DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION TALLADEGA, ALABAMA and LOCAL 3844, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

United States of America

 

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

 

 

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS

FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA

and

 

LOCAL 3844, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF 

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

 

Case No. 00 FSIP 160

DECISION AND ORDER

    Local 3844, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union) filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider a negotiation impasse under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute), 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between it and the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), Talladega, Alabama (Employer).

    Following an investigation of the request for assistance, arising from negotiations concerning the establishment of a 4/10 compressed work schedule (CWS) for drug treatment specialists (DTSs), the Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved through an informal conference with a Panel representative. The parties were informed that if no settlement were reached, the Panel representative would notify the Panel of the status of the dispute, including the parties’ final offers and her recommendations for resolving the impasse. The Panel would then resolve the dispute by taking whatever action it deemed appropriate, including the issuance of a binding decision.

    In accordance with the Panel’s procedural determination, Panel Representative (Staff Attorney) Marianne Perciaccante met with the parties on December 14, 2000, at the FCI in Talladega, Alabama. Although the parties spent considerable time exploring several settlement options during the conference, they were unable to resolve their dispute. Ms. Perciaccante has reported to the Panel, and it has now considered the entire record, including the parties’ post-conference summary statements of position.

BACKGROUND

    The FCI at Talladega houses male criminal offenders from the Southeast United States. There are three facilities within the institution. The first is a medium security facility with a higher security unit. The second facility handles disciplinary cases from other institutions, and the third is a minimum security Federal prison camp. There are about 350 employees at the facility, of whom about 265 are in the bargaining unit. Bargaining-unit employees work, among other things, as secretaries, case managers, educators, counselors, corrections officers, DTSs, and vocational training employees. They range in grade from GS-5 to -11; and WS-5 to -9. The parties' master agreement is due to expire on March 8, 2001.

    There are eight non-supervisory DTSs, seven of whom work at the prison camp, and one of whom works "behind the fence" (i.e., at the medium security facility). Of these eight employees, five, including the employee at the medium security facility, would like to work a 4/10 CWS. This case was consolidated with another impasse at the facility filed by the Union concerning a CWS for vocational training employees in the same bargaining unit. Although the parties did not reach a settlement in either case during the informal conference, 5 days later they reached an agreement on a CWS for vocational training employees. During post-informal conference negotiations over the vocational training schedule, the parties also attempted to reach agreement in this case, but failed to do so.

ISSUES AT IMPASSE

    The parties disagree over: (1) the number of DTSs who can have a Monday or Friday off under a 4/10 CWS; and (2) whether employees on a 4/10 CWS should be required to work late nights.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Employer’s Position

   The Employer proposes that two DTSs have Mondays off, one have Tuesdays off, and one have Wednesdays off. The employee "inside the fence" would have Fridays off. The schedule would be rotated quarterly with the exception of the employee inside the fence who would remain assigned to the inside FCI post. Initial assignments would occur by seniority preference. DTSs on the 4/10 CWS would then rotate through the schedule from the top down. The normal 10-hour workday would be from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on the day preceding an employee’s day off, when the employee would work a late night from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The sole exception to this late night schedule would be the second employee with Mondays off. That employee would work a late night on Wednesdays.

    Late nights are necessary in order to maximize contact time between DTSs and inmates because a 4/10 CWS would allow less contact time than a 5/8 schedule. In this regard, under a 5/8 schedule, DTSs are not available to inmates for a total of 62.5 hours per pay period; under the Union’s proposed schedule, lost contact time would increase to 110 hours per pay period, but under the Employer’s proposal with late nights, lost contact time would be only 100 hours per pay period.(1) A late night schedule also would enhance security, which is desirable because the inmate population has increased more than 21 percent since September 1997, resulting in more incidents reported at the camp. On the late night schedule, DTSs would assist unit teams, and be available to meet with inmates who are on a waiting list to get into a DTS program. It is not unreasonable to ask DTSs to work late nights, since supervisors throughout the institution have been working late nights for the past 2 years to provide greater coverage during that time.

    With respect to the days off under a 4/10 CWS, it is not possible to allow every employee on such a schedule to have Mondays or Fridays off. If this happened throughout the institution, there would be a severe staffing shortage on these days. In fact, the Employer cannot afford to have more than 16 employees off on Mondays and Fridays combined. DTS is only the second department to negotiate a CWS, but other departments are expected to begin negotiations soon, and under the schedule recently agreed to for vocational training employees, four people already will be off on Mondays and Fridays.

2. The Union’s Position

   The Union proposes that three DTSs work from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, with off days on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and that two DTSs work from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays with off days on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.(2) This would provide employees with more 3-day weekends, and be more family friendly than the Employer’s proposal. Contrary to the Employer’s assertions that the Union’s schedule would result in less contact time with inmates, there is no evidence that the Union’s schedule would "handicap or adversely affect" the Employer’s mission. Additionally, the off day for the employee at the medium security facility should not influence the off day for other DTSs, since the presence of the employee inside the fence has no effect on the workload of the specialists. The Union’s proposed schedule does not include late nights because a 4/10 CWS would not result in less employee contact with inmates. In fact, "working late nights would handicap the mission of the Residential Drug Abuse program" because there would be no classroom space available for DTS programs during that time.

CONCLUSIONS

    Having carefully reviewed the evidence and arguments presented by the parties, we are persuaded that a modified version of the Employer’s proposal provides the better resolution to this dispute. Under the modified wording two employees will have Fridays off, and one employee will have Tuesdays off. The second employee with Fridays off will work a late night schedule on Tuesdays. The modification also adds wording from the vocational training agreement concerning holidays, leave, and evaluation procedures.(3)

    The resolution we impose is almost identical to the agreement the parties reached regarding vocational training employees, and it balances the interests of both parties. In this regard, it decreases by only one the Union’s proposed number of employees off on Mondays and Fridays. It also increases by only one the Employer’s proposed number of employees off on these days, thereby addressing the Employer’s concern that the number should be limited. Our approach provides the Employer with late night coverage which, it appears from the record, the Union does not seriously oppose. Among other things, the Union agreed to adopt a late night schedule in the vocational training agreement, and there is little evidence to substantiate its assertion that working late nights would hamper the mission of the program. Additionally, by maintaining current starting times, there will be no reduction in contact time in the morning between DTSs and inmates. Finally, the inclusion of further procedures, as suggested by the Union in its post-conference submission, should help ensure the success of the CWS by involving the parties in joint evaluation efforts. The procedures also are virtually identical to those in the vocational training CWS settlement.

ORDER

    Pursuant to the authority vested in it by the Federal Service Relations Labor-Management Statute, 5 U.S.C. § 7119, and because of the failure of the parties to resolve their dispute during the course of proceedings instituted under the Panel’s regulations, 5 C.F.R. § 2471.6(a)(2) the Federal Service Impasses Panel under § 2471.11(a) of its regulations hereby orders the adoption of the following:

Two DTS employees will have Mondays off, one will have Tuesdays off, and two, one of whom will be the DTS employee "inside the fence" will have Fridays off. The schedule will be rotated quarterly with the exception of the employee inside the fence who will remain assigned to the inside FCI post at the request of the Union. Initial assignments will be assigned by seniority preference. DTS staff on the 4/10 schedule will then rotate through the schedule from the top down. The normal 10-hour workday will be from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except on the day preceding an employee’s day off, when the employee would work a late night from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The sole exceptions to this late night schedule would be the second employee with Mondays off who will work a late night on Wednesdays, and the second employee with Fridays off who will work a late night on Tuesdays.

Six months after the CWS is implemented the parties will review the effectiveness of the schedule with periodic evaluations thereafter so long as the schedule is in effect as per Program Statement 3000.02, chapter 6.

At the end of the 6-month trial and each 6 months thereafter the parties will review the effectiveness of late night scheduling to determine its continuation. If determined at a later date that the need for late night staff is not a necessity, AWS/CWS with late night coverage will be converted to cover hours no later than 6:00 p.m.

Holidays: The staff member will receive the same hours of holiday pay as the hours normally scheduled to be worked on that day. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6103(b) and OPM’s Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules, the time and attendance record will reflect the number of hours the employee was scheduled as holiday off if the employee does not work the holiday.

Leave: When an employee is approved for a day of sick or annual leave, the staff member will be charged leave for the number of hours he or she was scheduled to work that day.

Evaluation Procedures: All data to be used in monitoring the effects of the compressed schedule will be provided to the Union prior to implementation.

A Union representative will be given an active role in the agency’s collection and evaluation of data used to monitor the effects of the implemented schedule.

The Union and management agree to meet regularly and/or when necessary for the purpose of addressing the development of adverse effects, substantiated by collected data. The intent of these meetings is to consider implementing corrective actions, short of revocation of the schedule, to deal with possible adverse effects.

Management will provide the Union with a copy of all information that will be provided to the Office of General Counsel for the purpose of determining an adverse effect, if applicable. This will be done prior to any changes in the schedule.

By direction of the Pane