DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE LOUISIANA ARMY AND AIR NATIONAL GUARD JACKSON BARRACKS NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA and COUNCIL OF LOUISIANA NATIONAL GUARD LOCALS, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

United States of America



In the Matter of





DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

LOUISIANA ARMY AND AIR NATIONAL

GUARD

JACKSON BARRACKS

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA





and





COUNCIL OF LOUISIANA NATIONAL

GUARD LOCALS, NATIONAL FEDERATION

OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES





Case No. 92 FSIP 42



DECISION AND ORDER



The Council of Louisiana National Guard Locals, National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE or Union) filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider a negotiation impasse under the Federal Service LaborManagement Relations Statute (Statute), 5 U.S.C. 7119, between it and the Department of Defense, Louisiana Army and Air National Guard, Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana (Employer).



The Panel determined that the impasse, which concerns official time for representational purposes, should be resolved on the basis of the record established in a previous consolidated case involvinq the parties, where written submissions already had been provided,l



lIn Department of Defense, Louisiana Army and Air National Guard. Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, Louisiana and Council of Louisiana National Guard Locals. NFFE, Case Nos. 91 FSIP 215 and 228, the Panel consolidated the parties' separate requests for assistance and determined that the dispute should be resolved on the basis of written submissions. The Panel subsequently declined to retain jurisdiction over the entire dispute when it was discovered that a proposal (involving a different NFFE Local) substantively similar to one of the two Union proposals at impasse was before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) for a negotiability determination. The Union then filed the instant



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with the Panel to take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the dispute. The Panel has now considered the entire record.



BACKGROUND



The Employer's mission is to operate a flight line of military aircraft, and to keep them in readiness for mobilization. The Union represents approximately 700 National Guard technicians, WG-5 through -12. The parties' collective-bargaining agreement expired on July 11, 1990, but continues in effect until the Panel resolves the instant dispute involving negotiations over the successor. The parties have severed all provisions of the successor over which agreement has been reached, and submitted those sections to the Agency Head for review in accordance with 7114(c) of the Statute.



ISSUE AT IMPASSE



The parties are at impasse over whether nine Union officials (three at each of the three Locals within the Council of Louisiana National Guard Locals) should be granted 1 day of official time for representational purposes per calendar month to staff the Union's offices.



1. The Union's Position



The Union proposes that, in addition to an already-agreed-upon provision authorizing its officials "reasonable time" to represent employees, "the [p]resident of the Local and two officers [or] officials (elected or appointed) designated by the Local [p]resident, will be allowed service in the Union office for 1 day per calendar month for representational purposes." Advance scheduling of official time would permit supervisors sufficient time to ensure that a Union representative's normal duties are covered in his or her absence, and "make it easier for employees to contact a specific individual without bothering that person in the work area." It also "would provide more privacy for the employee in discussing his [or] her problem or grievance," and allow the Union to give more timely responses to management submissions.



Time spent in the Union office would be used for representational functions, so its proposal would not, of itself, cause an increase in the overall use of official time. In fact, "the [total amount of official] time could actually be reduced" because such time "would be used more efficiently." The amount of time requested is less than what is currently received by a number of other NFFE Locals of comparable size, which shows "the need and



request for assistance asking the Panel to reach a decision on the merits of the issue over which no negotiability determination was pending.



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reasonableness of having at least 1 day a month in the Union office." While it originally proposed "at least 1 day per week in the Union office" as the amount which actually would be required if it were to perform its representational duties properly, the Union changed its final offer only "in an attempt to settle the issue." In contrast, the Employer's proposal "is not efficient" because it would require the representative to make a new request to the supervisor "every time he [or] she wants to go to the Union office," and this also "sometimes causes friction."



2. The Employer's Position



The Employer proposes the following wording:



Official time for service in the Union office will not be scheduled as a regular tour of duty. Time in the Union office may be authorized to Union officers on a case-bycase basis for other Union business not classified as internal Union business.



Its proposal is "rational, objective, and fair, while protecting the rights of management and considering the rights of the Union."

In this regard, there is "insufficient Union activity" to warrant a change in the status quo, and management "has never failed to authorize the Union a reasonable amount of official time for representational purposes." It also believes that adoption of the Union's proposal could lead to the use of official time "for [i]nternal Union [b]usiness, which is prohibited by statu[t]e."



The Union's proposal "would cost management 108 man-days or 864 man-hours" per year, "in addition to any other amount of time authorized for Union representational purposes . . . regardless of the amount of activity required." Its proposal, on the other hand, would preserve management's "right to schedule tours of duty," which is essential if it is to use its diminished resources effectively in accomplishing its mission. The flexibility of its proposal, which would permit official time to continue to be granted on an as-needed basis, "is a workable approach to the use of official time by the Union."



CONCLUSIONS



Having examined the evidence and arguments on this issue, we conclude that the dispute should be resolved on the basis of the Employer's proposal. In our view, the Union has not demonstrated a need to change the existing practice, which appears from the record to be working effectively. In this regard, the level of representational activity is minimal, and there is no evidence that its officials have had difficulty in obtaining official time to represent the bargaining unit. The benefits that it suggests would accrue from the adoption of its proposal are speculative, while the Employer's approach appears to balance more appropriately the needs



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of its mission and those of the Union. Accordingly, we shall order the adoption of the Employer's proposal.



ORDER



Pursuant to the authority vested in it by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. 7119, and because of the failure of the parties to resolve their dispute during the course of proceedings instituted under th