15:0790(150)CA - DOD, Army, HQ, XVIII Airborne Corps, and Fort Bragg and AFGE Local 1770 -- 1984 FLRAdec CA

[ v15 p790 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 15 FLRA No. 150
 Charging Party
                                            Case Nos. 4-CA-803 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
    This matter is before the Authority pursuant to the Regional
 Director's "Order Transferring Case to the Authority" in accordance with
 section 2429.1(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
    Upon consideration of the entire record, including the stipulation of
 facts, accompanying exhibits, and the parties' contentions, the
 Authority finds:
    At all times relevant herein, the American Federation of Government
 Employees, Local 1770, AFL-CIO (the Union), has been recognized as the
 exclusive representative of a unit consisting of all eligible
 appropriated fund civilian employees who are "administered by
 Respondent's Civilian Personnel Office." A collective bargaining
 agreement between the parties has been in effect during this period,
 Article VI of which provides as follows:
                                ARTICLE VI
          SECTION 1.  The Employer recognizes the Officers, duly
       designated representatives, and a reasonable number of stewards,
       duly elected or appointed, who shall meet with the employer or his
       designated representatives, on a mutually agreeable basis.  The
       primary purpose of such meetings will be to exchange information
       regarding current work problems, to discuss expected changes in
       civilian personnel policies or regulations, and to consult as
       necessary on matters covered by this Agreement.
          SECTION 2.  The Employer agrees to recognize the Officers of
       the Union and a reasonable numbers (sic) of Stewards as required.
       The Union agrees that Shop Stewards and Chief Stewards will be
       selected who possess qualities of leadership and responsibility
       and who will deal with employees and Management in a manner that
       will inspire confidence and respect.
          SECTION 3.  The Union will designate stewards so that each
       employee in the Unit will have reasonable access to a steward and
       shall supply the Civilian Personnel Office in writing, on a
       current basis, a complete list of all Union Officers,
       Representatives, and Stewards together with the organizational
       area and location where each such representative and steward has
       been assigned.
          SECTION 4.  Each steward will normally restrict his union
       activities to his assigned work area or organizational location in
       which he is appointed to serve.  Time used by stewards during duty
       hours in the performance of their steward duties will be with the
       prior knowledge and permission of the steward's immediate
       supervisor and shall be limited to the extent necessary to
       preclude undue interference with assigned essential duties.
       During such granted absence, the steward will confine his
       activities to the conduct of that business for which approval of
       absence was granted, return directly to his work area upon
       completion of the business at hand, and personally notify his
       appropriate supervisor of his return to duty.  In the event the
       steward's official business cannot be concluded within the
       approved time of absence, he may contact his immediate supervisor
       and request additional time and be governed accordingly.
       Supervisors will grant a steward's request for an absence for
       representational purposes unless such absence would cause an undue
       interruption of work or jeopardize the operation of the work unit.
        If a specific request is denied, the steward and supervisor will
       seek mutual agreement on an alternate time for absence.  The
       steward and supervisor will take reasonable action to prevent
       missing any deadline imposed by law, regulations, or provision of
       this Agreement.
    On December 3, 1980, the Union advised Respondent that pursuant to
 Article VI, section 2 of the negotiated agreement, it was appointing Mr.
 Eugene P. Reed as Steward for Handicapped Employees.  Respondent replied
 on December 9, 1980 stating it would not recognize the designation of
 Mr. Reed, due to its position against recognizing Stewards-at-large.  By
 letter dated January 19, 1981, the Union advised the Respondent that it
 had designated Mr. Reed as the Shop Steward for Engine Rebuild Shop,
 Building 2-3614, and that as of December 3, 1980, Mr. Reed was also
 appointed, pursuant to Article VI, sections 1 and 2 of the parties'
 agreement, the Union Representative Specializing in Problems Concerning
 Handicapped Employees on the Installation.  In a written response dated
 January 30, 1981, the Respondent acceded to the appointment of Mr. Reed
 as Shop Steward but refused to recognize Mr. Reed as the Union's
 Representative Specializing in Problems Concerning Handicapped Employees
 on the Installation reiterating its position on Stewards-at-large.
    On or about February 18, 1981, Mr. Reed was terminated from his
 employment with Respondent.  Thereafter, on or about March 31, 1981, the
 Respondent on two separate occasions, through its representative Charles
 M. Hill and Jerry W. Holstad, verbally refused to recognize Mr. Reed as
 the steward of the Union on the grounds that Mr. Reed was terminated
 from his employment with the Respondent.
    The amended consolidated complaint alleges that the Respondent's
 failure and refusal to recognize Mr. Reed as the Union's designated
 representative on January 30, 1981, and as the Union's designated
 representative and steward on March 31, 1981 and April 14, 1981,
 constitutes a violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.
 /1/ More specifically, it alleges that such conduct constitutes a clear
 and patent breach of Article VI, section 1 through 3 of the parties'
 negotiated agreement in violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the
 Statute;  a failure to bargain in good faith with the Union in violation
 of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute;  and interference with
 employee rights in violation of section 7116(a)(1) of the Statute.
    In American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, 4 FLRA 272
 (1980), the Authority determined that it is within the discretion of
 labor organizations holding exclusive recognition to designate their
 representatives when fulfilling their responsibilities under the
 Statute.  Furthermore, an agency violates section 7116(a)(5) of the
 Statute when it refuses to deal with the particular individuals selected
 by the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit of its employees
 for negotiation, and also thereby violates section 7116(a)(1) of the
 Statute inasmuch as its action interferes with the rights of employees
 as set forth in section 7102 of the Statute.  See Department of the Air
 Force, 91