[ v11 p122 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
11 FLRA No. 30 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO LOCAL 3748 Union and DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE AND EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION, PERSONNEL DIVISION, HYATTSVILLE, MARYLAND Agency Case No. O-NG-491 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and presents issues relating to the negotiability of the following Union proposal. Proposal IV. Official Facilities (d) The employer will make available to the union negotiating team the use of the employer's Federal Telecommunications System facilities during negotiations of ground rules and a collective bargaining agreement to facilitate the collective bargaining process. It is understood that the telephone network will be used only in relation to the official business of collective bargaining. Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determinations. In agreement with the Union, the Authority finds that the proposed use of Federal Telecommunications System for labor-management relations purposes, i.e., by Union representatives negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, concerns matters directly related to conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees and is within the duty to bargain under the Statute. See American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 2 FLRA 604, 609-10 (1980), enforced as to other matters sub nom. Department of Defense v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 659 F.2d 1140 (D.C. Cir. 1981), cert. denied sub nom. AFGE v. FLRA, . . . U.S. . . . , 102 S.Ct. 1443 (1982). The Agency further argues that the proposal is contrary to GSA regulation in that such use of the telephone service cannot be construed to be official business. However, it acknowledges that Union negotiators will be authorized "official time" under section 7131(a) of the Statute. Such negotiators, while on official time, and contrary to the Agency's assertion, are not engaged in "internal union business." Rather, they are deemed to be on "official Government business." See Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 672 F.2d 732, 738-39 (9th Cir. 1982), enforcing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Western Region, Department of the Treasury, San Francisco, California and National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 81, 4 FLRA No. 40 (1980). /1/ Consequently, as such negotiators are engaged in "official Government business," the proposed use of the Agency's telephone system to facilitate such business would be consistent with applicable regulations restricting the use of the Government telephone system to official business. See 41 CFR Part 101-37 (1981). Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Agency shall upon request (or as otherwise agreed to by the parties) bargain concerning the Union proposal. /2/ Issued, Washington, D.C., January 27, 1983 Ronald W. Haughton, Chairman Henry B. Frazier III, Member Leon B. Applewhaite, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms involved both the issue of official time for impact and implementation negotiations and the issue of travel and per diem expenses. But see Division of Military and Naval Affairs, State of New York (Albany, New York), 7 FLRA No. 69 (1981), reversed sub nom. Division of Military and Naval Affairs v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 683 F.2d 45 (2d Cir. 1982) and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Science and Education Administration, Agricultural Research, North Central Region, Dakotas-Alaska Area and Local 3748, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, 6 FLRA No. 45 (1981), reversed sub nom. United States Department of Agriculture v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 691 F.2d 1242 (8th Cir. 1982) with respect to the issue of travel and per diem expenses. /2/ In deciding that the proposal is within the duty to bargain, the Authority makes no judgment as to its merits.