DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE 3200TH MISSION SUPPORT SQUADRON EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA and LOCAL 1897, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

3200TH MISSION SUPPORT SQUADRON

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA

and

LOCAL 1897, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

Case No. 92 FSIP 188

DECISION AND ORDER

    The Department of the Air Force, 3200th Mission Support Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Eglin APB, Florida (Employer) 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. 5 7119, between it and Local 1897, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union).

    After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel directed the parties to meet with Assistant Executive Director Joseph Schimansky for the purpose of resolving issues concerning their successor collective-bargaining agreement. The parties were advised that if no settlement were reached, Mr. Schimansky would report to the Panel on the status of the dispute, including his recommendations for resolving the issues. Following consideration of this information, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse, including the issuance of a binding decision. Accordingly, Mr. Schimansky met with the parties on August 5, 1992, at Eglin AFB, Florida, but a complete agreement was not reached.(1) He reported to the Panel on the status of the dispute, and the Panel has now considered the entire record in the case.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer's mission is to research, develop, and test non-nuclear weapons. The Union represents approximately 750 employees located at both Eglin AFB and Hurlbert Field, Florida, who work at the Employer's non-appropriated-fund instrumentalities in a wide variety of retail and service positions. The parties' collective-bargaining agreement expired on January 2, 1983, but has been automatically extended for additional periods of 3 years since that date. The parties will have a new agreement pending resolution of the instant dispute.

    The parties are at impasse over the Union's use of the Employer's internal mail distribution system.

1. The Union's Position

    During the informal conference, as part of the negotiations which led to an agreement that the Union would be provided with on-base office space, it also proposed that it have access to the Employer's internal mail distribution system, known as the Base Information Transfer System (BITS). Such access apparently would save it both time and money, and improve its ability to communicate with the bargaining unit and management officials. Subsequently, however, the Union failed to submit a final