DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE HEADQUARTERS, 102D FIGHTER INTERCEPTOR WING MASSACHUSETTS AIR NATIONAL GUARD OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MASSACHUSETTS and LOCAL R1-54, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

 

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

HEADQUARTERS, 102D FIGHTER

INTERCEPTOR

WING MASSACHUSETTS AIR NATIONAL

GUARD

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE,

MASSACHUSETTS

and

LOCAL R1-54, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION

OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

Case No. 90 FSIP 82

DECISION AND ORDER

Local R1-54 of the National Association of Government Employees (Union) filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel negotiation impasse under section Labor-Management Relations Statute Department of the Air Force, Interceptor Wing, Massachusetts National Guard Base (Employer). (Panel) to consider a 7119 of the Federal Service (Statute) between it and the Headquarters, 102D Fighter National Guard, Otis Air National Guard Base (Employer).

The Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved through written submissions from the parties with the Panel to take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse. Submissions were made pursuant to these procedures,(1) and the Panel has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

The Employer's mission is to provide support for the Nation's air defenses. The bargaining unit consists of approximately 196 employees, most of whom are maintenance personnel. The instant impasse arose as a result of negotiations over the Employer's proposal to discontinue a past practice regarding travel time. The parties' collective bargaining agreement expired on March 7, 1990.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

The issue is whether the past practice of not including travel time as part of the break period should be discontinued.

1. The Union's Position

The Union's proposal is as follows:

(a) Within each 8-hour workday, there will be two 15-minute breaks. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. (b) Breaks may be taken at the job site, a Division break area in the vicinity of the job site, or at the individual's shop break area.

The Union argues that there is a 25-year past practice of not including travel time as part of employees' 15-minute break periods and denies that there is any basis for the Employer's proposed change. It proposes, therefore, that the status quo be maintained.

2. The Employer's Position

The Employer proposes the following wording:

(a) Within each 8-hour workday, there may be two 15-minute breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. (b) Breaks may be taken at the job site, a Division break area in the vicinity of the job site, or at the individual's shop break area. (c) In no case should the break period, including travel time, exceed 15 minutes, except when it is necessary (inclement weather and on infrequent occasions to pick up tools/materials) to return to the shop.

The Employer proposes eliminating the past practice of not including travel time as part of employees' 15-minute break periods. A study performed by the Employer's Civil Engineering Unit reveals that the current practice results in the annual loss of 5,544 manhours or 3.18 productive staff years per year. The Employer maintains that there is a commitment to using bargaining-unit employees to perform maintenance functions but that "in house" employees must operate more efficiently if they are to compete with outside