45:1379(136)CA - - DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE and NTEU, CHAPTER 245 - - 1992 FLRAdec CA - - v45 p1379

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45:1379(136)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


45 FLRA NO. 136

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
(Respondent/Agency)

and

NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION
CHAPTER 245
(Charging Party/Union)
3-CA-10478

                                        DECISION AND ORDER

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached decision
finding that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5)
of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the
Statute) by implementing changes in its Signatory Authority
Program (Program) for trademark examiners without completing
bargaining with the Charging Party over the impact and
implementation of the changes and by bargaining in bad faith. \1
The Judge recommended that the Respondent be ordered to take
appropriate remedial action. 

The Respondent filed exceptions only to that portion of the
Judge's decision which found that the subsections of Article 1
that the Judge designated as Proposals A, B, and C of that
article are negotiable and to the Judge's recommended order
requiring it to bargain with the Union on those proposals. The
General Counsel and the Charging Party filed oppositions to the
Respondent's exceptions.\ 2

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. Upon
consideration of the Judge's decision and the entire record, for
the reasons set out below, we adopt the Judge's
findings, conclusions and recommended order to the extent that
they are consistent with this decision.

In addressing the Charging Party's proposals, the Judge
stated that the proposals "were initiated to conduct impact and
implementation bargaining." Judge's Decision at 9. The Judge
ruled on the negotiability of certain of the proposals, including
those contained in Article 1, which addresses partial signatory
authority. \3 The Judge found, among other things, that Proposals
A and B were distinguishable from Proposal 1 that the Authority
found nonnegotiable in Patent Office Professional Association and
Department of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office, 39 FLRA 783
(1991) (POPA) because Proposals A and B did not "purport to
restrict Respondent's assignment of partial signature authority."
Judge's Decision at 12. The Judge ruled that Proposal C "tracks
the Respondent's provision in its new Signatory Program ... and
reflects no interference with management's right to assign work
since it is in line with Respondent's proposal in this regard."
Id. at 13. As such, the Judge found that the proposals
constituted negotiable matters concerning which the Respondent
was obligated to bargain.

Article 1 sets forth the conditions governing the
recommending and granting of partial signatory authority to
Examining Attorneys. The decision to grant partial signatory
authority to Examining Attorneys constitutes an assignment of
work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute. See POPA, 39
FLRA at 789, 797. For the following reasons, contrary to the
Judge, we find that Sections A, B and C of Article 1 are
nonnegotiable.

A. Section A

We agree with the Judge that Section A does not require
management to grant partial signatory authority to an Examining
Attorney. However, we disagree with the Judge's determination
that the proposal does not restrict management's ability to
assign partial signatory authority because "it is left
for management to decide whether to recommend the (Examining)
(A)ttorney for partial signatory authority." Judge's Decision at
13.

As worded, the proposal permits Examining Attorneys to
request Senior Attorneys to recommend them for partial signatory
authority after 6 months at any grade level and, for the first
year of employment, precludes Senior Attorneys from recommending
Examining Attorneys for partial signatory authority without the
agreement of those attorneys. In effect, Section A prevents
management from assigning a specific duty to an employee during
the first 6 months of employment and limits management's ability
to assign that duty to an employee during the second 6 months of
employment without the employee's concurrence. As such, we
conclude that Section A directly interferes with the Respondent's
right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B). See POPA, 39
FLRA at 790 (proposal which dictates under what circumstances
and for what periods of time the Respondent will assign employees
the various stages of signatory authority directly interferes
with management's right to assign work).

Although Section A directly interferes with management's
right under the Statute to assign work, it nevertheless would be
negotiable if it is an appropriate arrangement within the meaning
of section 7106(b)(3) of the Statute. In determining whether a
proposal is negotiable as an appropriate arrangement for
adversely affected employees under section 7106(b)(3), the
Authority first determines whether the proposal is intended as an
arrangement for employees adversely affected by the exercise of a
reserved management right. Once the Authority determines that the
proposal is intended as an arrangement, the Authority determines
whether the proposed arrangement is appropriate or whether it is
inappropriate because it excessively interferes with management's
rights. National Association of Government Employees, Local
R14-87 and Kansas Army National Guard, 21 FLRA 24, 31-33.

The record establishes that Section A, among other things,
is intended to benefit employees adversely affected by the
Respondent's decision, pursuant to its right to assign work under
section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute, to change the eligibility
period for the assignment of partial signatory authority from 1
year to 4 months. In particular, the record establishes that the
proposal is intended to expand the time period for Examining
Attorneys to be trained and to gain experience in disposing of
trademark applications beyond the 4 months established by the
Respondent, thereby affording the opportunity for
additional guidance prior to the recommendation of a Senior
Attorney that they be assigned partial signature authority. As
such, we find that Proposal A is intended as an arrangement for
employees adversely affected by the exercise of a management
right.

However, the record does not establish that the benefit
afforded Examining Attorneys by the proposal would outweigh the
limitation placed by the proposal on management. Under the
proposal, during the first year of an Examining Attorney's
employment, management's ability to assign that attorney partial
signatory authority would be severely limited. Regardless of the
Respondent's need to increase the numbers of Examining Attorneys
with partial signatory authority in order to respond to the
demands of its workload, management would be unable, during the
first 6 months of employment, to assign that authority to any
Examining Attorney it determined was qualified and, during the
next 6 months, to assign that authority to any Examining Attorney
without that individual's consent. In other words, the proposal
significantly restricts management's judgment as to an Examining
Attorney's qualifications and the options available to management
for handling its workload.

We find that the restrictions imposed by the proposal on
management's right to assign work are disproportionate to the
benefit Examining Attorneys would receive under it. Therefore, we
conclude that Section A excessively interferes with management's
right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute
and is nonnegotiable. See, for example, POPA, 39 FLRA at 821
(proposal that would effectively take determinations with regard
to the assignment of work completely out of the agency's hand and
put them in the control of the employee or the union found to
excessively interfere with management's reserved rights). Compare
POPA, 39 FLRA at 837 (portion of proposal requiring the agency
to provide "adequate training" to patent examiners failing the
agency's signatory authority program found to be a negotiable
appropriate arrangement). Because we find that Section A is
nonnegotiable for the foregoing reasons, it is unnecessary to
address the additional contentions raised by the Respondent with
respect to the negotiability of the proposal.

B. Section B

Section B requires Senior Attorneys to recommend Examining
Attorneys for partial signatory authority under Section A when
certain criteria are met. As found above, Section A is
nonnegotiable because one of the requirements set forth in
Section A--the limitation of management's ability to recommend
the assignment of partial signatory authority to Examining
Attorneys during their first year of employment--directly and
excessively interferes with management's right to assign work
under section 7106(b)(2) of the Statute. We find that Section B
is nonnegotiable because it is dependent upon the requirements,
including the nonnegotiable limitation noted above, set forth in
Section A. See, for example, American Federation of Government
Employees, AFL - CIO, Department of Education Council of AFGE
Locals and Department of Education, 34 FLRA 1078, 1090 (1990)
(Department of Education). Because we find that the proposal is
nonnegotiable for the foregoing reasons, we do not address the
Respondent's remaining contentions with respect to the proposal's
negotiability.

C. Section C

Section C requires, among other things, that Managing
Attorneys review Senior Attorneys' recommendations for partial
signatory authority and approve the grant of that authority, in
writing, provided Examining Attorneys have met the criteria set
forth in Sections A and B. The Charging Party asserted before the
Judge that Section C "concerned the method by which approvals or
denials of the grant of (partial) signatory authority would be
communicated..., not the substantive approval/denial decision
itself." Charging Party's Post - Hearing Brief at 7. However, by
its terms, Section C requires management to "approve the grant of
partial signatory authority ... provided the Examining Attorney
meets the above requirements." As such, Section C incorporates
the particular requirements set forth in Sections A and B that
govern the grant of partial signatory authority by the Managing
Attorney. Therefore, the Charging Party's explanation of the
proposal is inconsistent with the plain wording of the proposal.
We will not adopt an explanation of a proposal that is
inconsistent with the plain wording of the proposal. See, for
example, National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1214 and
U.S. Department of the Army, Headquarters, U.S. Army Training
Center, 45 FLRA 1121, 1130 (1992); POPA, 39 FLRA at 812.

As discussed above, Section A is nonnegotiable because it
restricts management's ability to assign partial signatory
authority to Examining Attorneys during their first year of
employment. To the extent that Section C incorporates this
limitation, we find that Section C is also nonnegotiable for the
reasons stated in connection with Section A. See Department of
Education, 34 FLRA at 1090. 

Further, to the extent that Section C incorporates the
requirements set forth in Section B, we find that it is
nonnegotiable for the following reasons.

Section C provides, in relevant part, that Examining
Attorneys must meet the requirements set forth in Section B in
order to be granted partial signatory authority. By incorporating
the criteria set forth in Section B, Section C prescribes
specific substantive criteria that must be met prior to the grant
of partial signatory authority by the Managing Attorney.
Proposals that prescribe substantive criteria governing the
assignment of signatory authority directly interfere with
management's right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of
the Statute. See, for example, POPA, 39 FLRA at 793 (proposal
establishing explicit standards for the assignment of signatory
authority places external constraints on management's
determinations as to whether employees are qualified for the
assignment and directly interferes with management's right to
assign work). We find, therefore, consistent with POPA, that
Section C directly interferes with management's right to assign
work.

We note the Judge's finding that the proposal reflects the
provisions of the revised Program and is similar to the
Respondent's current practice. Further, we note that the criteria
prescribed by Section C are less restrictive than the criteria
established in the Respondent's revised Program. However, we also
note that proposals that restate the terms of an agency policy
established pursuant to the exercise of a management right are
not thereby rendered negotiable. See National Association of
Government Employees, Local R4-45 and U.S. Department of the
Navy, Navy Resale and Services Support Office, Norfolk, Virginia,
40 FLRA 56, 61 (1991).

Moreover, because Section C incorporates portions of the
requirements of the Respondent's revised Program, the proposal is
distinguishable from section 2 of Article 6 at issue in National
Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Office
of the Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, 40 FLRA 849, 859
(1991), enforced in Part and vacated and remanded in part as to
other matters, 960 F.2d 1068 (D.C. Cir. 1992), cited by the
Charging Party. First, section 2 of Article 6 in that case
referred generally to the agency's Rules of Conduct, rather than
incorporating the provisions of those rules. Secondly, the issue
in that case was whether the use of the term "Office" in the
proposal constituted an assignment of work. In this case, the
issue is whether, by incorporating provisions of the Respondent's
revised Program, the proposal directly interferes with 
management's right to assign work. As we found above, because the
proposal prescribes substantive criteria governing the exercise
of the Respondent's right to assign work under section
7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute, it directly interferes with that
right.

Accordingly, Section C is nonnegotiable unless it is an
appropriate arrangement within the meaning of section 7106(b)(3).
Applying the analytical framework established in KANG, we find
that Section C is not an appropriate arrangement.

Even if we assume that the criteria governing the Managing
Attorney's decision to grant partial signatory authority
constitute an arrangement for Examining Attorneys adversely
affected by the Respondent's right to assign work under section
7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute, we cannot conclude that the benefit
afforded to Examining Attorneys by such an arrangement would
outweigh the constraints imposed by the proposal on the exercise
of management's reserved right. Because the proposal requires
management to grant partial signatory authority to Examining
Attorneys who meet the proposed criteria, we find that the
proposal would preclude management from establishing additional
criteria, even if management were to determine that such criteria
were necessary to ensure the ability of the Examining Attorneys
to process trademark applications properly. Although the proposal
would benefit Examining Attorneys by allowing them to be granted
partial signatory authority under less demanding criteria than
those contained in the Respondent's revised Program, balancing
that benefit against the limitation on management's ability to
determine the qualifications necessary for partial signatory
authority, we find that Section C excessively interferes with
management's right under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute to
assign work. Consequently, we conclude that Section C is
nonnegotiable.

Because we have found that Sections A, B, and C of Article 1
are nonnegotiable, the Judge's recommended order in this case is
modified to exclude Sections A, B, and C of Article 1 from those
proposals on which the Respondent is required to bargain.

II. 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 Commerce, U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office, shall: 

1. Cease and desist from:

(a) Failing and refusing to negotiate in good faith with the
National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of its employees, over negotiable
proposals concerning the procedures to be observed in
implementing its decision to revise its Signatory Authority
Program and the appropriate arrangements for employees adversely
affected by such revision.

(b) In any like or related manner interfering with,
restraining or coercing its employees in the exercise of their
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, negotiate in good faith with the National
Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of its employees, over procedures to be
observed in implementing its decision to revise its Signatory
Authority Program and the appropriate arrangements for adversely
affected employees, including the negotiable proposals made by
the National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245.

(b) Post at its facilities where bargaining unit employees
represented by the National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245
are located, 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 Commissioner of Patent
and Trademarks, and shall be posted and maintained for 60
consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places, including all
bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees are
customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken to insure
that such Notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any
other material.

(c) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and
Regulations, notify the Regional Director of the Washington
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 fail and refuse to negotiate in good faith with the
National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of our employees, over negotiable
proposals concerning the procedures to be observed in
implementing our decision to revise our Signatory Authority
Program and the appropriate arrangements for employees adversely
affected by such revision.

WE WILL NOT, in any like or related manner, interfere with,
restrain, or coerce our employees in the exercise of rights
assured by the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations
Statute.

WE WILL, upon request, negotiate in good faith with the
National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of our employees, over the procedures to
be observed in implementing our decision to revise our Signatory
Authority Program and the appropriate arrangements for adversely
affected employees, including the negotiable proposals made by
the National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245.

_______________________
(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 concerning this Notice or
compliance with any of its provisions, they may communicate
directly with the Regional Director, Washington Regional Office,
Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is: 1111 18th
Street, NW, 7th Floor, P.O. Box 33758, Washington, DC 20033-0758,
and whose telephone number is: (202) 653-8500. 

APPENDIX

Article 1, entitled "Partial Signatory Authority," provides
in relevant part that:

    A. Examining Attorneys may be recommended for partial
    signatory authority after being employed with the TMEO for at
    least six months, at any grade level. Recommendations for partial
    signatory authority will be initiated at the request of the
    Examining Attorney, by the Senior Attorney responsible for
    training. The Senior Attorney may recommend partial signatory
    authority only with the concurrence of the Examining Attorney.
    After one year of employment, requests for partial signatory
    authority may be initiated by the Senior Attorney alone.

    B. The Senior Attorney will recommend the Examining Attorney
    for partial signatory authority, under (A) above, if the
    following criteria are met:

    1) the attorney is admitted to the bar;

    2) the attorney has a demonstrated knowledge of trademark
    law, Office practice and procedure, and has demonstrated the
    ability to act independently on both new and amended cases.

    C. The Managing Attorney will review the recommendation for
    partial signatory authority and will approve the grant of partial
    signatory authority in writing, provided the Examining Attorney
    meets the above requirements. Any denial of partial signatory
    authority will be made in writing, with an explanation of the
    reasons for the refusal. 


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20424

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK
OFFICE

Respondent

and

NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES
UNION, CHAPTER 245

Charging Party

Case No. 3-CA-10478

James R. Lawrence, Esq.
For the Respondent

Laurence Evans, Esq.
Counsel for the General Counsel

Aileen Johnson, Esq.
For the Charging Party

Before: WILLIAM NAIMARK
Administrative Law Judge

                                DECISION

                        Statement of the Case

Pursuant to a Complaint and Notice of Hearing issued on July
31, 1991 by the Regional Director, Federal Labor Relations
Authority, Washington Region Office, a hearing was held before
the undersigned on October 29, 1991 at Washington, DC.

This case arose under the Federal Service Labor - Management
Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. 7101 et seq. (herein called the
Statute). It is based on a charge filed by the National Treasury
Employees Union, Chapter 245 (herein called the Union) on April
22, 1991 against the Department of Commerce, U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office (herein called the Respondent or Agency).

The Complaint alleged, in substance, that on or about March
8, 1991 Respondent implemented changes in its Signatory Authority
Program \4 without completing bargaining over the impact and
implementation proposals submitted by the Union on January 8,
1991--all in violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the
Statute.

Respondent's Answer, dated September 9, 1991, while
admitting that the Union made certain proposals re the aforesaid
Program, denied that Respondent implemented the Signatory
Authority Plan in violation of the Statute as alleged in the
Complaint.

All parties were represented at the hearing. Each was
afforded full opportunity to be heard, to adduce evidence, and to
examine as well as cross-examine witnesses. Briefs were filed
with the undersigned which have been duly considered.

Upon the entire record, from my observation of the witnesses
and their demeanor, and from all of the testimony and evidence
adduced at the hearing, I make the following findings and
conclusions:

Findings of Fact

1. At all times material herein the Union has been, and
still is, the certified bargaining representative of an
appropriate unit of Respondent's employees.

2. Respondent's trademark operations consist of
approximately 400 employees. Included therein are 176 examining
attorneys who review trademark applications involving the
registration thereof. Such applications are either approved or
ultimately denied.

3. A system is utilized by Respondent which governs the
responsibility and authority of examining attorneys to sign their
actions in respect to trademark applications. This is known as
the Signatory Authority Program.

4. After an attorney begins as an examiner, he is not
permitted to sign his actions without approval from a mentor or
senior attorney. When he meets certain criteria re his
performance, he is eligible to be granted Partial Signatory 
Authority to sign all non-final actions or dispositions. In
preparation for Full Signatory Authority the attorney may be
granted temporary authority to sign all final actions. That
authority is designated as Probationary Full Signatory Authority.
He then may be given Full Signatory Authority, which is permanent
authority to sign and take final actions without approval from a
senior attorney.

5. In the fall of 1990 Respondent sent Mary F. Bruce,
president of the union, a draft of proposed changes in the
"Signatory Authority Procedures." These Procedures \5 provide for
the grant of independent signatory authority in stages based on
the evaluation of the attorney's performance and ability to act
independently. Three types of signatory authority are covered:
Partial Signatory Authority, Probationary Full Signatory
Authority, and Full Signatory Authority
.

In respect to all three stages and the granting of authority
at each one, the Procedures set forth (a) the necessary criteria
in order to be awarded the grant of authority, and (b) the
necessary steps in the recommendation for granting authority. In
regard to the grant of Partial Signatory Authority, the Program
provides that the attorney's mentor may recommend such authority
for the attorney if the latter has at least four months in office
experience and a total of at least 300 actions.

As to the grant of Probationary Full and Full Signatory
Authority to attorneys, the new Program provides for the review
by the managing attorney of 10 cases of the attorney before he is
granted either authority. Provision is also made in regard to
each of these two grants of authority for the review by the
senior attorney of cases handled by the examining attorney.
Evaluation is made of the performance by the attorney as well as
the quality of the latter's actions. Further, in respect to
Probationary Full Authority and Full Signatory Authority, the
Plan sets forth an appeal to the Administrator for Trademark
Policy when the managing attorney denies a grant of either such
authority.

6. On or about December 6, 1990 a meeting was held between
Union officials and management representatives concerning the
proposed changes. The Union was concerned as to the
impact of the changes and the matter was discussed. Respondent's
group said it believed that no substantial changes had been made
and any impact was insignificant. Union officials stated they
would submit proposals in that regard.

7. Under date of January 8, 1991 Union President Bruce sent
Director David E. Bucher the Union's proposals \6 regarding the
Signatory Authority Procedures. It also indicated its desire to
commence bargaining on the issue.

8. Article 1 of the Union's proposals deals with Partial
Signatory Authority
. It provides, in substance:

    (a) For the recommendation of attorneys for this authority
    after six months employment, and recommendations to be by the
    Senior Attorney with concurrence of the examining attorney. After
    one year, it may be initiated by the Senior Attorney alone.

    (b) The criteria for such recommendation.

    (c) For the review of the recommendation by the Managing
    Attorney and for an explanation in writing if the grant of such
    authority is denied.

    (d) That the office instruct Senior Attorneys to provide new
    employees with the policy re this authority.

    (e) The office will not use quality review results as the
    sole basis for terminating an employee who is granted this
    authority in his first year.

    (f) For a reevaluation of a grant of this authority if made
    in the first year of an attorney's employment; for additional
    training if quality review indicates additional training would
    benefit the attorney; for automatic reinstatement to this
    authority at the end of four months additional training of the
    attorney. 

    (g) That a failure to recommend an attorney for this
    authority will not be used by the Office in selection of
    employees for promotion, details or special projects.

9. Article 2 of the Union's proposals deals with
Probationary Full Signatory Authority. It provides, in
substance:

    (a) For the eligibility of an attorney for this authority
    six months prior to his eligibility for full signatory
    authority.

    (b) For initiating a recommendation of the attorney for this
    authority by the Managing Attorney at least two weeks before the
    pay period in which the attorney becomes eligible.

    (c) The eligibility requirements for the recommendation.

    (d) The period in which the attorney will remain in this
    status, and the modification of the period where the
    recommendation was untimely made or delayed.

10. Article 3 of the Union's proposals deals with Full
Signatory Authority
and provides, in substance:

    (a) Requirements for recommending eligibility for this
    authority, and for initiation of a recommendation by the Manager
    within 90 days after the attorney is first denied such
    authority.

    (b) For the grant of authority to an attorney rated
    commendable or higher on critical elements and quality of writing
    without a need for a further review of cases.

    (c) For the eligibility of an attorney for this authority
    who is rated at least fully successful in the critical elements
    under a specified system. This system provides for a review of
    the attorney's cases by a committee of two Senior Attorneys in
    accord with Respondent's proposal in Section E (3), but with an
    exception that only the most recent error by an attorney be
    counted; that the Managing Attorney would review all selected
    cases and appeal briefs, and under what circumstances he
    will deny full signatory authority; that errors found by the
    Managing Attorney resulting in a denial of such authority will be
    submitted to the Administrator for Trademark Policies and
    Procedures for de novo review.

Under the aforesaid system it is proposed that full
authority be granted if the Managing Authority finds fewer than
one substantive or three procedural errors in cases; that, if
authority be denied, 10 additional cases of the attorney be
reviewed; that the review of cases be completed within one month
of the process and any grant of authority and the promotion to
GS-13 be retroactive if management delays the review; and that a
second review be initiated in 90 days after a denial of this
Authority.

11. Article 4 of the Union's proposals provides as
follows:

    A. Production requirements will be determined by the grade
    level of the employee, rather than being linked to signatory
    authority status.

12. Article 5 of the Union's proposals provides as
follows:

    A. Until a final plea for grants of signatory authority is
    established, the procedure outlined in the March 3, 1986 memo
    concerning signatory authority will remain in effect.

13. In reply to the aforesaid proposals the Respondent wrote
Bruce on January 31, 1991. The letter advised the Union that
management felt it had no duty to bargain. It deemed most of the
proposals interfered with management rights and are
nonnegotiable. The remainder, it was felt, were unrelated to the
changes proposed by management and beyond the scope of
bargaining. Respondent stated that the Union's proposals were not
appropriate impact or implementation proposals.

14. The Union responded on February 11, 1991 by a letter
addressed to Assistant Commissioner Jeffrey M. Samuels wherein
the Union expressed its willingness to examine any negotiability
issue and consider redrafting its proposals. Further, the Union
stated its desire to meet and discuss the negotiability concerns
of management.

15. About a week later the parties met. The Union mentioned
its concern re a "blanket push" of new attorneys to
partial signatory authority before they were ready and received
adequate training. Management repeated its feeling that it did
not have a duty to negotiate with the Union.

16. Under date of February 25, 1991 Respondent wrote Bruce
that, as a result of the Union's concerns, management would amend
its program in four respects; (a) consultation to take place
between the attorney and the senior/mentor attorney prior to the
latter's recommendation for partial signatory authority; (b)
denial of partial signatory authority by managing attorneys must
be in writing with the reasons for denial; (c) automatic review
or appeal of all error determinations by the Administrator for
Trademark policy and procedure where managing attorneys finally
denies either probationary or full signatory authority; \7 (d)
after final denial of either probationary or full signatory
authority, the attorney becomes eligible again in three months
rather than in six months as earlier provided.

The letter also advised Bruce that, as a result of the
amendments, management saw no need to negotiate further with the
Union.

17. With respect to the aforesaid amendments Bruce testified
that as to No. 1 (consultation), the Union may want other
procedures to protect attorneys; as to No. 2 (written denial of
partial signatory authority), this conformed to the Union's
desires; as to No. 3 (automatic review by the Administrator of
error determinations), the Union wanted to discuss and be
involved in drafting a proposal if there was an appeal procedure;
as to No. 4 (eligibility in 3 months after denial for
probationary full signatory authority or full signatory
authority), that did address the Union's concerns.

18. Further testimony by Bruce reflects the Union was also
concerned as to: (a) the effect of receiving early probationary
full signatory authority which would not allow for adequate
training; (b) delays in initiating the processing of full
signatory authority procedures which prevent attorneys from
receiving promotions in a timely fashion; (c) disparate treatment
in respect to an attorney's qualification for full signatory
authority, since under the new procedures a review of
the attorney's work is delegated to the manager in each office.
The Union contended this could result in disparate treatment of
attorneys since each manager could come to a different conclusion
as to an individual's qualifications, which would leave room for
subjective determinations in regard to an individual's
qualifications.

19. Record facts show the same training exists under the new
Plan as previously, the training period covers 12 weeks with a
series of lectures, and each attorney is assigned a senior/mentor
attorney. The shortened eligibility period (4 months vs. 1 year)
for the grant of partial signatory authority was occasioned by
the fact that many new attorneys had extensive trademark
experience before coming to Respondent. Management wanted a
system permitting said attorneys to be treated as full-fledged
professionals.

20. Respondent implemented the changed Signatory Authority
Program on March 8, 1991 and sent a copy thereof to its examining
attorneys.

                                Conclusions

The Complaint alleges that Respondent implemented its
Signatory Authority Program without completing negotiations with
the Union over the negotiable impact and implementation proposals
submitted by the Union.\ 8

While acknowledging that it changed its Program re the grant
of signatory authority, Respondent contends the changes were de
minimis in nature and created no duty to bargain. Further, it
asserts that the proposals submitted by the Union were
nonnegotiable and thus imposed no duty to bargain with the Union
in respect thereto. 

It is not disputed that Respondent may institute new
Signatory Authority Procedures as a management right without
bargaining as to its decision in that regard. However, the
General Counsel and the Union assert that, notwithstanding this
prerogative, an agency is required to negotiate as to the impact
and implementation of such changes. Contrary to Respondent, they
also contend that management herein did not bargain as to the
effect of the changed Procedures, but implemented them prior to
completing negotiations thereon.

The Authority has recognized that the exercise of a reserved
management right to change conditions of employment can carry
with it a correlative duty to bargain re the impact and
implementation of such changes. 56th Combat Support Group (TAG),
MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, 43 FLRA 434; Department of
Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC,
20 FLRA 486.

Respondent's contention that since the Union failed to
either revise its proposals or file a negotiability appeal, no 
duty devolved upon it to bargain with the Union. This argument is
rejected. The thrust of the Complaint herein concerns the refusal
to negotiate as to the changes made by Respondent in its
Signatory Authority Procedures. The issue centered on the
obligation of management, as contended by the General Counsel, to
bargain as to the impact and implementation of such changes. It
did not rise to the level of a negotiability appeal concerning
the proposals made by the Union, and the latter did not see fit
to institute such an appeal. The proposals made by the Union were
initiated to conduct impact and implementation bargaining. There
was no requirement, under these circumstances, that it resort to
the negotiability procedures set up by the Authority's
regulations. \9

Apart from the negotiability of the Union's proposals, I am
persuaded that Respondent had no intention to bargain with the
Union as to the new Signatory Authority Procedures. While
management listened to the Union's concerns as to: there being
less time for training, disparate review by 13 managing attorneys
before granting signatory authority to examining attorneys, and
the proposed automatic appeal procedures, it did not engage in
negotiations with respect thereto. Respondent indicated in its
letters to the Union of January 31, 1991 and February 25, 1991
that it did not believe it was necessary to bargain with
the Union. This position is borne out by Union President Bruce's
testimony that management said at a meeting in January 1991 there
was no need to meet with the Union. Further, Respondent's Deputy
Assistant Commissioner testified that management met with the
Union in February 1991 to have an informal conversation, but the
agency felt there was no duty to bargain. Anderson testified
that no management official indicated it would engage in formal
bargaining on the new program.

An employer does not meet or fulfill its duty to bargain by
merely meeting with the Union and listening to its concerns. It
must manifest an intention to reach a negotiated agreement. In
the instant case the record is persuasive that Respondent did not
bargain in good faith as to the new program and the particular
features which the Union sought to negotiate. Thus, the
implementation of the program without bargaining thereon would,
unless otherwise excused, be violative of the Statute. See Social
Security Administration, 18 FLRA 511.

There is a sharp dispute as to whether the changes in the
program herein were de minimis in nature. Respondent insists that
the changes in its Signatory Authority Procedures had little
impact on working conditions and thus created no duty to
bargain.

The Authority laid down its revised standards for
determining whether a change is de minimis in Department of
Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, 24
FLRA 403 (1986). It concluded that emphasis would be placed on
such general areas of consideration as the nature and extent of
the effect or reasonably foreseeable effect of the change in
conditions of employment. Further, equitable considerations would
be considered in balancing the various interests involved; the
number of affected employees and the history of collective
bargaining would be given limited application; and the size of
the unit would no longer be a factor.

Applying the foregoing yardsticks to the case at hand, I am
satisfied that the particular changes in the Signatory Authority
Procedures, which the Union insists are bargainable as to their
impact and implementation, are more than de minimis.

In respect to the change of eligibility for Partial
Signatory Authority from one year to four months, this may well 
impinge upon the training time of the examining
attorneys. While it may be true, as the Respondent argues, that
no attorney has been denied this authority, the shortened period
could affect his experienced capability concerning the work
product. The change which cuts eligibility eight months, is not
mandatory and impacts upon the guidance afforded the attorney and
his ultimate skill.

The change in the initial review of an attorney's work is
substantial in nature. Delegating this task to 13 different
managers in place of the earlier procedure whereby review was
made by the Administrator, does result in less uniformity in
respect to the inspection and grading of the work of an attorney.
This could well result in differing standards being applied as to
an attorney's readiness for the grant of signatory authority.
That disparate treatment could ensue is truly foreseeable and
could have a marked effect upon the treatment of the attorneys in
this regard.

The record reflects concern by the Union as to the automatic
appeal to the Administrator when the managing attorney denies
signatory authority. This change provides for ultimate
determination by the individual who previously reviewed the
attorney's cases and work product. Since the change is part of
the entire review process, albeit providing for an automatic
appeal, it does affect the standing and status of the attorney
who has been denied such authority. As such, it does have an
impact upon his conditions of employment, and the Union might
want to discuss the procedures involved in such appeals and their
part therein.

The nature of those changes made by Respondent lead me to
conclude that they do have a foreseeable effect upon the working
conditions of the examining attorneys. The various concerns
raised by the Union which relate to training, disparate treatment
of attorney's work by different managing attorneys, and the
automatic appeal procedures--all are factors affecting a
significant number of employees and are not of a limited nature.
Thus, I conclude the said changes in the program are more than de
minimis. Respondent's failure and refusal to bargain therein over
the impact and implementation of changes in the Signatory
Authority Procedures violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the
Statute.

Turning to the proposals by the Union in regard to the
Signatory Authority Program, Respondent insists it had no 
11] obligation to bargain thereon since they are nonnegotiable.
It adverts to the similar authority program, which involved
Respondent's patent examiners, that was discussed by the
Authority in Patent Office Professional Association and
Department of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office (herein
called POPA), 39 FLRA 783. Respondent contends that many of the
proposals in the cited case, which are similar to ones proposed
by the Union herein, were found by the Authority to directly
interfere with management's right to assign work and are
therefore not negotiable.

The proposals by the Union concern the grant to attorneys of
authority which may be partial, probationary full, or full. In
determining the negotiability of those proposals, note must be
taken of the Authority's decision in National Association of
Government Employees, Local R14-87 and Kansas Army National
Guard, 21 FLRA 24. In that case the Authority set forth the
necessary considerations where management alleges a union
proposal is not negotiable because it conflicts with management
rights in section 7106(a) or (b)(1). Firstly, it must be
ascertained whether a proposal is intended to be an arrangement
for employees adversely affected by the exercise of such rights.
The union must, nevertheless, articulate how employees will be
detrimentally affected by management's actions and how the
proposal will address any adverse effects. If it be concluded
that the proposal is intended as an arrangement, then it must be
determined whether the arrangement is appropriate. Should it be
decided that the proposal excessively interferes with the
exercise of management's rights, the proposal will be deemed
inappropriate and in conflict with section 7106(b)(3). In
evaluating whether a proposal is a proper procedure for
negotiations under section 7106(b)(2), the applicable test is
whether the proposal was a "direct interference" with a
management right.

Partial Signatory Authority Proposals (Article 1)

In respect to Proposals A, B and C under this category,
Respondent insists they restrict its ability to assign this
authority to examining attorneys. Further, it is asserted they
interfere with that right since they attempt to define the time
period, amount of work and level of performance in order to
receive partial signatory authority. Such proposals, it is
argued, are controlled by the Authority's decision in the POPA
case, supra. (Proposal No. 1).

The particular proposals in A do not purport to restrict
Respondent's assignment of partial signatory authority. It 
is provided that an attorney may be recommended for this
grant of authority after six months of employment; that it would
be initiated at the request of the attorney; that the Senior
Attorney may recommend this assignment. This proposal differs
markedly from Proposal 1 in the POPA case, which Respondent
refers to as dispositive in finding the one at hand to be
nonnegotiable. The POPA proposal requires that an examiner be
granted partial signatory authority when performing subspectorily
for six months at the GS-13 level. It also stipulates the number
of minimum hours of performing his functions with a requirement
that, if competence be established, the attorney be granted this
authority. There is no attempt under A herein to abridge
management's right under section 7106. Neither is this proposal
an interference with management's right to assign since it is
left for management to decide whether to recommend the attorney.
I conclude the A proposal is a negotiable matter and Respondent
was under an obligation to bargain thereon as to its impact and
implementation.

Similarly I conclude that proposal B is negotiable since it
merely sets forth basic eligibility requirements for this grant
of authority which management would require before ever assigning
it. It does not provide for a mandatory grant, and in no way
interferes with management's rights under section 7106. In truth,
the same provisions are contained in Respondent's new Program
which it implemented in March 1991.

With respect to C re the managing attorney reviewing the
recommendation for partial signatory authority and the written
notification to an attorney of any denial thereof, I conclude
this is a negotiable proposal. It tracks the Respondent's
provision in its new Signatory Program set forth in C (3)
(Approval/Denial of Partial Signatory Authority), and reflects no
interference with management's right to assign work since it is
in line with Respondent's proposal in this regard.

Respondent contends that the D proposal is nonnegotiable
since it assigns work to specific managers within a particular
time period. I conclude that this proposal constitutes a
negotiable procedure under section 7106(b)(2) of the Statute.
This merely calls for Respondent to have the senior attorneys
provide new employees with a copy of the partial signatory
authority policy during their first month of employment. It
places no substantive restriction on the agency's
ability to act re its reserved rights and is within the duty to
bargain. \10

Respondent contends that proposal E is a direct interference
with its ability to retain employees or take disciplinary action
against them. This provision does restrict management's rights
under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute. It is not articulated
how employees could be detrimentally affected by management's
action and thus intended as an appropriate arrangement. The
proposal would, moreover, excessively interfere with management's
right to decide as to termination of an employee. I conclude this
is not a negotiable proposal and outside the duty to bargain.
\11

The proposal in F provides that management may reevaluate
its grant of this authority when granted during the first year of
employment. If the reviews in the first two months after the
grant indicate the attorney could benefit from additional
training, Respondent may review that attorney's cases for four
months and provide additional training to enable him to perform
effectively. Further, at the end of four months training partial
signatory authority will be automatically reinstated.

Respondent insists this proposal interferes with its ability
to review an employee's work and therefore violates section
7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute.

With respect to the proposed training of attorneys under the
aforesaid circumstances, this is a matter which affects the
working conditions of these individuals. They have a substantial
interest in evaluation and training. It is true that proposals
requiring agencies to provide training have been found to
directly interfere with management's right to assign work, Fort
Eustis, 33 FLRA 395. However, in POPA the Authority held that a
proposal to train examiners was a negotiable appropriate
arrangement. The same conclusion is reached here with respect to
the proposed additional training. It does not mandate the
schedule or duration of the training, and as such is a
negotiable arrangement. See American Federation of Government
Employees, Local 3231 and Social Security Administration, 22 FLRA
868, 872-74.

The provision for reevaluating a grant during the two months
following a grant of this authority is at the option of the
Respondent, and is related to the additional training. The
decision as to whether reevaluation should be made is left to
management and does not excessively interfere with managements
rights under the Statute. It is also negotiable as an appropriate
arrangement.

The last clause in proposal 7 provides for the automatic
reinstatement of partial signatory authority at the end of an
additional four month training period. This interferes with
management's right to assign work. While it may be said that this
is an appropriate arrangement for negotiations. I consider this
to be an excessive interference with management's right to assign
work is and not negotiable.

In respect to proposal G, I agree with Respondent that it
directly interferes with management's right to promote and assign
work under section 7106(a)(2)(B). It is an excessive interference
since the proposal would dictate the circumstances of the
selection of employees for promotion or special projects, and
hence cannot be deemed an appropriate arrangement.

Probationary Full Signatory Authority (Article 2)

The proposals under A and B of this authority grant do
interfere directly with management's rights to assign work and
are nonnegotiable. (See POPA, supra). The initial proposal
mandates the eligibility period for probationary full signatory
authority. Proposal B requires the Managing Attorney to recommend
an examining attorney for this grant of authority under explicit
standards. They set the required time for successful
performances, call for the attorney in retaining partial
signatory status for three months if he is ineligible for
probationary full authority, and requires that where a grant is
delayed due to the Managing Attorney within a specified time
frame, the examining attorney shall remain in probationary full
authority status (where approved) until he meets the requirements
for promotion to GS-13.

These proposals are an infringement upon management's right
to assign work. They prescribe explicit criteria and
circumstances for approval of this grant of authority and 
are a direct interference with management's rights under the
Statute.

Note is also taken that the record does not contain
sufficient facts upon which to make a determination that these
proposals would constitute an appropriate arrangement. A party
who so contends is required to meet this burden or act at its
peril. American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3272,
and Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security
Administration, Chicago Regional Office, 34 FLRA 675.

Full Signatory Authority (Article 3)

Proposals under A, B and C are the eligibility for
recommendation requirements which include (1) being eligible for
a promotion to a GS-13, (2) performing fully satisfactory for 90
days during a prescribed period, (3) initiation by the Manager
within 90 days if the attorney fails to meet requirements in A
and the attorney's performance improves to meet fully successful
criteria, (4) mandating the grant of this authority without need
of further case review when the attorney attains a specified
rating on all critical elements and the quality of his writing in
quality review while on probationary full authority.

The proposals in A, B and C are similar to those proposed by
the Union in Article 2 dealing with Probationary Full Signatory
Authority. They interfere with management's rights to assign work
under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute. Proposals A (1) and
(2) set the preliminary requirements for the recommendation of an
attorney for full authority. In proposing that an attorney will
be recommended for this grant of authority when he is eligible
for promotion to a GS-13, the proposals conflict with
management's right to assign work. Both A (1) and (2) dictate the
circumstances under which an employee will be granted this
authority and the time prerequisites for such recommendation.
There is, moreover, no showing that these proposals are an
appropriate arrangement. I conclude they are nonnegotiable.

With respect to A (3) of this article, I conclude that such
a proposal is negotiable and warrants bargaining therein. The
initial clause referring to the knowledge of trademark law as
well as office practice as procedure conforms, in fact, to
Respondent's new signatory authority plan as set forth in C (1)
(c). The remainder of the proposal merely requires the Respondent
to provide written explanation for any denial of full signatory
authority. The Authority has held that section 7106
does not limit the disclosure of information which is the product
of its decision-making process involving the exercise of
management's right. See American Federation of Government
Employees, AFL - CIO, National Council of Field Assessment Locals
and Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security
Administration, 32 FLRA 982.

The proposals in C and D are also not negotiable matters.
They mandate the granting of full signatory authority to an
attorney provided he attains a certain rating on the critical
elements. Further, they preclude any further review of the
attorneys' cases. Under D it establishes the system under which
attorneys, rated at least fully successful, will be eligible for
recommendations to the status of full signatory authority.

This system calls for the Managing Attorney to direct a
review of 10 cases of the attorney no later than 5 weeks prior
to the latter's eligibility for a GS-13. It provides for the
review of those cases by two senior attorneys and regulates the
errors to be counted. It details a review by the Managing
Attorney of the selected cases, and the circumstances under which
substantive errors by the attorney justifies a provisional denial
of full signatory authority or warrants granting it. The D (8)
proposal requires the review to be completed in a month and for
the retroactive grant of this authority if Respondent delays the
review. Finally, it calls for a second review with the same
procedure in 90 days if the attorney is finally denied this full
signatory authority.

The right to assign work includes, as the Authority has
held, the right to determine qualifications of employees as well
as what data is required to make that determination. Limiting the
agency's discretion to determine how many cases to review, the
proposal interferes with the Respondent's right to determine what
data it needs with respect to the assignment of the stages of the
Signatory Authority Program. Thus, this aspect of the proposal
directly interferes with management's right to assign work under
section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute. See POPA, at 805.

Further, setting the number of reviewers to be assigned to
cases is a direct interference with the Agency's right to
determine the number, types and grades of employees assigned to
work under section 7106(b)(1). 

In proposing under D (6) for the granting of full signatory
authority based on the few errors found by the Managing Attorney,
it does not negate a conclusion that such proposal interferes
with the right to assign work. It does not restate, or refer to,
5 C.F.R. 335.104 \12 or state that determination re eligibility
for promotion shall conform with governing regulations. Thus, the
prerequisite that a grant of this authority will only be made to
attorneys who are rated at least fully successful will not
preclude the finding of interference. The proposals under D (7),
(8) and (9) are also a direct interference with management's
right to assign work. Once again the Agency is directed to review
a specified number of an attorney's cases (10) upon a denial of
full authority. Further, the Agency is required to review cases
within a certain time frame, and to make retroactive any grant of
this authority at a promotion to, GS-13. These proposals infringe
upon management's rights under section 7106 of the Statute, and
are nonnegotiable. See POPA, supra.

In respect to those proposals found to be nonnegotiable
based on a direct interference with Respondent's right to assign
work, the record does not contain sufficient evidence to warrant
finding they are appropriate arrangements. Record facts do not
show the adverse effects upon employees as a result of
management's actions and how the proposals by the Union are
intended to address or compensate for the actual or anticipated
effects of the exercise of management's rights. See Kansas Army
National Guard, supra.

It is also contended that Respondent was obliged to fulfill
its bargaining obligation before implementing the Signatory
Authority Program. I agree. Although Respondent met with the
Union and also amended certain changes of its Program, management
did not complete its negotiations with the Union as to the
changes. The Union indicated its desire to continue negotiations
and made proposals in this regard. Implementation of
the Program under these circumstances was violative of sections
7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute. \13

Based on the foregoing findings and conclusions, it is
recommended that the Authority issue the following Order:

ORDER

Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Federal Labor Relations
Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the
Statute, it is hereby ordered that Department of Commerce, U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office, shall:

1. Cease and desist from:

(a) Failing and refusing to negotiate in good faith with the
National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of its employees, concerning procedures
and appropriate arrangements affected by the change in its
Signatory Authority Procedures.

(b) In any like or related manner interfering with,
restraining or coercing its employees in the exercise of their
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, negotiate in good faith with the National
Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of its employees, concerning procedures
and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by
the changes in its Signatory Authority Procedures, including the
negotiable proposals made by the National Treasury Employees
Union, Chapter 245.

(b) Post at its facilities where bargaining unit employees
represented by the National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245
are located, 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 Commissioner
of Patent and Trademarks, and shall be posted and maintained for
60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places, including
all bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees
are customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken to insure
that such Notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any
other material.

(c) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and
Regulations, notify the Regional Director of the Washington
Regional Office, Federal Labor Relations Authority, 1111 18th
Street, NW, 7th Floor, P.O. Box 33758, Washington, DC 20033-0758,
in writing, within 30 days from the date of this Order, as to
what steps have been taken to comply herewith.

Issued, Washington, DC, March 11, 1992

WILLIAM NAIMARK
Administrative Law Judge



                            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 HEREBY NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT:

WE WILL NOT fail and refuse to negotiate in good faith with the
National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of our employees, concerning procedures
and appropriate arrangements affected by the change in our
Signatory Authority Procedures.

WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner, interfere with,
restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights
assured by the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations
Statute.

WE WILL, upon request, negotiate in good faith with the
National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 245, the exclusive
representative of a unit of our employees, concerning procedures
and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by
the changes in our Signatory Authority Procedures, including the
negotiable proposals made by the National Treasury Employees
Union, Chapter 245.

_______________________
(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 concerning this Notice or
compliance with any of its provisions, they may communicate
directly with the Regional Director of the Federal Labor
Relations Authority, Washington Regional Office, whose address
is: 1111 18th Street, NW, 7th Floor, P.O. Box 33758, Washington,
DC 20033-0758, and whose telephone number is: (202) 653-8500.

________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Footnote 1 The Program is the Respondent's system which
governs the responsibility and authority of Examining Attorneys
to sign their actions with respect to trademark applications.
The Program is described in more detail in the attached Judge's
decision.

Footnote 2 In its opposition, the Charging Party contends
that the Respondent's exceptions are untimely filed and should
not be considered. We conclude that the exceptions are properly
before us. Further, the Charging Party contends that it is
unnecessary to consider the negotiability of the proposals
discussed in the Respondent's exceptions because the issue of
negotiability never became ripe for consideration. The Charging
Party asserts that "(w)hen the Respondent refused to enter
bargaining on any of the proposals--even when the Union
expressed a willingness to change them--it simply failed to meet 
its obligation to bargain ... (and thereby) committed an unfair
labor practice." Charging Party's Opposition at 5. Noting that no
exceptions were filed to the Judge's conclusion that the
Respondent violated the Statute by implementing changes in its
Program without completing bargaining with the Charging Party
over the impact and implementation of the changes and by
bargaining in bad faith, we agree with the Charging Party's
contention and the Judge's finding that the Respondent 
committed an unfair labor practice. However, insofar as the Judge
found that Proposals A, B, and C were negotiable and ordered
the Respondent to bargain on the negotiable proposals submitted
by the Charging Party, and the Respondent has excepted to those
determinations, we will address the negotiability of those
proposals. See, for example, U.S. Department of Transportation
and Federal Aviation Administration, 40 FLRA 690, 710-16 (1991),
petition for review granted in part and remanded mem, as to other
matters sub nom. Professional Airways Systems Specialists
Division, District No. 1 - MEBA/NMU v. FLRA, No. 91-1310 
(D.C. Cir. Jun. 22, 1992).

Footnote 3 The relevant text of Article 1 is found in the
Appendix to this decision. The Judge did not rule on the
negotiability of the Charging Party's proposals contained in
Articles 4 and 5. Neither party excepted to the Judge's failure
to rule on the negotiability of Articles 4 and 5. Therefore, we
will not address the negotiability of these proposals.

Footnote 4 Referred to at times as Procedures, Program or
Plan.

Footnote 5 While only a summarization is set forth by the 
undersigned, the complete Program is contained in G.C. Exh. No. 
2.

Footnote 6 These proposals by the Union are set forth in
G.C. Exhibit No. 3.

Footnote 7 This amendment by Respondent was made to meet the
Union's concern re the change whereby each of the 13 managers
decided whether to grant authority to the examining attorney in
his office.

Footnote 8 Note is taken that the Complaint refers to a
refusal to negotiate with the Union over its negotiable impact
and implementation proposals. However, the record supports an
allegation that Respondent refused to bargain over the impact
and implementation of the change itself. Record facts disclose
that this was in issue and was addressed by the parties.
Accordingly, since the issue was argued and litigated, I
conclude that the impact and implementation of the change
instituted by Respondent without completing negotiations
thereof is in issue. Cf. Internal Revenue Service. Louisville
District, Louisville, Kentucky, 42 FLRA 137, (footnote 2 at
143).

Footnote 9 Section 2424.1, et seq, of the Rules and
Regulations.

Footnote 10 This proposal would not, in any event,
excessively interfere with management's right to assign work
and thus be deemed an appropriate arrangement under section
7106(b)(3).

Footnote 11 This proposal also deals with termination and
not with the granting or denial of partial signatory
authority.

Footnote 12 335.104 states: No employee shall receive a
career ladder promotion unless his or her current rating of
record under Part 430 of this chapter is "Fully Successful"
(level 3) or higher. In addition, no employee may receive a 
career ladder promotion who has a rating below "Fully Successful"
on a critical element that is also critical to performance at
the next higher grade of the career ladder.

Footnote 13 Circumstances may exist wherein a union waives
the implementation of changes by management. The record herein
does not support the conclusion that the Union waived its right
to bargain as to the impact and implementation of the
Program.