DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION BALTIMORE, MARYLAND AND LOCAL 1923, 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

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

AND

LOCAL 1923, AMERICAN FEDERATION

OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

Case No. 92 FSIP 175

DECISION AND ORDER

    Local 1923, 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, Baltimore, Maryland (Employer or SSA).

    Following investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the impasse, concerning Union parking permits, 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 they are otherwise lawful. Written submissions were made pursuant to this procedure and the Panel has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer administers various Social Security programs for the public. The Union represents approximately 13,000 employees at SSA Headquarters who hold positions such as teleservice, claims, field, and service representative, clerk, secretary, paralegal, computer and programming specialist, data review technician, post-entitlement technical expert, and contract specialist. The parties are covered by a national collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) which expired on January 25, 1993, but continues to be honored until a new one is implemented. The dispute arose as a result of local bargaining concerning the Employer's plan to reregister employees who have work-related parking permits.(1)

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

The parties basically disagree over whether the Union's work-related parking permits should be decreased from 29 to 12.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Employer's Position

    The Employer proposes to "continue to provide AFGE Local 1923 with reserved lane and space permits for both the president and vice president and 12 additional work-related (Union courtesy) parking permits." The preregistration is intended to reinforce its longstanding policy of not permitting employees with work-related permits to park in reserved areas at their permanent duty stations. Since, in accordance with applicable Government wide regulations,(2) the permits are supposed to be used strictly for employees who travel between buildings on official Government business, there is no need for 29 Union work-related permits. In this regard, examination of current Union permit holders reveals that some do not even drive to work; others hold positions that do not justify their use. Furthermore, there is ample accessible free parking in unreserved areas at most SSA Headquarters buildings. Its final offer of 12 courtesy parking permits would give the Union sole discretion in issuing them, affording it "much more flexibility to distribute passes without the requirement to justify the need for such permits in the future."

2. The Union's Position

    The Union proposes that the Employer maintain the status quo. In this regard, there is no need to reduce the number of permits it has at present. The Employer's proposal, if adopted, would reduce by more than 50 percent the number of Union work-related permits. The number of employees at Headquarters has dropped from approximately 20,000 to 13,000 within the last 10 years. Thus, there are sufficient parking spaces for all employees without needing to reduce the number of permits. Furthermore, all Union representatives are "regularly required to travel between all sites to perform Union-related duties and responsibilities." Finally, it notes that the issue over work-related parking permits may be more appropriately addressed during ongoing term negotiations, where a proposal regarding Union parking arrangements is currently on the bargaining table.

CONCLUSIONS

    Having considered the evidence and arguments in this case, we are persuaded that, given the final-offer selection procedure, the Employer's final offer provides the better resolution of the dispute. In our view, it has demonstrated on the basis of the evidence presented that many of the current Union permit holders are not entitled to them, and that its proposal would better ensure compliance with Government wide regulations. Moreover, there is ample accessible free parking in unreserved areas at most SSA Headquarters buildings for employees who will lose the permits. As to the Union's suggestion that this matter should be addressed at the National level, such must be rejected. The record indicates that the negotiations in this case arose as a local parking matter, and have continued for well over a year. In such circumstances, we believe that the resolution of the issue has been delayed long enough. Accordingly, we shall order the adoption of the Employer's final offer.

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