DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE WESTERN REGION LAGUNA NIGUEL APPEALS OFFICE LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIFORNIA AND CHAPTER 81, NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

WESTERN REGION

LAGUNA NIGUEL APPEALS OFFICE

LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIFORNIA

AND

CHAPTER 81, NATIONAL TREASURY

EMPLOYEES UNION

Case No. 92 FSIP 192

 

DECISION AND ORDER

    Chapter 81, National Treasury Employees Union (Union or NTEU), 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 the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Western Region, Laguna Niguel Appeals Office, Laguna Niguel, California (Employer or IRS).

    After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the impasse concerning window coverings for offices should be resolved on the basis of 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 has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer's mission is to administer the Nation's tax laws. NTEU represents approximately 112,000 IRS employees within 2 nationwide consolidated bargaining units. The parties have separate collective-bargaining agreements for each unit that expire on June 30, 1994. The dispute concerns approximately 27 bargaining-unit employees which Chapter 81 represents in the Employer's Appeals Office located in Laguna Niguel, California. Those affected hold positions as Appeals Officers whose duties include meeting with taxpayers and their representatives to negotiate settlements over delinquent taxes.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The parties disagree over whether there should be coverings over the glass panels in Appeals Officers' offices.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Union's Position

    The Union proposes that "the Agency will install mini-blinds on all interior glass walls in the offices occupied by and/or designated for Appeals Officers in the Laguna Niguel Appeals Office. These blinds will be installed on the inside of said offices so they can be operated by the occupant of the office." In support of its proposal, it makes similar arguments as in Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Portland District Office, Portland, Oregon and National Treasury Employees Union, Case No. 90 FSIP 151 (Release No. 310) (Portland District Office).(1) In this regard, the option of utilizing mini-blinds would allow greater privacy in Appeals Officers' offic