DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION SAN DIEGO DISTRICT OFFICE SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA and LOCAL 2879, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
In the Matter of )
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND )
HUMAN SERVICES )
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION )
SAN DIEGO DISTRICT OFFICE )
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA )
and ) Case No. 91 FSIP 140
LOCAL 2879, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF )
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO )
Local 2879, 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 section 7119 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute) between it and the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, San Diego District Office, San Diego, California (Employer).
The Panel determined that the dispute which concerns parking should be resolved through the issuance to both parties of an Order to Show Cause why the Panel should not mandate the same provisions as those imposed by its Decision and Order in Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, San Diego District Office and San Diego Teleservice Center. San Diego. California and Local 2879, American Federation of Government Employees AFL-CIO (San Diego District Office and San Diego Teleservice Center I), Case No. 89 FSIP 46 (May 11, 1989), Panel Release No. 281.U
The Employer interviews claimants in person and by telephone for social security, retirement, and disability benefits. The Union
represents 38 of those 46 employees in the District Office who work as claims and service representatives, claims development clerks, and data transcribers with grades ranging from GS-3 through 2/ A national-level collective bargaining agreement expires on January 25, 1993.
The current dispute arose when the Employer reduced by three or four the number of parking spaces allocated for bargaining-unit employees following a decrease in its allotment by GSA. A Union-filed Unfair Labor Practice Charge over the Employer's initial refusal to bargain was settled when the Employer agreed to negotiate.
Since the issuance of San Diego District Office and San Diego
Teleservice Center I, the parties clarified their understanding of the pertinent regulations regarding authorization for securing parking space. On August-26, 1991, during the pendency of the case before the Panel, a newer 1/ In San Diego District Office and San Diego Teleservice Center I, the Panel adopted a compromise provision requiring: (1) the Employer to request authority from the General Services Administration (GSA) to seek spaces at other than GSA-controlled facilities; if granted, then to seek funding from the appropriate Social Security Administration (SSA) management level to procure substitute parking space for the displaced employee-owned vehicles; and (2), if (1) was not fruitful, the parties were to resume negotiations over alternative approaches such as leasing commercial space to be paid for by the interested
2/ Employees at the teleservice center who were affected by the Panel's decision in San Diego District Office and San Diego Teleservice Center I were relocated, and, therefore, are not a part of this dispute.
version of the regulation became effective.2/ Under this version and consistent with the parties' more recent understanding, an agency first asks GSA whether any leased parking space is available. If no such space is found, an agency may be authorized to use its own procurement authority to acquire parking by service contract.4/ The primary difference appears to be that GSA now would authorize use of an agency's procurement authority rather than delegate leasing authority; employers would retain the discretion to determine whether or not to use such authorization, however.
The matter before the Panel is whether to: (1) impose the terms contained in the previous Decision and Order, or (2) take other appropriate action to resolve the dispute.
1. The Union's Position
The Union proposes that:
1. Per 41 CFR 101-17.201 (a) (Note), the agency will request of
GSA, authorization to exercise its own procurement authority to
acquire parking by service contract. This determination can be
made at the Regional level and does not require the authorization of the Administrator of General Services.
3/ The new regulation states:
Agencies having a need for parking shall utilize available Government-owned or leased facilities. Agencies shall make inquiries regarding availability of Government-controlled space to GSA regional offices and document such inquiries. If no suitable
Government-controlled facilities are available, an agency may use its own procurement authority to acquire parking by service contract. This determination can be made at the regional level and does not require the authorization of the Administrator of General Services. 56 Federal Register 42,173 (1991) (to be codified at 41
C.F.R. 101-17.202-2(a) Note). 4/ Id.
2. Continue to provide full compl[e]ment of parking spaces existing prior to October 2, 1989.
3. Those funds previously paid to GSA prior to October 2, 1989,
for 4 spaces, for unit employees, will be used to offset parking cost incurred by unit employees.
4. Free, safe and comparable parking facilities will be made
available to all unit employees.
5. Such facilities will be provided in a well-lit, low traffic,
accessible area, as near as possible to the office's employee
6. Parking facilities will, in all aspects, be substantially equivalent to or better than parking facilities currently available to unit employees.
7. Advance notification will be given to the Union of any changes to the parking spaces that affects the scope of this Agreement and the Union will be afforded an opportunity to bargain per 5 USC Chapter 71 and Article 4 of the National Agreement.
It asserts that the difference in the GSA procedures coupled with its presentation of six additional proposals should persuade the Panel to consider the merits of the case. In the Union's view, if the Employer can pay as much as $675 per year for the parking space used by its representative in this case, and has paid some amounts for those spaces now unavailable through GSA, it should fund replacement spaces for employees affected by the reduction. Furthermore, under Article 13, section 2, of the national-level agreement, SSA agreed "to continue to provide secure, adequate, convenient parking."
2. The Enployer's Position
During negotiations, the Employer proposed that the parties continue to follow the existing regional policy in regard to parking matters. That policy is not to pay for employee parking when signing a lease for leased space, except where the duties of employees require intermittent travel to and from the worksite during duty hours. Otherwise, available spaces would be assigned to employees as prescribed by GSA regulations governing parking assignment priorities.5/5/ 41 CFR 101-20.104-2.
In this instance, the Employer states that it already has written to GSA requesting an authorization to seek parking spaces for displaced employee vehicles. Following a favorable response from GSA, consistent with its regional policy not to provide subsidized or free parking, it proposes a joint labor-management committee to seek reduced rate parking for employees from nearby vendors, essentially the second provision imposed by the Panel in San Diego District Office and San Diego Teleservice Center I.6/
The Employer describes the present situation as "virtually identical" to San Diego District Office and San Diego Teleservice Center I. Furthermore, changes to Federal Property Management regulations affecting parking are "slight" and should not deter the Panel from reimposing the terms of the earlier Decision and Order. It believes that decision would serve as an equitable settlement of the instant case.
Having considered the evidence and arguments in this case, we
conclude that the parties should adopt the Employer's position and follow the terms of the compromise ordered in the Panel's previous decision. We are not persuaded that the Union has shown sufficient cause to warrant a different result in a matter that so resembles the issue presented in the prior case. Furthermore, differences such as a smaller work force and a new version of an applicable regulation, possibly easing efforts to secure alternative parking, do not indicate the need for a different solution on the merits. As to the regulation, whether the Employer receives a delegation of authority or is authorized to pursue parking arrangements through its own procurement authority should not disturb the essential premise of our earlier decision: The Employer will not be required to provide either subsidized or free parking. On the other hand, the Union's additional proposals, which basically are aimed at obtaining free or subsidized parking, would work at cross purposes with that premise. Moreover, we note with favor that the Employer has already sought the requisite authorization, a step which should serve to expedite final resolution of this 6/In its letter to the Panel, the Employer also stated that it would agree to Union proposal 7 which concerns bargaining rights over future changes in the availability of parking.