DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY DEFENSE PLANT REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE BETHPAGE, NEW YORK AND LOCAL 2693, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

DEFENSE PLANT REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE

BETHPAGE, NEW YORK

AND

LOCAL 2693, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

Case No. 94 FSIP 103

DECISION AND ORDER

    Local 2693, 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 Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Plant Representative Office (DPRO), Bethpage, New York (Employer).

   After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved through an informal teleconference with a Panel representative. The parties were advised that if no settlement were reached, the Panel's representative would notify the Panel of the status of the dispute, including the final offers of the parties, and would make recommendations for resolving the impasse. After considering this information, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse, including the issuance of a binding decision.

   Pursuant to the Panel's determination, Staff Associate Nick G. Duris conducted a telephone conference with the parties on June 28, 1994. During the proceeding, the parties were unable to reach agreement on the outstanding issue. Mr. Duris has reported to the Panel, and it has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer's mission is to administer Government contracts for major weapons systems and logistical support items. The Union represents approximately 200 bargaining-unit employees who hold positions such as contract administrator and industrial specialist. The parties are covered by a master collective-bargaining agreement (MCBA) that expires in 1996. They are also subject to a local supplemental agreement that remains in effect until a new agreement is reached.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The issue at impasse involves stays of disciplinary actions for Union officials.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Union's Position

The Union's proposal is as follows:

DPRO Grumman-Bethpage and AFGE, Local 2693 agree that whenever a disciplinary action is proposed against a Union official and that Union official interposes a defense of protected activity under P.L. 95-454,(1) then the imposition of any subsequent disciplinary penalty shall be postponed, until the underlying dispute is either adjudicated by an arbitrator or, for 120 days, whichever occurs first.

Its proposal would provide "a contractual safeguard against unjustified and unwarranted disciplinary action[s]" against Union officials for performing their representational functions under the law. This is necessary due to past disciplinary action taken against the Union president.(2) Although vindicated by the arbitrator's decision, this nevertheless has produced a "chilling" effect on the Union representatives. In this regard, they fear that "similar legitimate Union comment" would subject them to similar discipline or even possible removal. A brief stay of 120 days to permit appeal to a third party not only would alleviate this concern, but would also avoid the necessity of possible corrective actions later on. Finally, since proposal limits its application to Union officials, who are less than 4 percent of the bargaining unit, its implementation should not be overly disruptive to the Employer's operations.