DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION CHICAGO NORTH DISTRICT OFFICE CHICAGO, ILLINOIS and LOCAL 1395, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL



In the Matter of )

)

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND )

HUMAN SERVICES )

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION )

CHICAGO NORTH DISTRICT OFFICE )

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS )

)

and ) Case No. 92 FSIP 37

)

LOCAL 1395, AMERICAN FEDERATION )

OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO )

________________________________________)



DECISION AND ORDER



Local 1395, 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 the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute), 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between it and the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Chicago North District Office, Chicago, Illinois (SSA or Employer).



After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the impasse, concerning accommodations for employees who were precluded from volunteering for a liaison position, should be resolved on the basis of written submissions from the parties, with the Panel to be limited to selecting either of the parties' final proposals, to the extent that the proposals were otherwise lawful. Written submissions were made pursuant to this procedure and the Panel has considered the entire record.



BACKGROUND



The Employer provides the public with information concerning retirement, disability, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and processes those claims. The Union represents approximately 56 bargaining-unit employees in the Chicago North District Office who are part of a nationwide consolidated unit consisting of approximately 48,000. Employees in the office hold such positions as claims representative, service representative, field representative, and claims development clerk. The parties are covered by a master collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) which is scheduled to expire in January 1993.



In September 1990, SSA awarded a grant to a local organization called Travelers and Immigrants Aid (TIA) to identify homeless individuals who would qualify for SSI benefits, and obtain SSI applications from them. These applications would then be forwarded to SSA for processing. As part of the Employer's coordination of the project, it assigned a claims representative with experience in SSI claims to be the liaison between the District Office and TIA. At the completion of the project the employee received a cash award of $400 based on her performance as liaison. The dispute arose following an informal settlement of an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge where the parties agreed to negotiate over the impact of the Employer's decision to select the particular claims representative for the temporary assignment.

ISSUE



The parties basically are at impasse over whether qualified employees who were not afforded an opportunity to volunteer for the liaison position should receive treatment equal to the individual who was selected.



1. The Union's Position



The Union proposes that:



(1) Any claims representative who states that she or he would have volunteered for the liaison position in the outreach program and who meets or exceeds the summary performance appraisal rating in effect at the time of the selection of the employee chosen to fill the position will be entitled to equitable treatment to that of the selected employee, and; (2) Employees who were excluded from consideration for the liaison position in the