American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2280, Iron Mountain, Michigan (Union) and United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Iron Mountain, Michigan (Agency)

[ v57 p742 ]

57 FLRA No. 158

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2280
IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN
(Union)

and

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS
AFFAIRS, MEDICAL CENTER
IRON MOUNTAIN, MICHIGAN
(Agency)

0-NG-2596

_____

DECISION AND ORDER ON A
NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE

April 18, 2002

_____

Before the Authority: Dale Cabaniss, Chairman, and
Carol Waller Pope and Tony Armendariz, Members

I.     Statement of the Case

      This case is before the Authority on a negotiability appeal filed by the Union under § 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), and concerns the negotiability of one proposal. For the reasons that follow, we find that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain. Therefore, we dismiss the Union's petition for review. [n1] 

II.     Background

      The Agency consolidated its switchboard operations at its Madison, Wisconsin facility. As a result of the consolidation, all telephone attendants, except those assigned to the Madison facility, were eliminated. The Union, which represents employees at the Iron Mountain, Michigan facility - one of the facilities serviced by the centralized system - submitted a proposal to limit access to Iron Mountain employees' home phone numbers to Iron Mountain staff only. This appeal involves the negotiability of that proposal.

III.     The Proposal

Establish appropriate limit to the number of people who would have access to home phone numbers.

IV.     Meaning of the Proposal

      The parties agree that the proposal would require the Agency to limit access to Iron Mountain employees' home phone numbers to Iron Mountain staff only and prohibit the Agency from providing those home phone numbers to telephone attendants in Madison.

V.     Positions of the Parties

A.     Agency

      The Agency contends that the Union's proposal is contrary to management's right to assign work under § 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute. [n2] In this regard, the Agency asserts that the proposal would prevent the Agency from assigning certain telephone attendant duties to employees located in Madison and, instead, require the Agency to assign those duties to Iron Mountain employees.

      The Agency argues that the Union's proposal is not an appropriate arrangement under § 7106(b)(3) of the Statute. In this regard, the Agency asserts that the Union has not demonstrated any adverse effect flowing from the Agency's exercise of its management rights. Moreover, the Agency claims that it has already adequately addressed the Union's concerns for the privacy and security of the employees' home phone numbers by implementing certain policies and procedures to safeguard the employees' home phone numbers. Finally, the Agency asserts that the Union's proposal is not a negotiable procedure under § 7106(b)(2) of the Statute.

B.     Union

      The Union contends that the proposal is an appropriate arrangement under § 7106(b)(3) of the Statute. In this regard, the Union claims that if management allows the telephone attendants located in Madison to have access to the home phone numbers of the Iron Mountain [ v57 p743 ] employees, then those employees may be subject to harassment, intimidation, unauthorized release of home phone numbers, and unauthorized call back. The Union claims that the proposal is designed to ameliorate these adverse effects by limiting access to employees' home phone numbers to Iron Mountain staff only. The Union also asserts that the proposal is a negotiable procedure under § 7106(b)(2) of the Statute.

VI.     Analysis and Conclusions

      The right to assign work under § 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute encompasses the right to determine the particular duties to be assigned, when work assignments will occur, and to whom or what positions the duties will be assigned. See AFGE, Local 1985, 55 FLRA 1145, 1148 (1999). Here, the Union's proposal would prevent the Agency from assigning certain telephone attendant duties to the telephone attendants located in Madison and, instead, require the Agency to assign those duties to personnel located in Iron Mountain. As such, the Union's proposal affects management's right to assign work.

      In determining whether a proposal is an appropriate arrangement, the Authority follows the analysis set forth in NAGE, Local R14-87, 21 FLRA 24 (1986) (KANG). Under this analysis, the Authority first determines whether the proposal is intended to be an arrangement for employees adversely affected by the exercise of a management right. See id. at 31; see also United States Dep't of the Treasury, Office of the Chief Counsel, IRS v. FLRA, 960 F.2d 1068, 1073 (D.C. Cir. 1992). To establish that a proposal is an arrangement, a union must identify the effects or reasonably foreseeable effects on employees that flow from the exercise of management's rights and how those effects are adverse. See KANG, 21 FLRA at 31. The claimed arrangement must also be sufficiently tailored to compensate employees suffering adverse effects attributable to the exercise of management's rights. See, e.g., NAGE, Local R1-100, 39 FLRA 762, 766 (1991). If the proposal is determined to be an arrangement, then the Authority determines whether it is appropriate, or whether it is inappropriate because it excessively interferes with the relevant management right(s). See KANG, 21 FLRA at 31-33. In doing so, the Authority weighs the benefits afforded to employees under the arrangement against the intrusion on the exercise of management's rights. See id.

      The Union claims that the proposal in this case is an appropriate arrangement intended to ameliorate adverse effects such as harassment, intimidation, unauthorized release of home phone numbers, or unauthorized call back as a result of Iron Mountain employees' home phone numbers being maintained by telephone attendants located in Madison. However, the Union does not offer any evidence to demonstrate that these adverse effects are reasonably foreseeable. Moreover, the Agency claims that it has addressed the Union's concerns by adopting certain policies and procedures to safeguard the employee home phone numbers. In its Response, the Union does not address the Agency's safeguards and, consequently, does not argue that the measures are ineffective to eliminate its concerns. As the adverse effects asserted by the Union are speculative, particularly in light of the undisputed safeguard measures already taken by the Agency, we conclude that the Union has failed to demonstrate that the proposal ameliorates any adverse effects flowing from the exercise of a management right. As such, we find that the Union's proposal does not constitute an arrangement under § 7106(b)(3) of the Statute. See AFGE, Local 3529, 56 FLRA 1049, 1051-52 (2001) (dismissing petition for review where union's asserted benefits to bargaining unit members were speculative). [n3] 

VII.     Order

      The petition for review is dismissed.



Footnote # 1 for 57 FLRA No. 158

   In its petition for review, the Union requests a hearing under § 2424.31(c) of the Authority's Regulations to resolve a factual dispute between the parties concerning whether the proposal affects employees located at the Iron Mountain facility only or whether it affects employees at other facilities as well. However, the Union has not demonstrated that the resolution of this disputed issue is necessary to resolve the Union's negotiability appeal. Moreover, this factual issue has no bearing on our conclusion that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain. Accordingly, we deny the Union's request for a hearing.


Footnote # 2</