DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY DEFENSE DISTRIBUTION CENTER MEMPHIS CARETAKER ORGANIZATION MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE and LOCAL 2501, 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 DISTRIBUTION CENTER

MEMPHIS CARETAKER ORGANIZATION

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

 

 

 

 

 

Case No. 99 FSIP 86

and

LOCAL 2501, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

DECISION AND ORDER

    The Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Distribution Center, Memphis Caretaker Organization (MCO), Memphis, Tennessee (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, 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between it and Local 2501, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union).

    Following an investigation of the impasse, arising from local bargaining over the Most Efficient Organization (MEO) for a pending reduction in force (RIF), the Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved through the issuance of an Order to Show Cause why the Panel should not adopt the Employer’s MEO proposal to resolve the dispute.(1) After considering the entire record, including the parties’ statements of position, the Panel would issue a binding decision to resolve the dispute. The parties submitted written statements of position, and the Employer submitted its final offer, pursuant to this procedure.(2) The Panel has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    DOD has reorganized and realigned the activity involved in this case, the former Defense Distribution Depot Memphis, Tennessee (DDMT), pursuant to the legislative mandates in the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC).(3) On December 28, 1998, DDSP notified the Union of its plan to implement a RIF at the MCO, opened Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP) windows, and presented the Union with its MEO proposal for the RIF.(4) MCO is in charge of environmental clean-up and security at the Memphis, Tennessee, site. The Union represents 49 employees, who work as security guards, and material, environmental, and computer specialists. The parties are covered by a regional supplemental and a master collective bargaining agreement.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The parties basically disagree over whether the Employer’s proposal to decrease the number of bargaining-unit positions to 36 (30 full-time and 6 part-time/seasonal) should be adopted.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Union’s Position

    The Union would increase staffing levels to a total of 72 full-time positions. As evidenced by an increase in overtime demand, including "excessive amounts of overtime payments . . . for the past 20 months," the Employer does not have enough staff to meet work requirements. Among other things, the Union also questions whether: (1) MCO is a component of DDSP; (2) the Employer inappropriately engaged in negotiations with other unions which affected the bargaining-unit; and (3) the Employer violated the parties’ ground rules agreement by filing its request for assistance with the Panel prematurely.(5) In essence, until these questions are resolved, the Panel should not issue a decision on the merits of the parties’ dispute.

2. The Employer’s Position

    The original staffing level at the MCO was based upon "speculation of work" that has not materialized. By eliminating some full-time positions and establishing a number of seasonal or part-time positions, staffing levels will be better tailored to meet actual workload requirements. In addition, Congress has mandated the elimination of DDMT; its successor activity, MCO, is only responsible for certain functions until the City of Memphis takes over the facility completely. Because eventually all positions are slated for elimination, its proposed MEO represents just one step in that process. At this stage, the impact on the bargaining unit will be minimal as the RIF affects only a few currently occupied positions. The overtime problems identified by the Union should be rectified "by reengineering our process and procedures within the Security workforce." As to the Union’s jurisdictional arguments, the Employer’s decision to request the Panel’s assistance was consistent with the parties’ ground rules agreement.

CONCLUSION

    Having carefully reviewed the entire record in this case, we shall order the adoption of the Employer’s MEO proposal to resolve the parties’ dispute. In our view, the Union has not shown cause for reaching a different outcome. This conclusion is based on the fact that the MCO will be permanently closed once the City of Memphis asserts total control over the facility and any remaining functions. While we recognize that the inevitable closure is a painful reality for the Union and the employees it represents, its proposal is unwarranted since it appears to be based on the false assumption that the MCO can somehow remain open despite the Congressional mandate for closure and diminishing workload requirements. Regarding the jurisdictional questions raised by the Union, essentially the same arguments were fully examined and rejected at the time the Panel determined to assert jurisdiction over the impasse. There is nothing in the Union’s statement of position that persuades us to reverse our prior determination.(6)

ORDER

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

    The parties shall adopt the Employer’s proposal.

 

By direction of the Panel.

H. Joseph Schimansky

Executive Director

July 27, 1999

Washington, D.C.

1.The Panel declined to assert jurisdiction over a second issue involving competitive areas for a RIF chiefly because the parties failed to exhaust voluntary efforts to resolve their dispute over that issue.

2.Although the Union did not include its final offer in its response to the Order to Show Cause as requested, the Panel considered the proposal it submitted during the initial investigation.

3.Originally, DDMT was aligned with the Defense Distribution Depot Region Central (DDRC), which was eliminated and DDMT moved to Defense Distribution Depot Region West (DDRW). The Employer closed DDMT and established a caretaker activity, the MCO, a secondary level field activity. The MCO was then assigned to the Administrative Support Center East (ASCE). The Employer subsequently closed DDRW and created the Defense Distribution Center (DDC), with primary distribution sites at the Defense Distr