48:0991(109)CA - - VA, Washington, DC and NAGE, Local R1-109 - - 1993 FLRAdec CA - - v48 p991



[ v48 p991 ]
48:0991(109)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


48 FLRA No. 109

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

WASHINGTON, D.C.

(Respondent)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO

(Charging Party/Union)

BN-CA-20450

_____

DECISION AND ORDER

November 30, 1993

_____

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 7106(a)(1) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) by failing to provide the Union with copies of final decision letters sent to unit employees concerning their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints when the Union was the employees' designated representative for the EEO proceedings. The General Counsel filed an exception only to a portion of the Judge's recommended remedy. The Respondent did not file exceptions or an opposition to the General Counsel's exception.

In the absence of timely filed exceptions to the Judge's decision, we will, pursuant to section 2423.29(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, adopt the Judge's findings, conclusions, and recommended decision without precedential significance. With regard to the General Counsel's exception to the Judge's recommended Order, we agree that the Respondent's General Counsel, rather than the Director of the Medical Center in Newington, Connecticut, should sign the notice, and we will modify the Judge's Order accordingly.

As we recently reiterated, the Authority "has long held that the remedial purposes of a notice are best served by requiring the head of the activity responsible for the violation to sign the notice." Department of Health and Human Services, Regional Personnel Office, Seattle, Washington, 48 FLRA 410, 411 (1993). The issue before the Judge in this case was whether the Respondent, the Department of Veterans Affairs, violated the Statute when the Office of the General Counsel in Respondent's Central Office issued final decision letters to two employees at Respondent's Medical Center in Newington, Connecticut, without providing copies of those letters to the Union. The Judge found that the Respondent violated the Statute as alleged. Accordingly, as the Respondent's agents in its Office of the General Counsel were responsible for the violations, the purposes of the Statute will best be served by requiring the General Counsel, the head of that office, to sign the remedial notice. We note in this regard that the Newington Medical Center is not a respondent in this case.

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 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C. shall:

1. Cease and desist from:

        (a) Bypassing the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of its employees, when designated as the representative of its employees in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) matters, sending its decisions on EEO complaints only to employees, and failing to furnish the same to the Union when it was designated as the employees' representative.

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

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

        (a) Furnish or deliver all communications pertaining to EEO complaints to designated Union representatives at the same time as they are furnished or delivered to employee complainants.

        (b) Post at its Medical Center in Newington, Connecticut, where bargaining unit employees represented by the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO 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 General Counsel of the Office of the General Counsel, Central Office, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C., 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 ensure 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, Boston 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 bypass the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of our employees, when designated as the representative of our employees in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) matters, send our decisions on EEO complaints only to employees, and fail to furnish the same to the Union when it was designated as the employees' representative.

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

WE WILL furnish or deliver all communications pertaining to EEO complaints to designated Union representatives at the same time as they are furnished or delivered to employee complainants.

_______________________________

(Agency)

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, Boston Region, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is: 99 Summer Street, Suite 1500, Boston, MA 02110-1200, and whose telephone number is: (617) 424-5730.




FOOTNOTES:
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
 



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES

WASHINGTON, D.C.  20424-0001

 

 

 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, WASHINGTON, DC

 

               Respondent

 

     and

 

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,

LOCAL R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO

 

               Charging Party

 

Case No. BN-CA-20450

 

Robert S. Goshdigian, Esq.
with Barry M. Tapp, Esq. and

Gregory A. Burke, Esq. on the brief
        
For the Respondent

Linda I. Bauer, Esq.
        
For the General Counsel

Before:  SALVATORE J. ARRIGO
        
Administrative Law Judge

DECISION 

                                                                        Statement of the Case 

     This case arose under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, Chapter 71 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, 5 U.S.C. § 7101, et seq. (herein the Statute).

      Upon an unfair labor practice charge having been filed by the captioned Charging Party (herein the Union) against the captioned Respondent, the General Counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (herein the Authority), by the Regional Director for the Boston Region, issued a Complaint and Notice of Hearing alleging Respondent violated the Statute by issuing final decision letters to employees Tommie Johnson and Sandra Trudel concerning their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints without providing the Union with a copy of the letters when the Union had been designated as the employees' designated representative for the proceedings.

      A hearing on the Complaint was conducted in Hartford, Connecticut at which all parties were afforded full opportunity to adduce evidence, call, examine and cross-examine witnesses and argue orally.  Briefs were filed by Respondent and the General Counsel and have been carefully considered.

     Upon the entire record in this case, my observation of the witnesses and their demeanor and from my evaluation of the evidence, I make the following:

Findings of Fact

      At all times material the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) has been the exclusive collective bargaining representative of a consolidated unit of employees of Veterans Administration Centers and/or Hospitals or other facilities (herein Medical Centers), including Respondent's Medical Center in Newington, Connecticut.  At all times material there existed a collective bargaining agreement between NAGE and the Medical Center which provides that various local unions of NAGE are recognized as agents for NAGE in representing employees at local facilities.  NAGE Local  R1-109, the Union herein, is the recognized representative of approximately 300 employees of the Newington Medical Center.  The Medical Centers, including the Newington Center, are responsible to Respondent (herein sometimes the Central Office or VA) and subject to Respondent's policies.

      John Valenti has been the President of the Union for approximately nine years.  During this period Valenti has filed an average of 20 to 30 grievances a year on behalf of the Union, of which an average of 2 to 5 grievances ended in arbitration proceedings.  As Union President he has represented employees in EEO complaint proceedings an estimated 10 to 12 times at the formal and informal levels.[1]  In these EEO proceedings he has had dealings with Newington Medical Center and the Washington Central Office.[2]  Valenti has never acted as a personal representative of an employee in an EEO proceeding where he was not acting as a Union representative.  However, the record is silent as to whether Valenti received copies of documents from either the Medical Center or, more particularly, the Central Office while acting as a complainant's representative.

      On December 31, 1990 employee Tommie Johnson filed a formal EEO complaint against the Newington Medical Center.  The complaint was filed on a "Veterans Administration" form which provided a space to designate "Name of Representative".[3]  That space contained the notation, "Myself and Mr. John Velenti ()."[4]

      Valenti testified that while acting for Johnson on his EEO complaint he had "conversations", of an undisclosed nature, with Gregory Burke, a Staff Attorney with the Department of Veterans Affairs who deals with labor relations matters, and a conversation with Tony Jackson, an EEO employee in the VA Central Office "in regard to (his) representation of employees in the informal stage or proceeding of the EEO process."  Valenti also had a discussion with Diane Bloss, VA Deputy Assistant General Counsel, concerning a July 25, 1991 letter to Johnson from the Office of the General Counsel informing him that his complaint of discrimination was being accepted, in part, for investigation, and rejected in part.  The letter referred to an issue which was also pending grievance and Valenti, sometime in August, telephoned and advised Bloss that the Union was proceeding to arbitration on that matter so it need not be a part of the EEO complaint investigation.[5]  A statement provided by Respondent and received in evidence in lieu of testimony from a staff attorney in Respondent's Office of General Counsel relates the following concerning that conversation and subsequent events:

 5.  On or about July 19, 1991, I prepared a draft decision concerning Mr. Johnson's complaint of alleged discrimination for review by Ms. Bloss and Mr. Lawson and signature by Mr. Lawson.  I did not instruct my secretary to prepare a copy for

Mr. Valenti, whose address and phone number were not in Mr. Johnson's case file.  Mr. Lawson signed and dispatched the decision on July 25, 1991. 

Mr. Valenti did not receive a copy.

 

6.  On or about August 20, 1991, Deputy Assistant General Counsel Bloss instructed me to prepare an amended final decision in Mr. Johnson's case for Mr. Lawson's signature to reflect additional information conveyed by Mr. Valenti.  My under-standing was that Mr. Valenti, as Mr. Johnson's representative in a negotiated grievance procedure, told Ms. Bloss that Mr. Johnson did not wish to pursue an element of what we believed was part of his EEOC complaint in the EEOC forum.  Mr. Valenti told Ms. Bloss, as Mr. Johnson's representative, that our earlier final decision should, therefore, be amended.  I assumed that Mr. Valenti had authority to act and was acting on behalf of Mr. Johnson and could make representations regarding the disposition of Mr. Johnson's complaint.  I prepared an amended decision on September 11, 1991.  Mr. Lawson signed that decision on September 24, 1991.  I did not provide specific instructions to my secretary to send a copy of the amended final decision to Mr. Valenti.  Copies were not then sent to him.  

     As a result of the August 1991 conversation the Office of the General Counsel rescinded the July decision on September 24, 1991 and issued a final Agency decision rejecting Johnson's allegations and inclosing information concerning appeal rights and limitations.  Respondent did not send Valenti or the Union a copy of either the July or September Agency decisions.  

     The record also reveals that on January 7, 1991 an unfair labor practice charge was filed against VA Medical Center, Newington and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C., alleging a January 2, 1991 formal discussion with Johnson without affording the Union an opportunity to attend the meeting.[6]  The matter was litigated before an Administrative Law Judge on June 17, 1991 and on July 8, 1992 the Judge issued his decision finding a violation of the Statute as alleged.  The decision was not appealed to the Authority.  

     The record further reveals that on June 20, 1991 another unfair labor practice charge was filed against Newington Medical Center and VA Washington, D.C.[7]  This charge alleged bypassing the Union since December 31, 1990 in dealing directly with Johnson concerning his EEO complaint although he "had designated a representative to act on his behalf", and "other acts".  A Settlement Agreement was signed by the Union and R.A. Perreault, the Medical Center Director, on June 23, 1992 and the Center agreed to post a Notice which stated, inter alia:  

WE WILL NOT fail to recognize John Valenti, the president of the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO (the Union), when he is designated by a bargaining unit employee as the employee's representative in any grievance or statutory appeals procedure.  

WE WILL NOT bypass the Union and deal directly with a bargaining unit employee concerning a grievance or an arbitration award if the employee has chosen the Union to represent him/her on the grievance.  

WE WILL honor bargaining unit employee Tommie Johnson's designation of John Valenti as his representative in any grievance or statutory appeals proceding.

      Sandra Trudel is also an employee of the Newington Medical Center who filed an EEO complaint.  She selected Union President Valenti as her representative during the informal stage of her complaint proceeding.  An EEO Counselor's report of his inquiry into the matter dated November 19, 1991 reveals that during a November 18, 1991 meeting between the Counselor and Trudel, Valenti was present and the Counselor's report specifically referred to Valenti as "NAGE President".  Trudel's formal complaint, filed November 22, 1991, contains, under "Name of Representative", the name of John V. Valenti and a Medical Center telephone number and extension.  The extension is the number for the Union office.  By letter dated November 26, 1991 Medical Center Director Perreault, who was also the Center's EEO Officer, sent a letter to Trudel acknowledging receipt of her formal complaint.  That letter reflects that a copy had been sent to "John V. Valenti, President NAGE Local R1-109". 

      On December 23, 1991, Medical Center Director Perreault notified Trudel by letter that he was of the opinion that her complaint may not be acceptable for processing and he was forwarding her complaint to the Office of the General Counsel, VA Central Office "for a formal Agency decision on accepta-bility".  That letter shows a copy was sent to "NAGE John V. Valenti, Representative."  A copy of the EEO Counselor's report of November 19, 1991 and a copy of Perreault's letter of November 26 acknowledging receipt of Trudel's formal complaint, above, were also sent to the Office of the General Counsel as part of Trudel's file.  By letter dated January 17, 1992 Trudel was notified by Neal C. Lawson, Assistant General Counsel in Respondent's Office of the General Counsel, of its final decision that Trudel's complaint was being dismissed.[8]  Also enclosed was information concerning appeal rights and limitations.  Neither Valenti nor the Union were provided a copy of the final decision by Respondent.  

 Additional Findings, Discussion and Conclusions

   The General Counsel contends Respondent violated the Statute when it bypassed the Union by issuing final decision letters to Johnson and Trudel without sending copies of these letters to the Union.  Respondent contends it did not violate the Statute by not sending the Union copies of the final decisions, arguing:  the Union has no right to receive a copy of the Agency's disposition of a bargaining unit employee's EEO complaint; EEOC regulations require only that the employee directly receive a copy of a final decision; and failure to furnish Valenti with copies of the decisions was due essentially to Valenti's failure to clearly convey his status as representing the Union in the Johnson and Trudel complaints.  

     Respondent also argued at the hearing that the Complaint herein should be dismissed since, although the Union and the VA Medical Centers have a collective bargaining relationship, no such relationship exists between the Union and the Respond-ent, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C.  It is obvious that the Medical Centers are subordinate to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C., the Central Office.  The facts herein establish that the Newington Medical Center and the Central Office have co-responsibilities with regard to processing EEO complaints within the Agency.  It is because of this interrelationship that the Central Office was responsible for issuing final decisions to employees in an organization with which it had no direct collective bargaining relationship.  In Headquarters, Defense Logistics Agency Washington, D.C., et al., 22 FLRA 875, 883-885 (1986) (Defense Logistics), the Authority held:   

. . . organizational entities of the same agency not in the same "chain of command" as the entity at the level of exclusive recognition may commit violations of section 7116(a)(1) of the Statute if they are found to have unlawfully interfered with the protected rights of employees other than their own by taking action which conflicts with the bargaining relationship between the parties at the level of exclusive recognition.  While this is a case of first impression under the Statute, such findings are supported by private sector precedent.  Thus, the National Labor Relations Board has decided with court approval that an employer as defined in the National Labor Relations Act may be found to have violated certain unfair labor practice sections of the NLRA with respect to employees other than its own.  (Citations omitted.)  There is nothing in the Statute or its legislative history which would preclude a similar finding when a component of an agency has interfered with the protected rights of employees employed by an entity within a different primary national subdivision of the same agency.

 

     Section 7116(a)(1) of the Statute makes it an unfair labor practice "for an agency . . . to interfere with, restrain, or coerce any employee in the exercise by the employee of any right under this chapter[.]" (Emphasis added.)  The term "agency" is defined in section 7103(a)(3) of the Statute as "an Executive agency" (with various inclusions and exclusions not here relevant) and, as relevant here, the term "employee" is defined in section 7103(a)(2) of the Statute as "an individual . . . employed in an agency[.]"  A literal reading of these provisions supplies clear support for the conclusion that "an agency" which interferes with, restrains or coerces "any employee" in the exercise of that employee's protected rights commits a violation of section 7116(a)(1) of the Statute, even if the agency's actions are not directed at an employee for which it is the employer at the level of exclusive recognition, as in this case.

 

     Underlying our holding here is the policy consideration that in our judgment an agency should not be able to escape liability for conduct which has unlawfully interfered with, restrained or coerced employees in the exercise of their rights simply because it is not in the chain of command with the "employer" at the level of exclusive recognition.

                                                                       * * * 

. . . our finding here is that when a component of an agency engages in conduct which unlawfully interferes with the protected rights of employees of another component, a violation of section 7116(a)(1) of the Statute will be found to have occurred.  

 

                                                            * * *  

 

     It should also be noted that the reasons leading to the finding of a violation of section 7116(a)(1) by Cameron Station and DOA would not apply to a section 7116(a)(5) allegation.  Thus, while a party outside of the chain of command could . . . interfere with employees' rights by disrupting an agreement between the employees' exclusive representative and the agency component at the level of exclusive recognition, that outside party cannot be found to have failed or refused to negotiate in good faith because, in the absence of a collective bargaining relationship, no duty to bargain exists and thus there can be no violation of section 7116(a)(5) of the Statute.  This is consistent with our findings above concerning all the named Respondents not party to the collective bargaining relationship with the Union.     

     For the reasons expressed in Defense Logistics, I reject Respondent's arguments that this case should be dismissed because an entity other than the employees at the level of exclusive recognition is the one charged with having committed the alleged unfair labor practice. 

     The essential issue in this case, as I see it, is whether the Union represented the EEO complainants and whether the Respondent had any obligation to notify the Union of its final decision.  EEOC regulations provide that a complainant has the right to a representative of choice.  Union President Valenti had been Union President for over eight years at the time he was selected by complainants Johnson and Trudel to be their representative and it follows that Valenti was picked by the complainants to represent them because he was President of the Union and, in these circumstances, complainants designated Valenti in his capacity as Union President to represent them.  Although, in my view, Valenti's designation on the complaints as representative would not, standing alone, put Respondent on notice that he was representing the complainants in his Union representational capacity,[9]26 FLRA 222 (1987). the circumstances surrounding Valenti's activities representing Johnson and Trudel do support such a finding.  

     With regard to employee Johnson, the complaint itself gave no indication that Valenti was being designated as Johnson's representative in his Union capacity.  While the Medical Center is not charged with any unfair labor practice conduct herein, I suspect that at the Medical Center level management understood that picking "Valenti" to represent you meant selecting Union President Valenti as your represent-ative, as was evident in the Trudel case.  In any event, Valenti had "conversations" with Central Office personnel concerning the Johnson complaint.  While I find the testimony concerning Valenti's conversations with Central Office employees Burke and Jackson to be inconclusive regarding establishing knowledge on the part of the Central Office of Valenti's representing the Union in Johnson's case, I find Valenti's conversation with Deputy Assistant General Counsel Bloss establishes beyond question that, through Bloss' contact with Valenti, Respondent knew, or should have known, that Valenti was acting as Union President when representing Johnson in his dealings with Respondent.  Thus, the record reveals from Valenti's testimony and the statement of the staff lawyer provided by Respondent, above, that around August 20, 1991 Valenti talked to Deputy Assistant General Counsel Bloss, the result of which was to delete certain matters from Johnson's EEO complaint because it was part of a grievance-arbitration proceeding and the Agency's earlier final decision was amended.  The staff lawyer's statement contains the sentence, "I assumed that Mr. Valenti had authority to act and was acting on behalf of Mr. Johnson and could make representations regarding the disposition of Mr. Johnson's complaint".  In these circumstances I am persuaded that Valenti would have had to identify himself as the Union President to Bloss before the Agency would have amended the EEO complaint since only the Union and the Agency have control over arbitration issues.  Thus, Bloss must have known Valenti's authority over the matter to be arbitrated came by virtue of his being a Union representative and from that fact she was put on notice that Valenti, as a Union officer, might also be representing Johnson in his EEO complaint as a Union officer.  In these circumstances Respondent's representative was obligated to, at a minimum, make further inquiry as to the Union's role regarding the EEO complaint or, as was probably fairly obvious at that point, conclude Valenti, as Union President, was representing Johnson in both his grievance and EEO matter.  

     In the case of unit employee Trudel's EEO complaint, I find Valenti's representation of Trudel, as Union President, is even more obvious.  Thus, a Counselor's report of a meeting and correspondence sent to Trudel from the Medical Center all indicate that the facility was aware of Valenti's Union office by noting Valenti as "NAGE President", "President NAGE

R1-109" and "NAGE . . . Representative" and sending copies of these documents to Valenti.  Further, when Trudel's case was transferred to the Office of the General Counsel for disposition, copies of these documents, which unmistakably indicated Valenti was representing Trudel in his Union representational capacity, were forwarded with her file.  I find such consistent notations were sufficient to put Respondent's agents on notice that the Union, in the person of President John Valenti, was representing Trudel in her EEO complaint before the Agency.  

     While regulations relating to EEO complaints require the affected employee receive a copy of an agency's final decision on a complaint, Respondent has not referred to anything in those regulations which would prevent the employee's Union representative from being required to receive a copy of the final decision by operation of the Statute.  That right to receive a copy of such correspondence flows from the Union's right to represent unit employees in such cases.  The Authority held in U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of the Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service National Office, 41 FLRA 409, 413 (1991):  

. . . unit employees have a statutory right to represent other unit employees on behalf of the union with respect to matters affecting conditions of employment, including EEO matters.  An agency's interference with that statutory right is an unfair labor practice under section 7116(a)(1) of the Statute.  

     In Department of Health and Human Services, Social Secur-ity Administration, Baltimore, Maryland, et al., 39 FLRA 298, 311-312 (1991) the employer sent a unit employee a letter indicating a grievance he filed under the negotiated procedure should have been filed under the agency grievance procedure and solicited certain information from him.  In concluding that the employee violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute, the Authority stated
at 311: 

Agencies unlawfully bypass an exclusive representa-tive when they communicate directly with bargaining unit employees concerning grievances, disciplinary actions and other matters relating to the collective bargaining relationship.  See, for example, Depart-ment of the Air Force, Sacramento Air Logistics Center, McClellan Air Force Base, California, 35 FLRA 345 (1990) (McClellan Air Force Base).  Such conduct constitutes direct dealing with an employee and is violative of section 7116(a)(1) of the Statute because it demeans the union and inherently interferes with the rights of employees to designate and rely on the union for representation.  See, e.g., id.; 438th Air Base Group (MAC) McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, 28 FLRA 1112 (1987) (McGuire Air Force Base); Social Security Administration, 16 FLRA 434 (1984). 

     An EEO complaint meets the definition of the term "grievance" within the broad definition set forth in section 7103(a)(9) of the Statute.  Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 29 FLRA 110 (1987).  Further, the Union was properly designated by Johnson and Trudel to be their representative.  Accordingly, I reject Respondent's defenses and, in view of the foregoing and the entire record herein, I conclude that by its failure to provide the Union with copies of the final decision letters sent to unit employees Johnson and Trudel, Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1).  See Defense Logistics.  I therefore recommend the Authority issue the following: 

ORDER 

     Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Rules and Regulations of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and section 7118 of the Statute, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, shall: 

     1.  Cease and desist from:  

          (a)  Bypassing the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO, the exclusive bargaining representative of its employees, when designated as the representative of its employees in EEO matters, and sending its decisions on EEO complaints only to employees and failing to furnish the same to the Union.  

          (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)  Furnish or deliver all communications pertaining to EEO complaints to designated Union representatives at the same time as they are furnished or delivered to employee complainants.  

          (b)  Post at its Medical Center in Newington, Connecticut, where bargaining unit employees represented by the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO 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 Medical Center Director 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 ensure 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 Boston Region, 99 Summer Street, Suite 1500, Boston, MA  02110, in writing, within 30 days from the date of this Order, as to what steps have been taken to comply herewith. 

Issued, Washington, DC, September 15, 1993

                                                                                      ______________________________
  
                                                                                          SALVATORE J. ARRIGO
  
                                                                                             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 NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT:  

WE WILL NOT bypass the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109, SEIU, AFL-CIO, the exclusive bargaining representative of our employees, when designated as the representative of our employees in EEO matters, and send our decisions on EEO complaints only to the employees and fail to furnish the same to the Union.  

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

WE WILL furnish or deliver all communications pertaining to EEO complaints to designated Union representatives at the same time as they are furnished or delivered to employee complainants.  

                                                                                              ______________________________
  
                                                                                                                     (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 its provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional Director, Boston Region, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is:  99 Summer Street, Suite 1500, Boston, MA  02110 and whose telephone number is:  (617) 424-5730.  


________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

 

                                                                            ALJ's FOOTNOTES

[1]Under regulations promulgated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), when an employee files a complaint against an agency, the complainant has "the right to be accompanied, represented, and advised by a representative of the employee's choice."  29 C.F.R. § 1613.214(b).  The complainant may choose, among others, an individual employee or the Union to be the representative.

[2]Only 2 of the 10 to 12 EEO proceedings Valenti was involved in went to the Central Office.  Such proceedings occurred "some time ago."

[3]The Department of Veterans Affairs was previously named the Veterans Administration.

[4]While it is obvious that Valenti's name was misspelled, the record contains no evidence bearing on the significance of the significance of the "()" symbol since Johnson was not called to testify.  Indeed, Valenti was the only witness to testify at the hearing.   

[5]Valenti testified that when telephoning he stated his name and that he was President of NAGE Local R1-109, which was his normal practice in such situations.

[6]The Charge was signed by Valenti and in box number "4." captioned "Labor organization or individual contact information" was John Valenti's name.  "Title" was left blank and after "Phone" was the telephone number of the Union office, although not so designated.  However, the caption of the case carried the name of the Union herein as the Charging Party.

[7]Box number "4." was filled out the same by Valenti as the January 7, 1991 unfair labor practice charge, above.