49:0033(7)CA - - EPA, Enviromental Research Laboratory, Narragansett, RI and NAGE, Local R1-240 - - 1994 FLRAdec CA - - v49 p33

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[ v49 p33 ]
49:0033(7)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


49 FLRA No. 7

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LABORATORY

NARRAGANSETT, RHODE ISLAND

(Respondent)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL R1-240

(Charging Party)

BN-CA-21045

BN-CA-21415

_____

DECISION AND ORDER

February 4, 1994

_____

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

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

The consolidated complaint alleges that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) by counselling, admonishing and disciplining employees who engaged in lawful activity on behalf of an exclusive representative and by soliciting or encouraging employees to decertify the Charging Party as the exclusive representative of certain employees. The Respondent did not file an answer to the complaint.

The General Counsel filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based on Respondent's failure to answer the complaint. The Motion was referred to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, who issued an Order granting all parties an opportunity to file briefs regarding the Motion. When the Respondent failed to respond to the Order, the Judge granted the General Counsel's Motion.

Pursuant to section 2423.29 of our Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Statute, we have reviewed the rulings of the Judge and find that no prejudicial error was committed. We affirm those rulings. Upon consideration of the Judge's decision and the entire record, we adopt the Judge's findings, conclusions, and recommended Order.

II. Background

On January 12, 1993, the Regional Director of the Boston Regional Office of the Federal Labor Relations Authority issued a consolidated complaint and Notice of Hearing to the Respondent. The Respondent failed to file an answer to the complaint during the time period set forth in section 2423.13 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and did not respond to the complaint thereafter.

Subsequently, on July 13, 1993, Counsel for the General Counsel moved for summary judgment based on the Respondent's failure to file an answer to the consolidated complaint. The Regional Director referred the motion to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, in accordance with section 2423.22(b) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. Thereafter, the Chief Judge issued an Order granting all parties an opportunity until July 30, 1993, to file briefs regarding the motion. In response to the Order, Counsel for the General Counsel filed a timely brief with the Chief Judge. Respondent did not file any response with the Chief Judge, but, instead, on July 29, 1993, mailed its response to the Boston Regional Director. The Boston Regional Office did not forward the response to the Chief Judge.

The Judge found that, as he had received no reply from the Respondent to the Chief Judge's Order, the Respondent had not shown good cause for its failure to answer the complaint. The Judge concluded that the undenied allegations of the consolidated complaint constituted admissions of fact which established violations of the Statute. Consequently, the Judge found that the Respondent had committed the alleged unfair labor practices. Accordingly, the Judge granted the General Counsel's Motion for Summary Judgment and recommended that the Respondent be ordered to take appropriate remedial action.

III. Positions of the Parties

The Respondent claims that it complied with the Chief Judge's Order by filing its "answer to the complaint" with the Boston Regional Office. Exceptions at 2. The Respondent further argues that the Boston Regional Office should have forwarded its submission to the Office of the Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C.

The General Counsel states that the Respondent was required to file its response to the Chief Administrative Law Judge's Order with the Chief Administrative Law Judge. The General Counsel maintains that the Boston Regional Office was under no obligation to forward, and was not aware that it was expected to forward, Respondent's response to the Chief Judge. The General Counsel also argues that, even if Respondent's submission were considered an "answer to the complaint" rather than a response to the Motion, a copy of the answer should have been served on the Chief Administrative Law Judge, as required by section 2423.13(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

Section 2429.24(d) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations states that "[a] document submitted to an Administrative Law Judge pursuant to this subchapter shall be filed with the appropriate Administrative Law Judge, as set forth in the Appendix." Appendix A(d) provides the complete address and telephone number of the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge.

In this case, the Chief Judge's Order plainly stated that the Chief Judge had jurisdiction over the Motion for Summary Judgment and clearly indicated the address of the Chief Judge. Consequently, we reject the Respondent's claim that the proper place of filing its response to the Chief Judge's Order was the Boston Regional Office.(*) Parties filing actions with the Authority are responsible for being knowledgeable of the statutory and regulatory filing requirements. See U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Waco, Texas and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1822, 43 FLRA 1149, 1150 (1992). As the Respondent's response to the Chief Judge's Order was not properly or timely filed, and as the Respondent has failed to answer the consolidated complaint, we find no basis on which to disturb the Administrative Law Judge's decision granting the General Counsel's Motion for Summary Judgment.

V. Order

Pursuant to section 2423.29 of our Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Research Laboratory, Narragansett, Rhode Island, shall:

1. Cease and desist from:

(a) Counselling, admonishing or disciplining employees for engaging in lawful activity on behalf of the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-240.

(b) Soliciting or encouraging employees to decertify the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-240, as the exclusive representative of the professional and nonprofessional employees.

(c) 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 Statute:

(a) Remove from the March 5, 1992, memorandum of Norman Rubinstein and from any other records, any references to the activity of Mary Johnson in representing the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-240, at meetings of the Space Committee.

(b) Post at its facilities in Narragansett, Rhode Island, copies of the attached Notice on forms to be furnished by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Upon receipt of such forms, they shall be signed by the Director of the Environmental Research Laboratory, 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 counsel, admonish or discipline employees for engaging in lawful activity on behalf of the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-240.

WE WILL NOT solicit or encourage employees to decertify the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-240, as the exclusive representative of the professional and nonprofessional employees.

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

WE WILL remove from the March 5, 1992, memorandum of Norman Rubinstein and from any other records, any reference to the activity of Mary Johnson in representing the National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-240, at meetings of the Space Committee.

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




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

*/ The Boston Regional Office was under no obligation to forward the Respondent's response to the Chief Administrative Law Judge. Moreover, even if it had done so, the response, which the Regional Office received two days after the July 30, 1993, filing deadline, would not have been timely because submissions which are filed in the