14:0019(3)NG - NFFE Local 108 and Agriculture, Arkansas State Office of the Farmers Home Administration -- 1984 FLRAdec NG

[ v14 p19 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 14 FLRA No. 3
                                            Case No. O-NG-526
    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 raises issues
 concerning the negotiability of 14 Union proposals.  Upon careful
 consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions,
 /1/ the Authority makes the following determinations.
    It appears that the Union's proposals respond to a management plan to
 change the position classification series of certain bargaining unit
 employees, designated as "COA's", and to make them subject to a new
 standardized position description.  In this connection, the Union states
 that implementation of the new position description "will greatly
 increase the workload on the COA's" and, in some instances, will result
 in some employees performing technical duties.
    For convenience of discussion, the Union's proposals have been
 grouped together in this decision by subject matter:
                     (1) Proposals Concerning Training
    (A) In order to perform the tasks outlined, we are requesting the
          1.  Training be given the COA's in processing and servicing
       activities in accordance with FmHA procedures.
          2.  A three day training seminar be held by a professional on
       drafting news releases and giving presentations to groups.
       Further, this training would be made available prior to the COA
       performing these functions.
    (B) Disposition of delinquent cases and carrying out collection
 activities through telephone and personal contacts and advising
 borrowers of their rights and interest credit is an added duty.
 Training of at least three days by State Office personnel in the area of
 Farmer Program and Rural Housing prior to performing duties.
    (C) A one day training to prepare the COA to represent the County
 supervisor at meetings with borrowers, contractors or other interested
 parties.  (If this duty is to include discussing construction contracts,
 etc., more time should be required for training.)
    (D) Special delegations which include countersigning borrower checks,
 checks for the use of loan funds, release of security property and lien
 searches would require training in the use of farm plans, construction
 contracts security and legal documents, and terms found on lien
          1.  A two day training session by a professional in legal
       terminology sufficient to understand deeds, liens, title searches
       bankruptcy proceedings and the processing of legal instruments and
       supporting documents particular to loan making.
    (E) New COA's with little or no knowledge of FmHA procedures and
 policy should receive two weeks formal training as soon as employed plus
 other training in specific areas as outlined for the experienced COA's.
    (F) Implementation data-- for new duties, would be effective as soon
 as training is received by each COA.  Series established duties changed
 after training required for special areas is received only.
    (G) COA's who are GS-4 should receive the "special" training where
 and if when (sic) promoted to 1101 Series.  (The bracketed letters
 preceding each proposal have been assigned for convenience of
    These training proposals are to the same effect as the portion of a
 proposal requiring management to assign formal training to employees to
 enable them to perform in a position "of equivalent significance and
 grade value" in American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO,
 Local 1923 and Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security
 Administration, 9 FLRA No. 122(1982), which the Authority found to be
 inconsistent with management's right under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the
 Statute "to assign work." Hence, based on Social Security
 Administration, and the reasons and cases cited therein, these proposals
 which would require the Agency to provide certain specified training are
 also outside the duty to bargain.
    Further, the Union proposal designated (F) would condition the
 assignment of new duties upon completion of the prescribed training.
 Thus proposal (F), by imposing a condition upon the assignment of work
 to employees, is to the same effect as Union Proposal 1, requiring
 employees performing in a substandard manner to be assigned other work
 at the same grade level before adverse action could be taken, in
 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1760 and Department
 of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Northeast
 Program Service Center, 9 FLRA No. 142(1982), which the Authority found
 to be nonnegotiable because it conditioned "the exercise of one
 (management) right upon the prior exercise of the other in a prescribed
 manner." Similarly, proposal (F) herein would condition management's
 exercise of its section 7106(a)(2)(B) right to assign work upon its
 prior exercise of that same right by requiring that training be assigned
 before new duties are performed.  Thus, proposal (F) is nonnegotiable
 for the reasons stated in Social Security Administration, Northeast
 Program Service Center.
                   (2) Proposal Concerning Work Backlog
          If the COA, as a result of added duties, has a backlog of work
       the County Supervisor will aid in handling of all duties in the
       County Office.  All Supervisors will be instructed of their
       responsibilities in writing in providing this office assistance.
    This proposal, requiring that, where a backlog exists, supervisors
 will be assigned the excess work, is to the same effect as Union
 Proposal VII, requiring the assignment of specified duties to a
 designated employee, in National Treasury Employees Union and Department
 of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 6 FLRA 508(1981), which the
 Authority found was inconsistent with management's right under section
 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute "to assign work." Thus, for the reasons
 detailed in Internal Revenue Service, the Union proposal herein is
 outside the duty to bargain.
                  (3) Proposals Concerning Career Ladder
          In accordance with a memorandum dated April 15, 1971, Page 2,
       Paragraph 4, we would want a team of 2 Union and 2 Nonunion
       members to develop a specific career ladder to coincide with this
       job description.  This panel should meet to establish this as soon
       as the Position is implemented.
          Some offices have no promotion potential within their county--
       a career ladder is needed to cover these.
                 (4) Proposals Concerning Smaller Offices
          In some counties, it would not be possible for the COA to
       follow the job description because