51:0143(15)NG - - Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 1-F and VA, Providence Medical Center - - 1995 FLRAdec NG - - v51 p143



[ v51 p143 ]
51:0143(15)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


51 FLRA No. 15

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE

LODGE 1-F

(Union)

and

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

PROVIDENCE MEDICAL CENTER

(Agency)

0-NG-2209

_____

DECISION AND ORDER ON A NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE

September 15, 1995

_____

Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; and Tony Armendariz, Member.

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 providing that the Agency will maintain the current practice of assigning police officers in the bargaining unit to fixed schedules.

The Agency did not submit a statement of position in response to the Union's petition for review. The Union did not submit a brief in support of its petition.(1)

For the reasons set forth below, we find that the proposal is nonnegotiable.

II. Proposal

The Agency shall maintain the current practice of assigning police officers included in the bargaining unit to fixed schedules.

III. Contentions

The Agency alleges that the proposal is nonnegotiable because it directly interferes with management's right to determine its internal security practices under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute. In its supplemental submission, the Agency states that the Veterans Administration (VA) central office has prescribed rotating shifts to assure that each police officer is "provided the opportunity to work under all circumstances (day/night shift; low/high medical center traffic; fewer/greater inpatients or outpatients; presence/absence of public) that might occur at any medical center." Agency's Supplemental Submission, Enclosure 2, at 6. The Agency states that rotating duty shifts will ensure that each VA police officer will have the same range of experience at the medical center and be equally equipped to handle any security situation that may arise.

The Agency also contends that: (1) it is not obligated to bargain over the proposal because the exercise of the Agency's authority to change shifts is covered by the parties' collective bargaining agreement; and (2) the proposal is not subject to negotiation as an appropriate arrangement under section 7106(b)(3) of the Statute.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

An agency's right to determine its internal security practices under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute includes the right to determine the policies and practices which are part of its plan to secure or safeguard its personnel, physical property, and operations against internal and external risks. For example, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2143 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, 48 FLRA 41, 44 (1993) (Member Talkin, concurring) (Medical Center, Boston). As the Authority stated in Medical Center, Boston, "[w]here an agency shows a link or reasonable connection between its goal of safeguarding personnel or property and protecting its operations, and its practice or decision designed to implement that goal, a proposal which directly interferes with or negates the agency's practice or decision conflicts with the agency's right to determine internal security practices." Id. "To establish the necessary link, an agency must show a reasonable connection between its goal of safeguarding personnel or property and its practice designed to implement that goal. . . . Once [such] a link has been established, the Authority will not review the merits of the agency's plan in the course of resolving a negotiability dispute." Id.

In Medical Center, Boston, the Authority found, based on the agency's claims that a policy of rotating shifts for police officers would ensure "'that each officer is provided with an opportunity to work under all circumstances'" and would "allow . . . officers to develop 'the same range of experience . . . and[,] [therefore,] be equally well[-]equipped to handle any situation[,]'" that the agency had established the necessary link between its rotational shift policy and its internal security needs. Id. at 44-45. The Authority did not inquire into the merits or the effectiveness of the agency's plan. The Authority determined that the union's proposal would require the agency in some circumstances to act in a manner that was inconsistent with the rotation policy, and concluded, therefore, that the proposal conflicted with the agency's right to determine its internal security practices.

In its supplemental submission, the Agency contends that its decision to establish rotating shifts for police officers in this case is based on the same reasons that the agency advanced for adopting an identical policy in Medical Center, Boston. There is nothing in the record to dispute the Agency's claim. Accordingly, we find, as the Authority did in Medical Center, Boston, that the Agency has established that its decision to rotate shifts for police officers is linked to its goal of protecting its property, personnel, or operations. Moreover, because the proposal would require the Agency to retain a policy of fixed shifts for police officers, it would thereby negate the Agency's decision. As such, the proposal runs afoul of the statutory prohibition against the negotiation of proposals "affect[ing] the authority of any management official of an agency . . . to determine the . . . internal security practices of the agency[.]" 5 U.S.C. § 7106(a)(1). See