Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland (Respondent) and American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 215 (Charging Party/Union)

[ v57 p152 ]

57 FLRA No. 38

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
(Respondent)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, COUNCIL 215
(Charging Party/Union)

WA-CA-00003

_____

DECISION AND ORDER

May 11, 2001

_____

Before the Authority: Dale Cabaniss, Chairman; Donald S. Wasserman and Carol Waller Pope, Members

I.     Statement of the Case

      On March 19, 2001, the Respondent and the Charging Party entered into a settlement stipulation ("the Stipulation"). On March 20, 2001, the Stipulation was approved by the Washington Regional Director of the Authority, on behalf of the General Counsel. [n1] The Stipulation provides for entry of a consent order by the Authority and a consent judgment by any appropriate United States Court of Appeals. In addition, the parties have waived all further and other proceedings before the Authority to which they may be entitled under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and the Regulations of the Authority, and the Respondent has consented to the entry of a decree by an appropriate Federal court enforcing the order of the Authority upon application by the Authority.

      The settlement stipulation in this case effectuates the Authority's policy of "foster[ing] amicable resolution of disputes by encouraging parties to reach agreement where possible." AFGE, Local 2145, 44 FLRA 1055, 1061 (1992). Moreover, there is no evidence in the record, or assertion by any party, that the agreement is inconsistent with any policy of the Authority. Accordingly, the Stipulation is hereby approved and made part of the record in this case.

      Based on the entire record in this case, including the Stipulation, the Authority finds that: (1) the Respondent is an agency, withing the meaning of section 7103(a)(3) of the Statute; (2) the Charging Party is a labor organization, within the meaning of section 7103(a)(4) of the Statute; and (3) the Charging Party is the exclusive representative of a unit of employees appropriate for bargaining under the Statute. Also based on the record, the Authority issues the following Order:

II.     Order

      Based on the above findings, the Stipulation, and the entire record in the proceedings, and pursuant to 7105(a)(2)(G) of the Statute, the Authority hereby orders that the Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland shall:

      1.     Cease and desist from:

           (a)     Conducting formal discussions with bargaining unit employees without affording the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 215 (Union), the exclusive representative of the employees, prior notice and an opportunity to be represented at the formal discussion, including formal discussions held by interactive video teleconference (IVT).

           (b)     Failing and refusing to bargain in good faith with the Union by bypassing the Union and dealing directly with bargaining unit employees concerning proposed changes in their conditions of employment, including the hearing process improvement (HPI) initiative.

           (c)     In any like or related manner, interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights assured them by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.

      2.     Take the following affirmative actions in order to effectuate the policies of the Statute:

           (a)     Hold a video teleconference (IVT) session about HPI on June 28, 2001, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern), including all bargaining unit employees in Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) field offices, and allow the Union an opportunity to be represented and to participate to the extent required by the Statute. Should the Respondent be unable to broadcast on June 28, 2001, due to circumstances beyond its control such as system failure or act of God, it will hold the IVT session no later than July 31, 2001. [ v57 p153 ]

           (b)     Post at all facilities where bargaining unit employees are located copies of the attached Notice on forms to be furnished by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. On receipt of such forms, they shall be signed by the Associate Commissioner for OHA 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 § 2423.41(e) of the Authority's Regulations, notify the Washington Regional Director, in writing, after 5 days and again after 60 days from the date of this Order, as to what steps have been taken to comply.


NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES
POSTED BY ORDER OF THE
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

The Federal Labor Relations Authority has found that the Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland violated the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and has ordered us to post and abide by this notice.

We hereby notify bargaining unit employees that:

WE WILL NOT conduct formal discussions with bargaining unit employees without affording the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 215 (Union), the exclusive representative of the employees, prior notice and an opportunity to be represented at the formal discussions, including meetings held by interactive video teleconference (IVT).

WE WILL NOT fail and refuse to bargain in good faith with the Union by bypassing the Union and dealing directly with bargaining unit employees concerning proposed changes in their conditions of employment, including the hearing process improvement (HPI) initiative.

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

WE WILL hold a video teleconference session about HPI on June 28, 2001, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern), including all bargaining unit employees in Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) field offices, and allow the Union an opportunity to be represented and to participate to the extent required by the Statute. Should we be unable to broadcast on June 28, 2001, due to circumstances beyond our control such as system failure or act of God, we will hold the video teleconference session no later than July 31, 2001.

      ________________________
(Activity)

Date: ___________ 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, Washington Region, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is: Tech World Plaza, 800 K Street, NW, Suite 910-N, Washington, DC 20001, and whose telephone number is: (202) 482- 6700.



Footnote # 1 for 57 FLRA No. 38

   Pursuant to section 2423.25(c) of the Authority's Regulations, the Regional Director has submitted the settlement to the Authority for approval. In pertinent part, section 2423.25(c) states that "[t]he Authority may approve a formal settlement agreement upon a sufficient showing that it will effectuate the policies of the Federal Service La