DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE COMBAT SUPPORT GROUP, TAC MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA and LOCAL 153, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL



In the Matter of )

)

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE )

COMBAT SUPPORT GROUP, TAC )

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE )

MACDILL AIR FORCE )

BASE, FLORIDA )

)

and ) Case No. 91 FSIP 174

)

LOCAL 153, NATIONAL )

FEDERATION OF FEDERAL )

EMPLOYEES )

)



DECISION AND ORDER



Local 153, 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 the

Air Force, Combat Support Group, TAC, MacDill Air Force Base, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida (Employer).*/



After investigation of the request for assistance concerning a 4-10 compressed work schedule (CWS), the Panel determined that the issues in dispute would be resolved on the basis of written submissions from the parties with the Panel to take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse. Written submissions were made pursuant to these procedures and the Panel has now considered the entire record.



BACKGROUND



The Employer provides training in advanced combat roles for pilots of F-16 fighter aircraft. The Union represents over 750

*/ On July 27, 1991, the Federal Times reported that MacDill Air Force Base will partially close as part of a realignment. Aircraft will be sent to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and Joint Communications Support Elements to Charleston Air Force Base; MacDill will become an administrative base.



nonprofessional General Schedule and Wage Grade appropriated-fund

employees. They work as mechanics, engineering craftsmen, secretaries, and in the commissary, administration, and supply at grades ranging from GS-1 to -13 and WG-1 to -lO. The parties' current collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) will expire on February 7, 1993. These negotiations arose pursuant to a reopener provision in the parties' CBA permitting either party to request to negotiate the establishment of a 4-10 CWS. Currently, employees are permitted to work regular hours or, with supervisory approval, either flexitime or 5-4/9. According to the Employer, 22 employees are on the flexitime schedule and 2 follow a 5-4/9 biweekly

plan.



ISSUE AT IMPASSE



The issue concerns whether the option of a 4-10 CWS would be

substituted for the 5-4/9 plan or the status quo be maintained.



a. The Union's Position



Under the Union's proposal, a 10-hour, 4-day workweek option would replace the 5-4/9 schedule in areas with more than one employee. Employees would work either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Saturday, or similar schedules which would include a weekend day. The provision would be implemented within 30 days of the agreement, and discontinued only if significant productivity losses, substantial increases in costs, or mission failures resulted from the program.



The Union asserts that the option would offer a number of benefits. These include extending the workweek from 40 to 50 hours thereby permitting the completion of more projects with a single service visit, improving traffic flow, and enhancing employees' morale and productivity. Furthermore, the Employer's argument that such a scheduling option would affect its ability to adequately perform its mission are unsubstantiated, especially since it would retain the; right under 5 U.S.C. 7106(a)(2)(D) "to take whatever actions might be necessary to carry out the agency mission during emergencies." Moreover, based on discussions with bargaining-unit employees, the option would be more popular than the currently available 5-4/9 schedule.



b. The Employer's Position



Basically, the Employer proposes to maintain the status quo as

provided for in Article 11 of the parties' CBA, i.e., that employees may select either flexitime hours or a 5-4/9 plan, with

supervisory approval. Article 11, Section 11.5, permitting negotiations over the 4-10 CWS, would be deleted.



The Employer argues that currently available schedules have proved to be compatible with successful performance of the mission. It fears, in contrast, that the 4-1O scheduling option would "degrade the mission" by misaligning with the prevailing 8-hour, 5-day workweek during which customers demand service or journeyman-level civilian employees train their military counterparts. Since military employees and supervisors would not be permitted, nor are contractor's employees on such schedules, it would create a daily, 2-hour unproductive period at the end of the

workday. Also, changing work schedules when the base is faced with a realignment might exacerbate disruptions stemming from the realignment. Moreover, should an emergency like Desert Storm recur, under a 4-1O plan, overtime costs to -support the facility could be astronomical.



CONCLUSIONS



We conclude that the issue should be resolved by adopting the

Employer's proposal. In this regard, we do not find that the Union offers sufficient justification for its proposal. While a 4-10 scheduling option might be more popular with employees than the current flexitime and 5-4/9 options, we are persuaded that it would interfere with the efficiencies of the current scheduling system which aligns the schedules of civilian employees with military and contractor-provided employees, the needs of commissary customers, peak periods for repair calls, and other daily demands. Furthermore, at a base facing dramatic changes in its organization, the need for stable work schedules outweighs a speculative improvement in morale. In addition, predictions of benefits from a 50-hour workweek or improved traffic flow are unsubstantiated. Finally, from a practical standpoint, the Union's proposal is not sufficiently definite about details such as supervisory approval for participation in the schedule.



ORDER



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 resolv