DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY DEFENSE CONTRACT MANAGEMENT COMMAND BOEING PHILADELPHIA RIDLEY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA and LOCAL 1984, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

 

 

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

DEFENSE CONTRACT MANAGEMENT COMMAND

BOEING PHILADELPHIA

RIDLEY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case No. 99 FSIP 89

and

LOCAL 1984, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

ARBITRATOR’S OPINION AND DECISION

    The Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Command Boeing Philadelphia, Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (Employer) and Local 1984, National Federation of Federal Employees (Union) filed a joint request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider a negotiation impasse under section 7119 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel asserted jurisdiction and directed that the parties’ dispute over issues in a successor collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) be submitted to the undersigned for mediation-arbitration. Accordingly, on July 22, 1999, I met with the parties at the contractor’s facility. At the outset, the Union withdrew its proposal on Article 31 and, during mediation, another three issues were resolved (portions of Article 17, 21 and 23). Only one issue remains at impasse requiring an award from the Arbitrator. On the remaining issue, the parties were afforded an opportunity to submit proposals and make supporting arguments. The record is now closed.

BACKGROUND

    The mission of the Defense Contract Management Command, which in the continental United States is divided into East and West Districts, is to manage Department of Defense weapons contracts; typically, employees are stationed at the contractor’s site, in this case, a Boeing helicopter plant in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, 5 miles southwest of Philadelphia. The Employer is part of the Defense Contract Management Command District East.(1) The Union represents a mixed bargaining unit of approximately 67 professional and non-professional employees; typical bargaining-unit positions are aerospace engineer, quality assurance specialist, contract specialist, property management specialist, as well support staff positions. The parties’ current CBA, which was to have expired on December 6, 1998, has been extended until a successor is implemented.

ISSUE

Article 14, Merit Promotion, Section 4(a)(3)

    Section 4 addresses the subject of area of consideration, distinguishing between four groups of positions. During negotiations, the parties agreed to language for all but one group, permanent positions at the GS-7 through GS-13 levels, GS-5/7 trainees, and interns. The current contract (negotiated in 1995) provides that the area of consideration for this group is the Defense Plant Representative Office (DPRO) at Boeing in Ridley Park (this organization is also called DCMC Boeing Philadelphia). The parties have agreed to retain in their new CBA the following existing provision:

(a)(3) For all permanent positions where minorities and/or women are under-represented at the DCMC Boeing Philadelphia and the minimum areas of consideration are not likely to include candidates from the under-represented groups, the area must be extended to whatever area is likely to attract highly qualified candidates from the under-represented groups.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Employer’s Position

    Management’s proposed language would make the area of consideration for the group in question "district-wide." Defense Logistics Agency policy is for district-wide competition and agreements with all other bargaining units within the agency include a district-wide area of consideration for GS-7 through GS-13 positions. Management wants to bring this bargaining unit into conformity with the rest of the agency and create parity between employees with respect to competing for positions. It is unfair for this contract to keep employees from other bargaining units from competing for jobs at Boeing Philadelphia when employees (at Boeing Philadelphia) can compete for jobs elsewhere in the district.

2. The Union’s Position

    The Union’s proposal retains the language of the existing contract. NFFE Local 1984 is not part of a regional or national bargaining certification and can negotiate on behalf of its bargaining-unit members alone. Employees view this provision as a benefit. Management has demonstrated no need for new language since Section (a)(3) has, in fact, permitted them to recruit more widely than DPRO.

CONCLUSION

    No one disputes that, in practice, the area of consideration used for merit promotion actions on GS-7 through GS-13 positions has been district-wide. Management could cite no instance when the existing contract language operated as a bar to employees outside of the bargaining unit being eligible to compete for jobs at Boeing Philadelphia. The Union acknowledges that the conditions for district-wide competition set out in Section (a)(3) exist.

    In interest arbitration, a party seeking a change in the status quo generally has to show the necessity for the change. Where unfair treatment or too narrow competition is alleged, one would expect some evidence that this has indeed taken place to the prejudice of other employees or the agency. In fact, these things have not happened and are not likely to happen. The existing contr