DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU CONNECTICUT ARMY AND AIR NATIONAL GUARD HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT and LOCAL Rl-185, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, SEIU, AFL-CIO





United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL







In the Matter of )

)

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE )

NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU )

CONNECTICUT ARMY AND AIR NATIONAL GUARD )

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT )

)

and ) Case No. 92 FSIP 93

)

LOCAL Rl-185, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION )

OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, SEIU, AFL-CIO)

)

________________________________________)





DECISION AND ORDER



Local R1-185, National Association of Government Employees,

SEIU, 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 Defense, National Guard Bureau, Connecticut Army and Air

National Guard, Hartford, Connecticut (Employer).



After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel

determined that the impasse concerning annual leave and working

temperatures 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, and the Panel now has considered the

entire record.1/



BACKGROUND



The Employer's mission is to train individuals to support the Army and Air Force during national emergencies or war and provide assistance during state emergencies. The bargaining unit consists of approximately 465 employees in the Connecticut National Guard, who are Federal employees falling within the jurisdiction of the National Guard Technicians Act (ACT).2/ Employees hold positions



________________________

1/ Neither party filed a rebuttal statement.



2/ 32 U.S.C. section 709 (1988).





such as supply clerk, maintenance worker, aircraft mechanic and

automobile mechanic. They also are assigned to a compatible

military assignment commensurate with their full-time duties in

order to comply with the ACT. The parties are covered by a local

agreement that expired in 1991 but continues to be honored until a new one is reached as a result of the Panel's decision in this

case.



ISSUES



The parties are at impasse over issues involving: (1) annual

leave and (2) working temperatures.



POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES



1. Annual Leave



a. The Union's Position



The Union proposes the following:



Annual leave which will be earned during the leave year will be

credited to the employee's leave account at the beginning of the

year. This will be reflected in either the leave and earnings

statement or by separate letter to each employee during the first

period of the year.



The Union maintains that (1) its proposal is consistent with

current contract wording and (2) it should be adopted, because

employees want to know in advance how much annual leave they can

accrue during the year. This would diminish misconceptions that

employees cannot request an advance of annual leave, in accordance with appropriate regulations. Moreover, by giving the Employer the option of informing employees of the amount of leave they will accrue during the year by letter, any argument that the computer system cannot accommodate its proposal is circumvented.



b. The Employer's Position

The Employer proposes that annual leave earned during the

leave year be credited to the employee's leave account as it is

earned, in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. Its

proposal is consistent with a similar system for crediting annual

leave that all Department of Defense (DOD) payroll offices will use by 1994. Because it furnishes a leave and earnings chart for

employees to compute and keep track of annual leave every year,

retention of the current practice is unnecessary. Finally, adoption of its proposal would lessen the chance of misunderstandings over whether what is in a leave account is earned leave or part of a credit that needs to be earned.





CONCLUSIONS



Having considered the evidence and arguments on this issue, we are persuaded that the Employer's proposal provides the better

basis for settlement. In our view, the Union's proposal appears

unnecessary. In this regard, the leave and earnings chart that

employees receive to tabulate how much leave they will accrue

during the year should be sufficient to meet employee needs.

Furthermore, the Employer's proposal has the advantage of being

consistent with methods to be used by the DOD in crediting annual

leave in the near future, and should eliminate any misunderstandings which may have arisen under the parties' current provision regarding the advance use of credited leave. For these reasons, we shall order its adoption.



2. Working Temperatures



a. The Union's Position

The Union proposes the following wording:



(a) It is agreed that employees shall not be required to work on outside equipment or under severe weather conditions as

determined by the senior supervisor with mission responsibility,

when such conditions jeopardize the safety and health of the

employee and the mission;



(b) A -25F degree wind/temperature factor is considered unsafe and employees will only work in temperatures exceeding -25F degree for emergency situations.



Its proposal simply maintains the status quo; there is no

evidence of past problems to warrant changing the current wording. Because the Employer may still assign work in emergency situations "if the temperature should fall between -26F and -40F," management retains "complete control" over its right to assign work.



b. The Employer's Position

The Employer proposes that "when the wind chill factor falls

between -26 to -40 degrees, employees will be required to work

outdoors for short periods only if cold weather clothing is

provided. In this temperature range only mission essential work

will be performed."



Unlike the Union's, its proposal would ensure that mission

essential work, such as bringing vehicles or aircraft into the

garages or hangers to perform maintenance, is performed when

specified temperatures occur. This would be done while at the same time protecting employees by providing cold-weather clothing. Moreover, "when the exposure to these temperatures will exceed 15 minutes, a heated tent/shelter or vehicle is made available for warm up." Additionally, "the agency has no intention of requiring work at temperatures below -40 wind chill except when it is determined to be an emergency."



ORDER



Pursuant to the authority vested in it by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. S 7119, and because of the failure of the parties to resolve their dispute during the course of the proceedings instituted under the Panel's regulations, 5 C.F.R. S 2471.6(a) (2), the Federal Service Impasses Panel under S 2471.11(a) of its regulations hereby orders the following:



1. Annual Leave





The parties shall adopt the Employer's proposal.



2. Working Temperatures





The parties shall adopt the Union's proposal.



By direction of the Panel.