DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY ARMY ARMOR CENTER AND FORT KNOX FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY AND LOCAL 2302, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

 

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

ARMY ARMOR CENTER AND FORT KNOX

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY

AND

LOCAL 2302, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

Case No. 94 FSIP 169

DECISION AND ORDER

    The Department of the Army, Army Armor Center and Fort Knox, Fort Knox, Kentucky (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. § 7119, between it and Local 2302, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union).

    After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the impasse concerning smoking policy should be resolved through the issuance to the parties of an Order to Show Cause why the Panel should not order wording it adopted previously in substantially similar cases.(1) After considering the parties' responses to the Order to Show Cause, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse. Written statements of position and final offers were made pursuant to this procedure and the Panel has considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer's mission is to provide basic training and advance individual training to armor soldiers. The Union represents approximately 2,500 bargaining-unit employees who hold professional and nonprofessional positions such as accountant, attorney, clerk, education specialist, engineer, janitor, mechanic, and truck driver. These employees are scattered throughout the installation, which has over 100 buildings. The parties recently completed negotiations over a new collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) that they anticipate will be implemented soon.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The parties essentially disagree over the extent to which smoking indoors should be prohibited, the extent to which outdoor protection should be provided to smokers, and when the prohibition should go into effect.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Employer's Position

    The Employer generally agrees with the Panel's proposed wording, but offers some modifications "for clarity." It proposes the following:

(1) The smoking of tobacco products in any Fort Knox workplace is prohibited; (2) The Employer shall designate outdoor smoking areas that (a) are reasonably accessible to employees and (b) provide a measure of protection from precipitation. The designation of outdoor areas will not alter the immediate effect of the workplace smoking ban; and (3) Employees shall be offered one smoking cessation course at no cost. Interested employees shall be given administrative leave, workload permitting, to attend the course.

Modifying the prohibition on indoor smoking to include "employee workplaces" is reasonable because this would encompass the current ban on smoking in Government vehicles and aircraft. This was part of its proposal during negotiations, and was not objected to by the Union. Changing "elements" to "precipitation" would avoid any mistaken expectation that either heating or air conditioning is to be provided in outdoor areas, while still requiring a measure of protection from rain, snow, hail, and sleet. Finally, specifying that only "one" smoking cessation program would be offered to employees, coupled with the ban on workplace smoking, "may provide the motivation necessary" to cause smokers to overcome the habit.

2. The Union's Position

    The Union proposes that smoking be allowed indoors in areas where there are adequate facilities that protect employees from second-hand smoke. Where there are no possible indoor solutions, the parties would designate outdoor areas that are reasonably accessible to employees and provide protection from th