DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS VA CONNECTICUT HEALTHCARE SYSTEM NEWINGTON, CONNECTICUT and LOCAL R1-109, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, SEIU, AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

 

 

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

VA CONNECTICUT HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

NEWINGTON, CONNECTICUT

and

LOCAL R1-109, NATIONAL

ASSOCIATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, SEIU, AFL-CIO

 

Case No. 97 FSIP 144

 

DECISION AND ORDER

    Local R1-109, National Association of Government Employees, SEIU, 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 (the Statute), 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between it and the Department of the Veterans Affairs (DVA), VA Connecticut Healthcare System, Newington, Connecticut (Employer).(1)

    After investigation of the request for assistance, which concerns the establishment of a compressed work schedule (CWS) for the mail room unit at the Newington facility (or campus), the Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved on the basis of single written submissions from the parties, after which a Decision and Order would be issued. Written submissions were made pursuant to this procedure, and the Panel has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The VA Connecticut Healthcare System operates two hospitals (Newington and West Haven) which provide inpatient and outpatient health care services to veterans in Connecticut; the two facilities were previously operated separately, but have merged into one consolidated health care operation. The Union represents, at the local level, approximately 200 bargaining-unit employees at the Newington facility; employees at the West Haven facility are represented by another union. The parties are governed by the terms of the master agreement between DVA and NAGE, due to expire in May 1998, as well as a local supplement which runs concurrently with the master agreement. The Newington mail room unit has two employees assigned to it, only one of whom is a bargaining-unit member. The other is a compensated work therapy (CWT) veteran.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The sole issue in dispute is whether the Panel should order the Employer to establish a CWS for bargaining-unit employees in the Newington mail room.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Union’s Position

    The Union proposes the following 4-10 CWS for bargaining-unit employees in the mail room unit for a 6-month trial peri