50:0544(75)AR - - HHS, SSA, Baltimore, MD and AFGE, National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals, Council 220 - - 1995 FLRAdec AR - - v50 p544
[ v50 p544 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
50 FLRA No. 75
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SSA FIELD OPERATIONS LOCALS
June 23, 1995
Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Pamela Talkin, Members.
I. Statement of the Case
This case is before the Authority on an exception to an award of Arbitrator Ira F. Jaffe filed by the Agency under section 7122 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority's Regulations. The Union filed an opposition to the Agency's exception.
The Arbitrator sustained a grievance involving the design and installation of ergonomic furniture in the Agency's field offices.
For the following reasons, we conclude that the Agency has failed to establish that the award is deficient under section 7122(a) of the Statute. Accordingly, we deny the exception.
II. Arbitrator's Award
The Arbitrator issued a "stipulated" award resulting from his mediation of a dispute between the parties over the design and implementation of ergonomic work stations at the Agency's field offices. Award at 1. This award directed, among other things, the creation of a Joint Committee on Implementation and Design (JCID), comprised of three Agency representatives, three Union representatives, and one or two professional ergonomists, to monitor and review the installation of the work stations.
Disagreements over implementation of this initial award led the parties to return to the Arbitrator for further clarification. Consequently, a second stipulated award was issued. According to this award, the parties agreed that a function of the JCID was "to conduct site visits . . . to ensure that the design and installation of the ergonomic systems furniture [was] proceeding as agreed." Id. at 4. The Arbitrator stated that the site visits were appropriate "to review prototypes built by potential vendors of systems furniture; the purpose of these visits [was] to provide the Union with current information about these vendors['] proposals and to allow the Union the opportunity to provide input and advice which [could] be considered by the Agency in making the procurement decisions." Id. at 5.
A. Agency's Contentions
The Agency contends that the award violates 41 U.S.C. § 423(b)(3), which governs the conduct of a Federal procurement.(1) Specifically, the Agency maintains that the furniture prototypes referred to in the award constitute "proprietary" or "source selection" information, within the meaning of 41 U.S.C. § 423(p)(6) and (7) respectively.(2) The Agency further claims that because such procurement information can only be disclosed to persons "authorized" by agencies to receive it, the joint site visits are precluded by law.
B. Union's Opposition
The Union contends that 41 U.S.C. § 423(b)(3) does not explicitly restrict its access to procurement information. The Union argues, in this regard, that the Agency has failed to establish that it is unable to authorize the disclosure of such information to the Union.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
Apart from its conclusory assertions, the Agency offers no explanation for its contention that the award conflicts with 41 U.S.C. § 423(b)(3). However, based on our reading of the record as a whole, we construe the exception as contending that the award conflic