File 2: Opinion of Chairman Cabaniss

[ v62 p327 ]

Dissenting opinion of Chairman Cabaniss:

      I cannot join my colleagues in the determination that the instant proposal is an appropriate arrangement. To the contrary, I would find that the proposal excessively interferes with the Agency's rights under 7106(a)(1) to determine its internal security practices. As such, the proposal does not constitute an appropriate arrangement and is outside the duty to bargain. Therefore, I dissent.

      The Agency policy at issue here is to not permit the overnight storage of firearms at locations that are too insecure to permit such storage. Agency Reply at 2. The record establishes that overnight storage is permitted at approximately ten facilities. Union Response at 11-12. Those are the facilities that the Agency has determined are adequately secure to permit this storage. The Agency has determined that most other locations are not. SOP, at 2, 4-5. It is unnecessary for the Agency to establish that all of the other locations lack the requisite security. The Agency must only demonstrate a "reasonable connection" between the objective of securing or safeguarding its personnel, property, or operations and the policy designed to implement that objective. See NTEU, 61 FLRA 48, 51 (2005). We have no authority to "examine the extent to which the practices adopted by management to achieve its security objectives actually facilitate the accomplishment of those objectives". Id., citing AFSCME, Locals 2910 & 2477, 49 FLRA 834, 839 (1994).

      I cannot conclude as does the Majority that the benefits to employees cited by the Union are "significant" and outweigh the Agency's internal security determination to not permit routine overnight storage at those locations that have been determined to not be secure enough for overnight storage. The benefits cited by the Union are for the most part entirely speculative. The Union has not shown that any employee has been held liable or disciplined for a weapon stolen from their home. Employees are free to avail themselves of the Agency's 24-hour carry policy, which effectively eliminates any increase in travel costs. Neither has the Union shown that those employees carrying a firearm are more susceptible to assault compared with those who do not. This argument is counter-intuitive in that an officer carrying a firearm is as likely to deter the very criminal behavior the Union claims may occur if they carry a firearm. Finally, it is not clear how burdened a typical employee's lifestyle is under the Agency's 24-hour carry policy. The Union's proposal may provide some employees with "piece of mind" in not storing a firearm in their home and provide others with the ability to engage in a few more activities on their way to or from work.