DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION BEAVERTON BRANCH OFFICE BEAVERTON, OREGON and LOCAL 3937, 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 )

BEAVERTON BRANCH OFFICE )

BEAVERTON, OREGON )

)

and )

) Case No. 92 FSIP 65

LOCAL 3937, AMERICAN FEDERATION )

OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO )

___________________________________)



DECISION AND ORDER



Local 3937, 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), S U.S.C. S 7119, between it and the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Beaverton Branch Office, Beaverton, Oregon (SSA or Employer).



After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the impasse concerning parking should be resolved through 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 this procedure,l/ and the Panel now has considered the entire record.





BACKGROUND



The Employer provides the public with information concerning retirement, disability, and social security benefits and processes those claims. The Union represents approximately 17 employees in the Beaverton Branch 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, and claims development clerk. The parties are covered by a master collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) which is scheduled to expire in January 1993.



/ The Union's additional unsolicited submission, which arrived at the Panel's offices 10 days after the due date for rebuttal statements, was not considered by the Panel in reaching its decision in this case.



The dispute arose during bargaining over the planned relocation of the Beaverton Branch Office to a site approximately 4 blocks away.2/ Previously the office was located in a multitenant building with free parking for all employees and clients of the entire building. Now, SSA is the sole tenant; it controls 19 on-site parking spaces, 3 of which are reserved for management officials, the rest are reserved for the public.



ISSUE



The parties are at impasse primarily over whether the Employer has continued to provide secure, adequate, and convenient parking for its employees as required by the Parties' CBA.3/



POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES



1. The Union's Position





In essence, the Union proposes that: (1) the Employer continue to provide equivalent secure, adequate, and convenient parking by supplying 20 parking spaces for unit employees in a well-lit, low traffic, accessible area, as near as possible to the employee office entrance, and within 1 block of the office; (2) in the event that insufficient parking is made available through the original or amended lease, the Employer request authorization from the General Services Administration (GSA) to exercise its own procurement authority to acquire parking by service contract;4/ (3) management request that GSA or the landlord provide a bicycle rack for public



2/ The relocation occurred June 8, 1992, and the Employer's proposed parking policy was implemented.



3/ Article 13, Section 2, of the parties' CBA states that: "The Employer agrees to continue to provide secure, adequate, convenient parkinq."

4/ 56 Federal Register 42,173 (1991) (to be codified at 41 C.F.R. 101-17.202-2(a) Note) 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 sad- at the regional level and does not require the authorization of the Administrator of General Services. and employee use; and (4) advance notice be given to the Union of any changes involving parking that affects the scope of their agreement, and it be afforded an opportunity to bargain. It also requests that the Panel interpret and apply applicable regulations in deciding who is entitled to three on-site parking spaces that the Employer improperly has decided to reserve for management officials.



For the Employer's parking policy to comply with the CBA, the Union's proposal should be adopted. In this regard, 20 spaces within a block of the office would comply with the agreement. If space is limited, the Employer, in accordance with the C.F.R., should first ask GSA whether any leased parking space is available; if no such space is found, it should request authorization from GSA to exercise its own procurement authority to acquire parking by service contract. This is warranted because public transportation at the new location is virtually nonexistent. Unmetered on-street spaces currently available within 5 blocks of the office are unsuitable, because there is no guarantee that the spaces will be available for employees' use and the city might reserve the spaces for residential use. The same is true of any informal agreement for 12 spaces at a nearby restaurant, since such an agreement can be broken at anytime. Because employees had free on-site parking in the previous location, they should not have to suffer because the Employer did not ask for adequate space for parking. In regard to the bicycle rack, it would alleviate parking problems by encouraging employees and the public to bicycle to the office instead of drive. As to advance notice and the right to bargain concerning any future changes in parking, putting such wording in the agreement would reinforce the Union's statutory rights in these areas, and lessen the chance that the Employer would refuse to bargain over a future change in parking.



2. The Employer's Position



The Employer would have the Panel order the Union to withdraw its proposals so that its current policy could continue undisturbed. It maintains that this policy is reasonable and consistent with the CBA. There are plenty of parking options available for employees within S blocks of the new location, and it is unnecessary to require it to provide free parking space within 1 block of the office, or to request procurement authority for more. In this regard, in addition to off-site parking, it has secured 12 free spaces at a restaurant 1 block away from the new office, 29 unmetered on-street parking spaces are located within 3 blocks from the office, and there is reserved parking available at a city lot approximately 3 blocks away for $30 per car per quarter. The Union's request for a bicycle rack is unnecessary since there was no rack in the old location and it appears that no one bicycles to th