National Treasury Employees Union (Union) and Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (Agency)



[ v07 p235 ]
07:0235(35)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


 7 FLRA No. 35
 
 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION
 Union
 
 and
 
 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY,
 INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
 Agency
 
                                            Case No. O-NG-210
 
                DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES
 
    THE PETITION FOR REVIEW IN THIS CASE COMES BEFORE THE FEDERAL LABOR
 RELATIONS AUTHORITY (THE AUTHORITY) PURSUANT TO SECTION 7105(A)(2)(E) OF
 THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE (THE STATUTE) (5
 U.S.C. 7101-7135).  THE ISSUE PRESENTED IS THE NEGOTIABILITY OF SIX
 UNION PROPOSALS.
 
                             UNION PROPOSAL 1
 
    WE WANT PRACTICE, WHERE IT EXISTS, OF ALLOWING ONE COUNT FOR "ALPHA",
 A SECOND COUNT FOR
 
    "X-REFERENCE DIST", AND A THIRD COUNT FOR "OTHER EIN'S" TO CONTINUE.
 THE PRACTICE MAKES SENSE
 
    BECAUSE THE ADDITIONAL RESEARCH TIME REQUIRED TO GO TO TWO OR MORE
 SEPARATE TAPES JUSTIFIES
 
    THE ADDITIONAL COUNT.
 
                             UNION PROPOSAL 2
 
    WE BELIEVE THAT EACH TIME AN EMPLOYEE MUST GO TO A SEPARATE REGISTER
 TO RESEARCH
 
    INFORMATION, A COUNT SHOULD BE RECORDED.
 
                             UNION PROPOSAL 3
 
    AN EMPLOYEE SHOULD RECEIVE ONE COUNT FOR EACH CROSS REFERENCE
 DISTRICT AND ONE COUNT FOR
 
    EACH ADDITIONAL RESEARCH ISSUE GENERATED BY THE CROSS-REFERENCE
 INFORMATION.
 
                             UNION PROPOSAL 4
 
    AN EMPLOYEE SHOULD RECEIVE ONE COUNT FOR A REQUESTED TIN AND ONE
 ADDITIONAL COUNT FOR EACH
 
    ADDITIONAL RESEARCH ISSUE GENERATED BY THE CROSS-REFERENCE
 INFORMATION.
 
                             UNION PROPOSAL 5
 
    AN EMPLOYEE SHOULD RECEIVE ONE COUNT FOR LOOKING AT THE V Z AND ONE
 ADDITIONAL COUNT FOR
 
    GOING TO THE ENTITY TAPE.
 
                      QUESTIONS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY
 
    THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARE WHETHER, AS ALLEGED BY THE AGENCY, UNION
 PROPOSALS 1 THROUGH 5 ARE OUTSIDE THE DUTY TO BARGAIN BECAUSE THEY ARE
 INCONSISTENT WITH SECTION 7106(A)(2)(A) AND (B) OF THE STATUTE OR ARE
 NEGOTIABLE ONLY AT THE ELECTION OF THE AGENCY PURSUANT TO SECTION
 7106(B)(1) OF THE STATUTE.
 
                                  OPINION
 
    CONCLUSION AND ORDER:  UNION PROPOSALS 1 THROUGH 5 ARE NOT
 INCONSISTENT WITH SECTION 7106(A)(2)(A) AND (B) OF THE STATUTE AND ARE
 NOT NEGOTIABLE ONLY AT THE ELECTION OF THE AGENCY PURSUANT TO SECTION
 7106(B)(1) OF THE STATUTE.  ACCORDINGLY, PURSUANT TO SECTION 2424.10 OF
 THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS (5 CFR 2424.10(1981)), IT IS
 ORDERED THAT THE AGENCY SHALL UPON REQUEST (OR AS OTHERWISE AGREED TO BY
 THE PARTIES) BARGAIN CONCERNING UNION PROPOSALS 1 THROUGH 5.  /1/
 
    REASONS:  THE UNION'S PROPOSALS CONCERN THE COUNTING OF TASKS
 INVOLVED IN MICROFILM RESEARCH WORK ACCOMPLISHED BY EMPLOYEES IN THE
 ELEVEN IRS SERVICE CENTERS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY WHERE TAX RETURN
 INFORMATION IS STORED THROUGH THE USE OF AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING
 SYSTEMS.  THE RECORD BEFORE THE AUTHORITY SHOWS THAT THE AGENCY REQUIRES
 THESE EMPLOYEES TO KEEP A LOG OF THE AMOUNT OF WORK THEY COMPLETE EACH
 DAY.  THE INFORMATION FROM THIS LOG PROVIDES A BASIS FOR RATING THE
 QUANTITY FACTOR OF THE EMPLOYEES' PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.  IN THE PAST,
 SERVICE CENTERS HAD BEEN COUNTING THE ITEMS OF WORK IN DIFFERENT
 MANNERS.  THE AGENCY DECIDED TO ADOPT A UNIFORM SYSTEM FOR COUNTING
 UNITS OF WORK NATIONWIDE.  THE UNION REQUESTED NEGOTIATIONS ON THE
 REVISION OF THE COUNTING PROCEDURES FOR MICROFILM EXAMINERS.
 
    THE AGENCY CONTENDS THAT THE DISPUTED PROPOSALS ARE INCONSISTENT WITH
 MANAGEMENT'S RIGHTS TO ASSIGN AND DIRECT EMPLOYEES AND TO ASSIGN WORK
 PURSUANT TO SECTION 7106(A)(2)(A) AND (B) OF THE STATUTE.  /2/ FURTHER,
 THE AGENCY CONTENDS THAT THE PROPOSALS RELATE TO THE METHODS AND MEANS
 OF PERFORMING WORK BY DETERMINING HOW WORK WILL BE COUNTED, AND THEREBY
 ARE NEGOTIABLE ONLY AT THE ELECTION OF THE AGENCY PURSUANT TO SECTION
 7106(B)(1) OF THE STATUTE.  /3/
 
    UNION PROPOSALS 1 THROUGH 5 WOULD ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE FOR COUNTING
 THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED BY UNIT EMPLOYEES.  IN THIS REGARD, THE UNION
 CONCEDES THAT IT DOES NOT SEEK TO NEGOTIATE THE AGENCY'S RIGHT TO COUNT
 WORK OR TO ESTABLISH A SYSTEM FOR COUNTING WORK ON A CONSISTENT BASIS
 NATIONWIDE.  RATHER, THE UNION INTERPRETS ITS PROPOSAL AS MERELY
 PRESCRIBING A PROCEDURE TO ENSURE THAT THE WAY IN WHICH WORK IS COUNTED
 IS EQUITABLE.
 
    IN NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION AND DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY,
 BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT, 3 FLRA NO. 119(1980), THE AUTHORITY
 DETERMINED THAT A PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A PARTICULAR PERFORMANCE
 STANDARD FOR THE QUANTITY OF WORK WHICH AN EMPLOYEE MUST PRODUCE FOR JOB
 RETENTION WAS INCONSISTENT WITH MANAGEMENT'S RIGHTS TO DIRECT EMPLOYEES
 AND ASSIGN WORK UNDER SECTION 7106(A)(2)(A) AND (B) OF THE STATUTE, AND,
 THEREFORE, WAS OUTSIDE THE DUTY TO QUANTITY OF WORK WHICH IT WILL
 REQUIRE OF ITS EMPLOYEES.  THE PROPOSALS IN THE PRESENT CASE, HOWEVER,
 DO NOT RELATE TO THE STANDARD FOR THE QUANTITY OF PRODUCTION REQUIRED;
 RATHER, THE PROPOSALS MERELY CONCERN WHAT ASPECTS OF AN EMPLOYEE'S JOB
 WILL CONSTITUTE DISCRETE UNITS FOR COUNTING PURPOSES.  AS SUCH, UNION
 PROPOSALS 1 THROUGH 5 ONLY APPLY AFTER MANAGEMENT HAS ASSIGNED WORK AND
 HAS DETERMINED THE QUANTITATIVE STANDARD FOR PERFORMANCE.
 
    SINCE THE UNION'S PROPOSALS RELATE TO THE COUNTING OF WORK AFTER THE
 AGENCY HAS DETERMINED, AT ITS SOLE DISCRETION, TO ASSIGN SUCH WORK AND
 TO DIRECT EMPLOYEES TO ACCOMPLISH SUCH WORK THROUGH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF
 QUANTITATIVE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, AND SINCE THE AGENCY MAY ADJUST
 THESE PERFORMANCE STANDARDS TO ACCOMMODATE THE MANNER IN WHICH WORK IS
 TO BE COUNTED, THE PROPOSALS DO NOT, AS ALLEGED BY THE AGENCY, INTERFERE
 WITH MANAGEMENT'S RIGHTS TO ASSIGN WORK OR DIRECT EMPLOYEES.
 SPECIFICALLY, THE PROPOSALS WOULD NOT, IN ANY MANNER, LIMIT MANAGEMENT'S
 AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE WHAT WORK SHALL BE DONE, OR TO DETERMINE THE
 QUANTITY, QUALITY OR TIMELINESS OF WORK REQUIRED OF AN EMPLOYEE.
 RATHER, THE PROPOSALS IN THIS CASE WOULD MERELY ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE
 FOR COUNTING THE WORK ACCOMPLISHED BY EMPLOYEES IN A MANNER WHICH THE
 UNION BELIEVES WILL RESULT IN AN EQUITABLE AND ACCURATE MEASURE OF EACH
 EMPLOYEE'S QUANTITY OF PRODUCTION.  THE PROPOSALS ARE THEREFORE
 NEGOTIABLE PROCEDURES UNDER SECTION 7106(B)(2) /4/ SINCE THEY DO NOT
 PREVENT THE AGENCY FROM ACTING AT ALL WITH RESPECT TO ITS RIGHTS TO
 ASSIGN WORK AND DIRECT EMPLOYEES.  /5/ AS STATED PREVIOUSLY, THE AGENCY
 WOULD NOT BE PREVENTED FROM ESTABLISHING AND ADJUSTING THE STANDARDS OF
 PERFORMANCE TO BE USED.  ACCORDINGLY, THE AGENCY'S ALLEGATION THAT THE
 PROPOSALS ARE INCONSISTENT WITH SECTION 7106(A)(2)(A) AND (B) OF THE
 STATUTE CANNOT BE SUSTAINED.
 
    LIKEWISE, THE AGENCY'S CLAIM THAT UNION PROPOSALS 1 THROUGH 5 WOULD
 INTERFERE WITH ITS RIGHT TO DETERMINE THE METHODS AND MEANS OF
 PERFORMING WORK PURSUANT TO SECTION 7106(B)(1) OF THE STATUTE CANNOT BE
 SUSTAINED.  AS ALREADY STATED, THE PROPOSED PROCEDURES WOULD NOT
 DETERMINE HOW OR BY WHOM THE AGENCY'S WORK (I.E., MICROFILM RESEARCH)
 WILL BE CONDUCTED OR IN WHAT MANNER SUCH WORK SHALL BE PROCESSED.
 RATHER, THE PROPOSALS CONCERN ONLY THE FORM IN WHICH WORK WOULD BE
 MEASURED OR COUNTED AFTER THE AGENC