U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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15:0610(130)NG - NTEU and Treasury, IRS, Cleveland District Office -- 1984 FLRAdec NG

[ v15 p610 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 15 FLRA No. 130
                                            Case No. O-NG-428
    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).  Upon careful
 consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions,
 the Authority makes the following determination.
    The negotiability appeal in this case arose out of the removal by the
 Agency of file cabinets and material belonging to local chapters of the
 Union at the Agency's Youngstown and Toledo offices in the Cleveland
 District.  By way of background, prior to 1981 when individual District
 Office bargaining units were consolidated into a nationwide bargaining
 unit, the local Union chapters at Youngstown and Toledo were permitted
 to keep file cabinets in their local offices and in some instances were
 supplied file cabinets by the Agency.  In 1981, subsequent to the
 negotiation of a national collective bargaining agreement known as the
 NORD (National Office, Regions and Districts), the Agency first notified
 the local Union chapters at the Youngstown and Toledo offices that file
 cabinets and other materials would have to be removed.  The Union
 requested bargaining over this change and the Agency refused, claiming
 that its actions were in accordance with the new national agreement
 which made no provision for supplying file cabinets or other materials
 to local chapters of the Union.  Thereafter, the Agency removed the
 materials from its Youngstown and Toledo facilities and put them in
 storage.  The Union filed a negotiability appeal and an unfair labor
 practice charge alleging that this conduct constituted a unilateral
 change in past practice.  Pursuant to section 2424.5 of the Authority's
 Rules and Regulations, the Union elected to proceed with the unfair
 labor practice charge and to suspend further action on the negotiability
    Upon investigation of the unfair labor practice charge, the Regional
 Director concluded that the Agency was not required to bargain over the
 change because the matter of providing office facilities, including file
 cabinets, was covered in the national agreement between the parties
 which superceded the past practice in effect when the parties bargained
 at the district level.  The Union thereupon appealed the Regional
 Director's determination to the General Counsel.  The General Counsel
 denied the appeal, agreeing with the Regional Director that the matter
 of providing office facilities was included in the NORD agreement after
 extensive bargaining on the matter.  The General Counsel noted that the
 dispute essentially revolved around the parties' differing and arguable
 interpretations of the contract and was more properly resolved through
 the dispute resolution procedure provided for in the agreement.
    In the absence of a duty to bargain between the parties, issues as to
 whether a particular proposal is inconsistent with applicable law, rule
 or regulation are not appropriate for resolution by the Authority.
 National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1363 and Headquarters,
 U.S. Army Garrison, Yongsan, Korea, 8 FLRA 200 (1982), and National
 Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1363 and Headquarters, U.S. Army
 Garrison, Yongsan, Korea, 8 FLRA 134 (1982).  Thus, inasmuch as the
 Regional Director has determined that there was no obligation on the
 Agency to bargain, it is concluded that the instant appeal is now moot.
    Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Union's petition for review be, and
 it hereby is, dismissed.
    Issued, Washington, D.C., August 28, 1984
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Member
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY