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
WING MASSACHUSETTS AIR NATIONAL
OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE,
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.
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 contractors. It notes that it has provided thermos bottles, at no cost to employees, for those who choose to remain at the work site.
After considering the evidence and arguments, we are persuaded that the Employer's proposal should serve as the basis for resolving this matter. In our view, it has established that the current practice of not including travel time as part of employees' 15-minute break periods results in the loss of a considerable amount of productive time per year. In light of its commitment to assigning maintenance work to bargaining-unit employees, its proposal is reasonable because it attempts to maximize the efficiency and productivity of "in house" workers. Moreover, the Employer's decision to provide employees with thermos bottles should reduce the need for taking breaks away from the job site while preserving the employees' standard 15-minute break period.
Pursuant to the authority vested in it by section 7119 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and because of the failure of the parties to resolve their dispute during the course of the proceedings instituted pursuant to section 2471.6(a)(2) of the Panel's regulations, the Federal Service Impasses Panel under section 2471.11(a) of its regulations here