49:1070(101)NG - - NFFE, Local 251, Forest Service Council and Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 10 - - 1994 FLRAdec NG - - v49 p1070



[ v49 p1070 ]
49:1070(101)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


49 FLRA No. 101

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 251

FOREST SERVICE COUNCIL

(Union)

and

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

FOREST SERVICE

REGION 10

(Agency)

0-NG-2190

_____

DECISION AND ORDER ON A NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE

May 23, 1994

_____

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This case is before the Authority on a negotiability appeal filed by the Union under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and concerns the negotiability of one proposal concerning physical fitness activities. For the following reasons, we conclude that the proposal, which requires the Agency to grant up to one-half hour of official time(1) per day for fitness activities, is nonnegotiable. Accordingly, we will dismiss the petition for review.

II. Background and Proposal

The Agency decided to discontinue its practice of permitting up to one-half hour of official time per day for employees to engage in physical fitness activities. The Agency changed its policy after the Office of Personnel Management issued Federal Personnel Manual Letter (FPM Letter) 792-23,(2) in which it recommended that agencies encourage employees to use non-duty time to engage in regular fitness activities. In response to the Agency's decision, the Union proposed that:

[Region 10] continue to allow employees to use official time to participate in Wellness activities.

III. Positions of the Parties

A. Agency

The Agency argues that the proposal directly interferes with management's right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute based on the Authority's decision in National Association of Government Employees, Local R12-105 and U.S. Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, The Adjutant General, California National Guard, 37 FLRA 462 (1990). The Agency also argues that the proposal is not an appropriate arrangement under section 7106(b)(3) of the Statute, because, according to the Agency, the benefit provided to employees by the proposal is significantly outweighed by the burden on management's right to assign work.

B. Union

The Union argues that the proposal does not interfere with management's right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute because the proposal requires the Agency to grant official time "only when the employee could normally be released from work." Response at 1. The Union also argues that the Agency is obligated to negotiate over the proposal based on its agreement, in the parties' Master Agreement, to negotiate over the establishment of health programs and policies which "have included the use of official time . . . to participate in . . . fitness activities." Id.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

Proposals requiring agencies to grant duty time for employees to participate in physical fitness activities directly interfere with management's right to assign work. See, for example,