DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION AND FEDERAL DETENTION CENTER OAKDALE, LOUISIANA and LOCALS 1007 AND 3957, 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

AND FEDERAL DETENTION CENTER 

OAKDALE, LOUISIANA

 

and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Nos. 01 FSIP 67, 68, 108, and 109

LOCALS 1007 AND 3957, AMERICAN

FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT 

EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

 

 

 

DECISION AND ORDER

    Locals 1007 and 3957, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Unions), filed separate requests for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider negotiation impasses under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between them and the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) and Federal Detention Center (FDC), Oakdale, Louisiana (Employer). The cases were consolidated for administrative convenience.

    Following an investigation of the requests for assistance, arising from negotiations over compressed work schedules (CWS) for facilities and laundry employees represented by both locals at the correctional facilities, the Panel determined that the disputes should be resolved on the basis of single written submissions from the parties. The parties were informed that after considering the entire record, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse, which may include the issuance of a Decision and Order. Written submissions were made pursuant to this procedure, and the Panel has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer’s mission is to protect society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, and appropriately secure. The FCI houses convicted felons who are U.S. citizens, while the FDC houses convicted felons who are illegal aliens. Local 1007 represents approximately 230 employees at the FDC, and Local 3957 represents approximately 225 at the FCI. Unit employees work as correctional officers, maintenance workers, medical services personnel, accountants, food services personnel, facilities foremen, and recreation and laundry workers. They range in grade from GS-5 through -11. The parties’ master collective bargaining agreement was due to expire on March 8, 2001, but its terms continue in effect until negotiations over a successor agreement are completed.

    Fifteen facilities foremen work at the FCI, and 18 work at the FDC; all but three are bargaining-unit employees. Of these, some 24 or 25 at the two institutions, combined, would like to participate in a 4-10 CWS. These facilities employees, who are under the supervision of the warden at the FDC, work as welders, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, auto mechanics, and general maintenance foremen. They supervise inmate work details. These employees, under the supervision of the warden at the FDC, are eligible for membership in either bargaining unit. Three laundry employees, who work at both the FCI and FDC, supervise inmates doing the laundry. At least two would like to work a 4-10 schedule. Those employees, under the supervision of the warden at the FCI, are eligible for membership in either bargaining unit.

ISSUES AT IMPASSE

    The parties disagree over: (1) whether facilities foremen should work under a 4-10 or 5-4/9 CWS, and what days they should have off; and (2) whether laundry employees should work under a 4-10 or 5-4/9 CWS, and what days they should have off.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. Facilities Foremen (Case Nos. 01 FSIP 67 and 68)

    a. The Union’s Position

    On the substantive issue, the Union proposes that half of the facilities foremen work from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. The other half would work the same hours, Tuesday through Friday, with Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off. The Union also proposes:

Monday[s] and Friday[s] . . . off will be rotated on a monthly basis, unless otherwise agreed upon by the foreman and his relief to rotate on a[n] alternate basis, and signed off on by the General Foreman. On weeks in which there are Federal Holidays and annual training then the schedule will revert back to a 5 day, 8 hour work week, Monday thru Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    On the procedural aspects of the case, the Union "propose[s] . . . a 6-month trial period with the right to review for effectiveness"; initial assignments would be by seniority preference. The rest of the Union’s proposal reads:

Holidays will be handled in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6103(b) and OPM Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules. Evaluation procedures will include providing all data used in monitoring the effects of the (CWS) to the Union prior to implementation. The Union will be given the opportunity for a representative to have an active role in the agency’s collection and evaluation of data used to monitor the effects of the implemented schedule. All data sent to the Office of General Counsel for determining the adverse impact or effect on the agency due to implementation of the [CWS] will be provided to the Union.

    This schedule would improve efficiency in a number of ways. To begin with, facilities coverage would be increased from 40 to 50 hours per week, and additional time each day when inmates are away from the workplace would give foremen more time to complete paperwork and other "administrative duties prior to inmate work call." Also, scheduled days off such as Monday or Friday would give an incentive to employees to accomplish their work within 4 days as opposed to 5, and would boost morale by allowing employees to enjoy 3-day weekends. Another potential benefit is that foremen, who currently have little time to participate in shakedowns, would now be able to take part in such searches. Additionally, a 4-10 schedule "would have a positive impact on employees because it would reduce sick leave abuse." In this regard, "the fact that 10 hours would be charged to the individual as opposed to 8 would serve as a deterrent to abuse." These benefits were apparent to at least one other Federal prison which has adopted a comparable schedule for facilities employees. Finally, the Employer has failed to establish that employees’ having Mondays and Fridays off would be less efficient than the Employer’s proposal allowing only Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays off. In this regard, the Employer has conceded that employees are available to do on-call emergency plumbing, heating/air conditioning, and electrical work on the weekend.

    b. The Employer’s Position

    The Employer proposes that facilities foremen work from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 8 days every pay period; 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1 day every pay period; and have one Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday off per pay period. Half of the foremen would take their days off during the first week of the pay period, and the other half would take them in the second week of the pay period. "[D]uring the designated period for Annual Refresher Training, as well as periods involving [the 10 Federal] holidays, staff schedules [would] be changed to reflect a 40 hour work week."

    A facility foreman’s primary function is to supervise inmates. Because the 5-4/9 schedule results in less down time during which foremen are not supervising inmates, it is superior to a 4-10 schedule. In this regard, under a 5-4/9 schedule, foremen would spend all but 1½ hours per day supervising inmate work details, whereas under the Union’s 4-10 proposal, foremen would spend almost 3 hours a day in activities that do not involve supervising inmates. Additionally, in contrast to the Union’s proposal, which would result in 50 percent of the facilities foremen being absent on 2 days each week, the 5-4/9 schedule permits the spread of such absences over 6 days in the space of 2 weeks, thereby reducing the number of foremen taking each CWS day off. The limited number of off days under the Union’s proposal are problematic because that plan results in "all inmate details [being] doubled." Furthermore, "if any additional foremen are on sick or annual leave, other details will be tripled or quadrupled." However, even though maximizing the number of off days has the effect of limiting the number of foremen absent on any given day, absences on Mondays are undesirable because of the heavy demand for repairs of plumbing, heating/air conditioning, and electrical systems after the weekend. Friday off days are also undesirable because repair requests tend to be heavy on Fridays. In another related development, other departments may soon negotiate compressed schedules under which additional prison staff will take off on Mondays and Fridays, resulting in understaffing and an increase in security concerns on those days. Finally, because staffing is lighter during extended training, and because of the loss of 1 day of productivity during Federal holidays, the schedule should be suspended during annual refresher training and after Federal holidays.

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. On the substantive issue of the schedule for facilities foremen, we shall, therefore, order the parties to adopt a 5-4/9 CWS in conformity with the hours proposed by the Employer to resolve their dispute. We shall, however, modify the proposal to specify that employees be granted 1 weekday off per pay period. These off days are to be distributed evenly throughout the week (an equal or nearly equal number of employees shall take a Monday, a Tuesday, etc.); half of the foremen will take off a weekday during the first week of the pay period, and the rest during the second week. In addition, priority for a Monday or Friday off day will be determined by seniority. Off days will be rotated quarterly, also by seniority. During the designated period for Annual Refresher Training, employees will be required to revert to a 5-8 schedule. In weeks with Federal holidays, the parties shall follow 5 U.S.C. § 6103(b) and OPM Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules, which provide for "an in lieu of day" if a holiday falls on an employee’s off day.

    As to the procedural aspects of the schedule, we shall order the adoption of various measures to be taken prior to and after the implementation of the schedule. Before the CWS is implemented, the parties shall jointly determine how the schedule is to be monitored. On the subject of baseline data, we shall order the Employer to provide the Union prior to implementation with all such data it plans to use in monitoring the effects of the schedule. After the schedule is implemented, a Union representative shall take an active role in the Employer’s collection and evaluation of data used to monitor the effects of the schedule. The parties also shall meet regularly, and/or when necessary, to address the possible development of any adverse affect with respect to the implementation of the schedule. The intent of these meetings is to implement corrective action, short of revocation of the schedule. Finally, when the schedule has been in effect for 6 months, the Employer will provide the Union with a copy of all information that is to be provided to the Office of General Counsel for the purpose of determining an adverse agency impact, if applicable.

    Turning first to our decision to adopt the 5-4/9 schedule, we find this schedule more appropriately balances the Employer’s need to ensure adequate supervision of inmates with unit employees’ wish to enjoy the advantages of a compressed schedule. We believe that the 1½ hours available under the 5-4/9 schedule is a more reasonable time period for accomplishing work-related tasks that do not involve inmate supervision compared with 3 hours under the Union’s proposal. Considering next which off days should be available to bargaining-unit employees, distributing off days over the 10 days of the pay period, rather than over 6 days, as in the Employer’s proposal, or 2 in the Union’s proposal, means that fewer foremen will be absent on any given day. On the use of Mondays and Fridays as days off, in our view, the Employer has not provided actual evidence establishing that serious problems are likely to occur if some foremen are allowed these days off. Therefore, we have modified the Employer’s proposal so that at least six foremen, or nearly 25 percent of participants, will have a Monday or Friday off every pay period.

    Regarding any hiatus in the CWS, the compromise eliminates wording from the Employer’s proposal that would require suspension of the CWS during workweeks with Federal holidays because the Employer has not demonstrated why they should not be handled in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6103(b) and OPM Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules, as proposed by the Union. Lastly, the compromise includes a joint labor-management procedure for evaluating the parties’ experience under the schedule, a feature which we believe should be an integral part of implementing any CWS schedule. In this regard, the parties are encouraged to establish baseline data that will allow them to evaluate objectively the outcome of the pilot in terms of cost, and impact on leave use, among other factors.

2. Laundry Workers (Case Nos. 01 FSIP 108 and 109)

    a. The Union’s Position

    On the substantive issue, the Union proposes that one laundry employee work from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off; and the other work those hours on Tuesday through Friday, with Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off. The Union also proposes:

A 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift will be maintained at all times to ensure appropriate staffing in the event of unforeseen circumstances. The Monday and Friday days off will be rotated on a quarterly basis, unless otherwise agreed upon by the supervisors to rotate on a[n] alternate basis, and signed off on by the Laundry Manager.

On the procedural aspects of the case, the Union’s proposal is identical to its procedural proposal for facilities foremen.

    The 4-10 schedule would permit timely completion of daily paperwork and planning for the next day’s work objectives. The increase from a 40-hour to a 50-hour work week would also reduce inmate idleness. Furthermore, the 4-10 schedule "would have a positive impact on employees because it would reduce sick leave abuse." In this regard, "the fact that 10 hours would be charged to the individual as opposed to 8 would serve as a deterrent to abuse." Finally, scheduled days off such as Monday or Friday would boost employee morale by providing them with 3-day weekends, and encourage employees to accomplish work within the 4-day work week.

    b. The Employer’s Position

    The Employer proposes a 5-4/9 schedule under which one employee would work from 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday of the first week of the pay period. The employee would have Thursday off and would work from 5:30 to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday of the second week of the pay period. On the Friday of the second week, the employee will work from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The second laundry employee will work the opposite schedule, i.e., from 5:30 to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday of the first week. On the Friday of that week, that employee would work from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the second week of the pay period, the second laundry employee would work 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The employee will have Thursday off. "[D]uring the designated period for Annual Refresher Training, as well as periods involving [the 10 Federal] holidays, staff schedules [would] be changed to reflect a 5-day, 40-hour workweek."

    Regarding off days, Mondays should not be available since that is the heaviest laundry day of the week, as a result of weekend recreational activities; employees and inmates do 28 percent of the weekly load on Mondays. Also, it is not possible to allow laundry employees to take off Fridays because 22 percent of the weekly laundry load is done on that day. Moreover, since other departments may soon negotiate compressed schedules under which additional prison staff will take off Mondays and Fridays, understaffing will likely occur on those days. A 5-4/9 schedule would make staff available during peak laundry hours, as well as provide operational coverage on an equitable basis. Furthermore, under such a schedule, with only one laundry worker out per week, the other two employees, one of whom does not want to be on a CWS, would be able to run the FCI and FDC laundries without interruption. During annual refresher training, the schedule should be suspended to recognize that staffing is lighter during extended training and, as a result, CWS days off could not be accommodated then. Finally, because of the loss of 1 day of productivity during Federal holidays, the CWS should also be suspended for those weeks.

CONCLUSIONS

    After a careful review of the parties’ evidence and arguments, we are persuaded that a modified version of the Employer’s proposal provides the better resolution to these disputed issues as well. Under the modified wording on the substantive issues, employees will work a 5-4/9 schedule under which they will each be permitted to take one of the two Fridays in the pay period off. Also, Federal holidays will be handled in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6103(b) and OPM handbook on Alternative Work Schedules. On the procedures to be followed for evaluating the effect of the 5-4/9 schedule on the work of laundry employees, the parties are to follow measures identical to those specified above for implementing the 5-4/9 CWS for facilities foremen.

    With respect to which schedule is more suited to the work of laundry workers, we conclude that the parties should adopt a 5-4/9 schedule, as modified, because that schedule provides a better fit for the daily workload than the 4-10 CWS the Union proposes. In this regard, under a 4-10 schedule, a third of the small workforce would otherwise be absent twice a week, not including absences related to employees’ use of annual and sick leave. Also, the longer work days would produce protracted periods of nonproductive work time during hours when inmates are not available. As to the adoption of Friday off days for both employees, because the Employer’s data shows that the workload on Friday is just as heavy as on Thursday, the compromise substitutes Friday as the off day, meeting the Employer’s interest of having one employee off per week on a relatively slow laundry day, and meeting the Union’s interest in granting employees a 3-day weekend. The other aspects of the compromise, including procedures for collecting and evaluating data on the schedule, are adopted for the same reasons provided in our discussion of compressed schedules for facilities foremen.

ORDER

    Pursuant to the authority vested in it by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations 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 5 C.F.R. § 2471.11(a) of its regulations, hereby orders the following:

1. Facilities Foremen (Case Nos. 67 and 68)

a. Facilities foremen will work 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 8 days every pay period; 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1 day every pay period; and have one Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday off per pay period. Off days will be distributed evenly throughout the week. Priority for a Monday or Friday off day will be determined by seniority. Off days will be rotated quarterly by seniority. Half of the foremen will get these days off during the first week of the pay period, and the other half will get these days off in the second week of the pay period. During the designated period for Annual Refresher Training, employees will revert to a 5-8 schedule. Federal holidays will be handled in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6103(b) and OPM Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules.

b. Prior to the implementation of a schedule, the Union and management will meet to discuss in detail what will be monitored with respect to the implementation of the schedule. The schedule will be implemented and after the sixth month, both parties will meet for the purpose of discussing the effectiveness of the schedule. All baseline 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 Employer’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 possible development of any adverse affect with respect to the implementation of the schedule. The intent of these meetings is to implement corrective action, short of revocation of the schedule, to deal with possible adverse affects. During the meeting after the sixth month, the Employer 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 agency impact, if applicable.

2. Laundry Workers (Case Nos. 01 FSIP 108 and 109)

a. Laundry workers shall work a 5-4/9 schedule under which one employee will work 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday of the first week of the pay period. The employee will have Friday off. The employee will work from 5:30 to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday of the second week of the pay period. On the Friday of the second week, the employee will work from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The second laundry employee will work the opposite schedule, i.e., the employee will work from 5:30 to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday of the first week of the pay period. On the Friday of the first week, the employee will work from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The second week of the pay period the second laundry employee will work 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday of the first week of the pay period. The employee will have Friday off. During the designated period for Annual Refresher Training, employees will revert to a 5-8 schedule. Federal holidays will be handled in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6103(b) and OPM Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules.

b. The parties shall adopt wording identical to that in 1.b, above.

By direction of the Panel.

Ellen J. Kolansky

Acting Execut