DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY U.S. ARMY ORDNANCE MISSILE AND MUNITIONS CENTER AND SCHOOL REDSTONE ARSENAL, ALABAMA and LOCAL 1858, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
United States of America
BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL
In the Matter of
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
U.S. ARMY ORDNANCE MISSILE
AND MUNITIONS CENTER AND
REDSTONE ARSENAL, ALABAMA
LOCAL 1858, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
Case No. 90 FSIP 21
DECISION AND ORDER
Local 1858, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union), filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) pursuant to the Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1982, 5 U.S.C. § 6120 et seq., (Act) to resolve an impasse arising from the determination of the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Ordnance Missile and Munitions Center and School, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama (Employer) not to establish a compressed work schedule as proposed by the Union.
Following investigation of the Union's request for assistance, the Panel determined that the dispute in the above-referenced case should be resolved through an informal conference between a Panel representative and the parties. If there were no settlement, the Panel representative was to notify the Panel of the status of the dispute. The notice was to include the final positions of the parties and the Panel representative's recommendation for resolving the issue, with the Panel to take final action in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 6131 of the Act and section 2472.12 of its regulations.
Accordingly, Staff Associate Namsoo M. Dunbar met with the parties on February 8, 1990, at the Employer's facility in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. While the issue at impasse was narrowed, it was not resolved. He reported to the Panel, and it has now considered the entire record.
The mission of the Employer is to train military personnel in the operation of Army missile systems. Currently the parties are operating under the terms and conditions of an agreement which was to expire on April 2, 1989. The dispute before the Panel concerning their alternative work schedule (AWS) article is the sole issue holding up a successor agreement. During the informal conference, the Union's proposal was narrowed to exclude all bargaining-unit employees in seven training organizations who hold essentially instructional positions. As a result, the Union now proposes that a 5/4-9 AWS(1) option be made available to bargaining-unit employees in all non-training organizations including the following departments: Directorate of Training and Doctrine, School Secretary, Directorate of Combat Developments, Training Support Office, and Directorate of Evaluation and Standardization. These employees represent the remaining 450 of the approximate 600 employees in the bargaining unit. The proposed AWS would also affect about 300 military personnel who also work in these departments.
ISSUE AT IMPASSE
Because this case arises under the Act, the issue before the Panel is: whether the finding on which the Employer has based its determination not to establish an alternative work schedule, as proposed by the Union, is supported by evidence that the schedule is likely to cause an adverse agency impact.(2)
1. The Union's Position
Under the Union's proposal, a 5/4-9 AWS would be available only to non-instructional employees. Although the proposal seeks to create 3-day weekends every other week, it reserves for management the discretion to determine the employees' day off should scheduling problems or their duties make this unfeasible. It acknowledges management's right under section 6122(b)(1) and (2) of the Act to (1) establish arrival and departure times and (2) deny participation to any employee or group of employees when participation is being "substantially disrupt[ive] [to] carrying out its functions[.]" With such discretion reserved to management, the Employer would have sufficient flexibility to overcome the demands placed on employees whose duties are not directly involved in the instructional activity of the Employer's mission. Thus, contrary to the Employer's contention, it may not be necessary to have these employees' schedules conform to those of instructional employees, who may have a greater need to have their schedule coordinated with the schedule set for the students by the military.
The Employer has two other facilities located in El Paso, Texas, and Pensacola, Florida, which are in time zones differing by 1 hour on either side, respectively, of the Employer's main Alabama location. The 5/4-9 AWS could be used to help synchronize the hours of operations at all three locations and thereby increase contact availability between the three sites. Furthermore, the Employer contends that the affected departments have instructionally-related functions and thus employees' work schedules should conform to that maintained by instructional personnel. It, however, has not demonstrated how the Union's 5/4-9 proposal would have an adverse affect on achieving those objectives since the schedules of participating employees would either coincide with or completely overlap the schedule of instructional employees on 9 of the 10 days in a biweekly work period. Moreover, as a result of a settlement of a Union-filed unfair labor practice charge, instructional employees and about 55 percent of the affected non-instructional employees start their workday 1 hour later than the rest of the bargaining unit. Thus, there are currently 10 hours every 2 weeks when 45 percent of the affected non-instructional employees are unavailable to the other 55 percent and to most of the instructional employees. A 5/4-9 AWS could be used by the Employer to reduce this number of hours. Finally, the military students typically begin their daily schedule at 5 a.m.