DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE HEADQUARTERS, SPACE AND MISSILE SYSTEMS CENTER AIR FORCE MATERIEL COMMAND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA and LOCAL 2429, 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

HEADQUARTERS, SPACE AND MISSILE 

  SYSTEMS CENTER

AIR FORCE MATERIEL COMMAND

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

and

LOCAL 2429, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

Case NoS. 92 FSIP 206 and 92 FSIP 213

DECISION AND ORDER

    Local 2429, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union) in Case No. 92 FSIP 206 and the Department Of the Air Force, Headquarters, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Los Angeles, California (Employer) in Case No. 92 FSIP 213 filed requests with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider a negotiation impasse under 5 U.S.C. § 119 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute).

    The Panel determined to consolidate the cases and that the dispute concerning smoking policy should be resolved on the basis of the parties' responses to an Order to Show Cause why the Panel should not mandate the following provision:

(1) Smoking in all buildings at Los Angeles Air Force Base, except in the designated area of the warehouse in Building 229 and the designated bar area of the Club during non-duty hours, shall be prohibited.

(2) Smoking cessation classes shall be provided at no cost for interested employees, who shall be excused from work on official time, workload permitting, to attend classes that are scheduled during their work time.

(3) The Employer shall designate outdoor smoking areas at each building covered by the above policy which (a) are reasonably accessible to employees and (b) provide a measure of protection from the elements.

Submissions were made pursuant to these procedures. The Panel has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer is a component of the newly-merged Air Force Materiel Command, with a mission of research and development relating to spacecraft and launch vehicles. It provides support for the Strategic Defense Initiative and other satellite programs. The Union represents approximately 1,000 General Schedule employees, who hold such positions as quality assurance and budget analyst, contract specialist, secretary, and clerk. The parties are covered by a collective-bargaining agreement which was to expire in 1982, but has been renewed automatically each year.

    The dispute arose during negotiations over the Employer's decision to ban smoking indoors, except in the designated areas of a warehouse and the Club during non-duty hours. The Union opposes the change in policy.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The dispute concerns whether (1) employees should be permitted to smoke in designated areas of eating facilities, cocktail lounges, and the bar and (2) the Employer should provide complete protection from the elements in regard to outdoor designated smoking areas.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Employer's Position

    The Employer concurs with the wording set forth in the Panel's Order to Show cause.

2. The Union's Position

    Essentially, the Union proposes a modified version of the Panel's wording in its Order to Show Cause: (1) where ventilation systems and air movement patterns are sufficient to protect the health and comfort of nonsmoking patrons, smoking would be permitted in designated areas of eating facilities, cocktail lounges, and bars, and (2) designated outdoor smoking areas at each building should be reasonably accessible and shall provide complete protection from rain and other inclement weather. The Union does not specifically object to the Panel's wording regarding cessation classes.

    The Union asserts that the parties previously have agreed on criteria for determining in which eating and drinking facilities smoking areas should be designated. Any contrary wording imposed by the Panel would violate the terms of the agreement. Additionally, permitting indoor smoking in the warehouse alone is inadequate since that area is available only to a limited number of employees. The main eating facilities have sufficient ventilation for smokers in designated areas. As to paragraph 3 of the Panel's Order, it is inadequate since a "measure of protection" means smokers still may be subject to adverse weather conditions. The Union's proposal, on the other hand, offers a better solution since it would tend to ensure that smokers are protected from the elements.

CONCLUSIONS

    Having considered the parties' evidence and arguments, we conclude that the dispute over smoking should be resolved on the basis of a modified version of the Panel's wording in its Order to Show Cause. In our view, the Union has argued convincingly that the wording proffered by the Panel may serve to undermine that portion of the smoking policy previously agreed to by the parties concerning indoor designated smoking areas. We recognize, however, that there may be a need to modify that agreement because the ventilation systems in the eating facilities, cocktail lounges, and bars may not be sufficient to protect the health of employees who frequent those establishments. In this regard, the Panel is cognizant that even small amounts of sidestream smoke can be hazardous to employees. Therefore, we find that the parties should adopt the following modification:

Smoking shall be prohibited in all buildings except in designated areas of the warehouse area of Building 229, and designated areas of ;all eating facilities, cocktail lounges, and bars, on the assumption and condition that the ventilation systems in these designated smoking areas are separate from and do not feed into work areas. No employee covered by this Order shall be subjected involuntarily to secondhand smoke.

    As to the Union's proposal which seeks complete protection from the elements at outdoor designated smoking areas, we find that it is unwarranted. To provide complete protection may cause an undue financial burden on the Employer. Furthermore, the Los Angeles climate should not necessitate such an action. Therefore, we will order the parties to adopt that portion of the Panel's Order concerning outside designated smoking areas. As to smoking cessation classes, since neither party objected to the Panel's wording, we shall order its adoption.

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

(1) Smoking shall be prohibited in all buildings except in designated areas of the warehouse area of Building 229, and designated areas of all eating facilities, cocktail lounges, and bars, on the assumption and condition that the ventilation systems in these designated smoking areas are separate from and do not feed into work areas. No employee covered by this Order shall be subjected involuntarily to secondhand smoke.

(2) Smoking cessation classes shall be provided at no cost for interested employees, who shall be excused from work with no charge to leave, workload permitting, to attend classes that are scheduled during their work time.

(3)