U.S.C. § 4202-4203" because "the Secretary is to have 'exclusive control' over all VCS activities, including sales and operations." Id. at 13 (emphasis in original), quoting 38 U.S.C. § 4208.

Finally, the Respondent argues that the Authority cases relied on by the Judge are distinguishable from this case because, in each of those cases, "the action which constituted a 'condition of employment' was discretionary on the part of the employer and not controlled by a directly applicable Federal [s]tatute." Id. at 14.

B. General Counsel's Opposition and Cross-Exceptions

1. Opposition

The General Counsel argues that the Respondent did not raise before the Judge its arguments that: (1) there was no duty to bargain because the primary purpose of the VCS is to serve patients; and (2) there was no duty to bargain because title 38 of the U.S. Code provides the Secretary with the exclusive statutory authority to establish, maintain, and carry out the vending activity of the VCS canteens. As the Respondent failed to raise these issues before the Judge, the General Counsel maintains that, under section 2429.5 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, the Authority is precluded from considering the issues.

The General Counsel contends that even if the Authority considers these issues, the undisputed facts show that the vending room was established not for patients or visitors, but "for employees' exclusive use during work breaks." General Counsel's Opposition at 6 (emphasis in original). Moreover, the General Counsel argues that "[n]othing in 38 U.S.C. § 4201 et seq. or the Statute prohibits or exempts the Department of Veterans Affairs from negotiating with unions over the continued availability or elimination (whether temporary or permanent) of these break room conveniences." Id. at 8-9.

2. Cross-Exceptions

The General Counsel argues that the Respondent had a duty to bargain with the Union over the impending decision to remove all of the machines as well as about the delay in the installation of the replacement machines. The General Counsel contends that although the Judge found that break room conveniences, such as the machines in this case, are substantively negotiable, the Judge "erred by apparently analyzing the matter from the standpoint of an impact and implementation bargaining obligation" and by "finding essentially that [the] Respondent had the right to limit its bargaining obligation to portions of [the Respondent's] decision." General Counsel's Cross-Exceptions at 12, 15.

The General Counsel notes that, under Authority precedent, "'where the decision to make a change in conditions of employment is itself negotiable, the extent of the impact of the change on unit employees is not relevant.'" Id. at 13, quoting Department of Health and Human Services and Social Security Administration, 30 FLRA 922, 926 (1988). Accordingly, the General Counsel argues that the Judge's analysis of the impact of the removal "is irrelevant and unnecessary in these circumstances." Id. at 15.

As a remedy, the General Counsel asserts that the Judge's recommended status quo ante remedy "should extend to all aspects of the change--not simply the removal of the coffee machine." Id. at 16.

V. Analysis and Conclusions

For the following reasons, we agree with the Judge that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by removing the coffee machine from the vending room at the Leestown Road facility. However, contrary to the Judge, we find that the Respondent also violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) by its actions with respect to the other vending machines and the microwave oven.

A. Applicability of Title 38, U.S. Code

The Authority "will not consider . . . any issue[] which was not presented in the proceedings before the Regional Director, Hearing Officer, Administrative Law Judge, or arbitrator." 5 C.F.R. § 2429.5. Although the record does not indicate that the Respondent raised its arguments concerning the applicability of title 38, U.S. Code before the Judge, the record shows that the Respondent raised these arguments in a motion to dismiss the complaint filed with the Regional Director of the Authority's Atlanta Regional Office. As the Respondent raised these arguments in the proceedings before the Regional Director, we will address the Respondent's arguments concerning the applicability of title 38, U.S. Code.

The Authority held in Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Veterans Canteen Service, Lexington, Kentucky, 44 FLRA No. 16 (1992) (VCS, Lexington) that the VCS is obligated to bargain over "matters of significant interest to its employees." VCS, Lexington, slip op. at 5. In reaching this conclusion, the Authority distinguished Colorado Nurses Association and other cases which had found that an agency's discretion was not subject to negotiation where law or applicable regulation had vested the agency with "unfettered discretion over a matter . . . ." Id. at 2. The Authority found that, unlike the provisions involved in those cases, the provisions of title 38 establishing the VCS contain "no language excluding or limiting the application of other laws." Id. at 3. The Authority concluded that the absence of such preemptive language was a "strong indication that Congress did not intend the Secretary of the [Department of Veterans Affairs] to have unfettered discretion" with respect to the operations of the VCS. Id. at 4. Accordingly, we reach the same result here.

Under title 38, U.S. Code, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is authorized to, among other things, make all necessary contracts for the VCS and "to do all things necessary to carry out such contracts[.]" 38 U.S.C.A. § 7802, renumbered Pub. L. No. 102-40, 105 Stat. 238. However, the VCS is to function, under the control and supervision of the Secretary, as an independent unit and "shall have exclusive control over all its activities including . . . procurement and supply, . . . except as otherwise provided in this chapter." 38 U.S.C.A. § 7808, renumbered Pub. L. No. 102-40, 105 Stat. 238.

This case does not involve the contractual undertakings of the Secretary. Rather, it arose because the VCS Chief made certain decisions involving changes in machines installed in the vending room under an existing contract.

We find below that the machines in the vending room are matters concerning conditions of employment. As we concluded in VCS, Lexington, 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 7801-7810 do not prohibit the VCS from negotiating, to the extent of its discretion, over matters concerning conditions of employment. Accordingly, we may examine whether the Respondent committed an unfair labor practice by failing to bargain, to the extent of its discretion, over its decision to take specific action with respect to the machines in the vending room.

B. Duty to Bargain

In order to show that the Respondent committed an unfair labor practice in this case, the General Counsel must show that, as alleged in the complaint: (1) the Respondent's actions constituted a change in unit employees' conditions of employment; (2) such a change gave rise to a duty to bargain; and (3) the Respondent failed to fulfill its obligation to bargain concerning the change. See generally U.S. Department of the Treasury, Customs Service, Washington, D.C., 38 FLRA 875, 880 (1990); and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Region X, Seattle, Washington, 37 FLRA 880, 886 (1990) (HHS).

The parties do not dispute that the Respondent arranged for the vendor to exchange the previous microwave oven, the sandwich machine, and the snack machine with older machines and to permanently remove the coffee machine and cup-dispensing soft-drink machine from the vending room. We find that the Respondent's removal, and eventual exchange, of the microwave oven, the sandwich machine, and the snack machine, and the Respondent's permanent removal of the coffee machine and the cup-dispensing soft-drink machine constituted a change in unit employees' conditions of employment by depriving employees of access to the machines which had been previously available.

We note that, in the Judge's view, this case involves two separate issues: (1) the contemplated temporary situation that was anticipated to deprive the employees of the amenities provided by the removed machines for only 3 to 4 hours; and (2) the permanent change from one set of machines to another less complete and older set of machines. The Judge found that: (1) "the contemplated hiatus of a few hours did not change a condition of employment" because the "contemplated interruption was no greater than what could normally be expected" due to a power outage, equipment breakdown, or depletion of a particular machine's inventory; and (2) the substitution of older machines did not constitute a change in conditions of employment because the older machines "provided substantially the same services and products as the originals and were in working order[.]" Judge's Decision at 5, 6.

We do not adopt the Judge's framework separating the Respondent's actions into an exchange of some machines and a permanent removal of some machines. Rather, the focus of the complaint, and of our analysis, is on the Respondent's decision to take specific action regarding the machines in the vending room. Further, because the focus of this decision is on the Respondent's duty to bargain when it first decided to take specific action regarding the machines in the vending room, we will examine the Respondent's obligation to bargain at that time. Accordingly, in determining whether the Respondent changed conditions of employment, we do not adopt the Judge's finding that the hiatus is all that should be considered with respect to the exchanged machines.

In determining whether a matter involves a change in conditions of employment of unit employees, we first 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. Antilles Consolidated Education Association and Antilles Consolidated School System, 22 FLRA 235, 237 (1986). We note, in this regard, that the Authority has consistently held that matters pertaining to the provision of food services to unit employees at their place of employment concern the conditions of employment of unit employees. See, for example, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (Washington, D.C.); and Internal Revenue Service Hartford District (Hartford, Connecticut), 27 FLRA 322, 324-25 (1987) (IRS) (matters pertaining to break room conveniences, including the availability of snack foods, held to concern conditions of employment). See also National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-134 and U.S. Department of the Navy, Naval Underwater Systems, 38 FLRA 589, 594-95 (1990) and the cases cited therein.

The record establishes that the vending room was regularly used by employees of the Leestown Road facility and that there is a direct connection between the availability of the microwave oven and vending machines in the Leestown Road vending room and the work situation of unit employees. The machines in the vending room were used by employees on a daily basis, and the vending room contained the only sandwich machine that was available in the building. Further, the cup-dispensing machine was the only drink machine that provided ice. Employees had no access to another snack machine during their 10-minute breaks because the closest other snack machine was too far away. Employees used the microwave oven to heat, among other things, food purchased from the vending machines. Because there was no notice of the machines' removal, employees accustomed to purchasing and/or heating foods in the vending room could not prepare for their absence.

Given the employees' daily use of the machines and limited access to comparable food service facilities during breaks and certain shifts, we find that there is a direct connection between the availability of the microwave oven and vending machines in the Leestown Road vending room and the work situation of unit employees. See IRS (the agency unilaterally removed a microwave oven, a new large refrigerator and other conveniences from the break room; the Authority found that the parties had agreed to the use of the large refrigerator and that unit employees, among others, had used the microwave oven and the other conveniences and that the appliances and conveniences were conditions of employment). See also American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2614 and U.S. Department of the Navy, Antilles Consolidated School System, 43 FLRA 830, 834 (1991) (given the limited nature of the available lunch facilities and the limited lunch period, the subject of exchange privileges for unit employees has a direct effect on, and a direct connection with, the work situation of those employees). Consequently, we find that the Respondent had a duty to bargain over its decision to make changes with respect to the machines in the vending room. In failing to notify the Union and provide the Union with the opportunity to bargain over its decision to make changes with respect to the existing machines in the vending room, the Respondent deprived the Union of the opportunity to present proposals relating to the substance of its decision.

To the extent that the Judge's findings may be interpreted as a conclusion that there was no change with respect to the exchanged machines or the cup-dispensing soft-drink machine, we reject that conclusion. As to the Judge's finding that the "contemplated interruption was no greater than what could normally be expected" due to a power outage, equipment breakdown, or depletion of a particular machine's inventory, we note that a power outage, equipment breakdown, and depletion of a machine's inventory are distinguishable from this case because those occurrences are beyond an employer's control, whereas the actions in this case were initiated by the employer. Judge's Decision at 5. As to the Judge's finding that the older machines "provided substantially the same services and products as the originals[,]" we find that the degree to which the Respondent's actions changed the vending room does not determine whether there has been a change. Id. at 6. Accordingly, because the Respondent's actions deprived employees of access to machines which had been previously available and were initiated by the Respondent, we find that the Respondent's actions with respect to the machines in the vending room constituted a change in conditions of employment.

As the Respondent unilaterally changed the existing machines in the vending room without first notifying the Union and providing the Union with an opportunity to bargain over its decision, we find that the Respondent did not fulfill its bargaining obligation. Accordingly, we conclude that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.

C. 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 is appropriate in this case.

Where, as here, management has changed a condition of employment without fulfilling its obligation to bargain on its decision to effect that change, the Authority will grant a status quo ante remedy in the absence of special circumstances. HHS, 37 FLRA at 891; and 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 alleged that any special circumstances exist which would establish that a status quo ante remedy is unwarranted in this case. In these circumstances and consistent with longstanding Authority precedent, we conclude that a status quo ante remedy will effectuate the purposes and policies of the Statute.

Accordingly, we will order the Respondent to restore to the vending room at Leestown Road a microwave oven and vending machines comparable to the ones that it removed. If the Respondent seeks to make changes with respect to any of those machines, it must first bargain with the Union about any such change in conditions of employment.

VI. 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 Veterans Affairs, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Veterans Canteen Service, Lexington, Kentucky shall:

1. Cease and desist from:

(a) Unilaterally instituting changes in working conditions by changing the microwave oven and the vending machines in the Leestown Road vending room without first notifying to the National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184, the exclusive representative of certain of its employees, and affording it the opportunity to bargain on the decision to institute the changes.

(b) In any like or related manner, interfering with, restraining, or coercing its employees in the exercise of rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.

2. Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute:

(a) Upon request, restore to the vending room at Leestown Road a microwave oven and vending machines comparable to the ones that were originally in place.

(b) Notify the National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184, the exclusive representative of certain of its employees, in advance of any intention to change the working conditions of bargaining unit employees by changing equipment or vending machines in employees' break areas and, on request, bargain with the exclusive representative, to the extent consistent with law and regulations, concerning such changes.

(c) Post at its Leestown Road facility 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 Director of the Medical Center, 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 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, Atlanta Regional Office, 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 institute changes in working conditions by changing the microwave oven and the vending machines in the Leestown Road vending room without first notifying to the National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184, the exclusive representative of certain of our employees, and affording it the opportunity to bargain on the decision to institute the changes.

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 Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.

WE WILL, upon request, restore to the vending room at Leestown Road a microwave oven and vending machines comparable to the ones that were originally in place.

WE WILL notify the National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184, the exclusive representative of certain of our employees, in advance of any intention to change the working conditions of bargaining unit employees by removing equipment or vending machines from employees' break areas and, on request, bargain with the exclusive representative, to the extent consistent with law and regulations, concerning such changes.

____________________________
(Activity)

Dated:_______ By: _______________________________

(Signature) (Title)

This Notice must remain posted for 60 consecutive days from the date of posting and must not be altered, defaced or covered by any other material.

If employees have any questions c