U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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15:0918(173)NG - INS and National INS Council, AFGE -- 1984 FLRAdec NG

[ v15 p918 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 15 FLRA No. 173
 Charging Party
                                            Case No. 3-CA-1839
                            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 in this case, including the
 stipulation of facts and accompanying exhibits, and the parties'
 contentions, the Authority finds:
    The Respondent, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), is
 responsible, inter alia, for ensuring that passengers entering the
 United States at airports are in compliance with certain immigration
 laws.  The function is performed by the Respondent's officers through
 inspection of passengers and their documents at points of entry at the
 airports.  Similar inspections are conducted at the airports and other
 entry locations, regarding baggage, packages and cargo, by the Customs
 Service and the Department of Agriculture.
    Regarding past practices under which passengers would be subject to
 separate inspection procedures by officers of all three agencies, it was
 decided that it might be feasible to train individual officers in all of
 the inspection requirements and procedures so that one officer could
 perform the necessary inspection functions for all three agencies.  The
 objective, aside from ensuring that the necessary inspections were
 performed, was to expedite the entry process.
    In 1978, the Respondent conducted certain experiments with these
 procedures at Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C. and certain
 other airports.  The National Immigration and Naturalization Service
 Council, American Federation of Government Employees (the Union), was
 notified.  The Union is constituted as a Council of local affiliates
 representing the Respondent's employees at various locations throughout
 the United States and it has represented these employees in a nationwide
 unit of exclusive recognition since 1968.  At the Union's request, the
 parties engaged in consultations and discussions regarding these
 experimental changes in practice and the likely effects on employees,
 but there was no bargaining.
    Based on the experiments, which continued, and following discussions
 by the Respondent with the Customs Service and the Department of
 Agriculture, it was decided in 1978 that the new inspection procedures,
 called "one stop," should be implemented at all airports.  Shortly
 thereafter, the Union was advised of this decision and of the need for
 training INS officers.  An agreement was completed by INS, Customs, and
 Agriculture for the implementation of "one stop," and the Respondent
 provided a copy to the Union.  The changes were discussed by INS and the
 Union at a regularly scheduled national consultation meeting.  Following
 this meeting, the matter was discussed by the Union President and the
 Commissioner of INS.  The Union was offered the opportunity to meet with
 the Respondent's labor relations personnel at the national level to
 discuss its concern regarding the implementation of the new procedures.
    During these discussions, the Union expressed its views regarding the
 rights of passengers entering the country and the need to ensure that
 the appropriate inspections were performed.  It disagreed with the
 decision to implement the new procedures and it expressed concerns about
 the impact on the Respondent's employees.  However, it did not meet with
 the Respondent's labor relations personnel and the record does not
 indicate that it presented proposals to the Respondent which addressed
 these latter concerns.
    The implementation of the new procedures nationally occurred in
 stages.  /1/ When implementation was scheduled for airports in Atlanta,
 Georgia and Houston, Texas as of September 20, 1980, the Union was
 notified.  In July 1980, the Union demanded negotiations, at the
 national level, on the impact of the new procedures at Atlanta and
 Houston.  The Respondent responded that such negotiations were more
 appropriate at the local level and that such negotiations should be
 undertaken with management officials at the District Office level who
 were responsible for operations at Atlanta and Houston.  The Respondent
 argued that the parties had procedures in their national agreement under
 which matters implemented by local management officials should be
 negotiated by the parties at the local level, /2/ and it assured the
 Union that its District officials would be responsive.  The Union
 asserted that, because the level of exclusive recognition was at the
 national level, it had the right to require bargaining over the
 implementation at Atlanta and Houston at the national level.  The
 parties adhered to their respective positions at all times thereafter.
 Consequently, the implementation at Atlanta and Houston was completed
 without negotiations at either the local level or the national level.
 The complaint alleges that the respondent violated section 7116(a)(1)
 and (5) by failing and refusing to negotiate at the national level.
    Based on the stipulated record, the Authority finds that the Union
 was provided with advance notice of the experiments concerning the new
 procedures and the decision to implement the new procedures nationally.
 It was presented with opportunities to negotiate the impact and
 implementation of the new procedures at the national level in 1978 and
 thereafter, well before such procedures were implemented at Atlanta and
 Houston in 1980.  The record fails to show that the Union made any
 effort to utilize these opportunities at the national level.
 Accordingly, based on the foregoing, the Authority concludes that the
 Respondent's refusal to negotiate at the national level in July 1980 and
 its suggestion that the negotiations concerning local implementation at
 Atlanta and Houston of the 1978 decision to invoke the "one stop"
 procedure nationally should take place at the District office level,
 cannot be found to constitute a refusal to bargain in violation of
 section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.  Therefore, the complaint
 shall be dismissed.  See General Services Administration, 15 FLRA No. 6
 (1984), and cases cited therein.  See also Internal Revenue Service
 (District, Region, National Office Unit), 14 FLRA No. 92 (1984).
    IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 3-CA-1839 be, and it
 hereby is, dismissed.
    Issued, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1984
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Member
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    /1/ For example, the "one stop" procedures were implemented in
 October 1978 at JFK Airport in New York, and at Miami, Los Angeles,
 Seattle-Tacoma and Honolulu;  at Boston's Logan Airport in November
 1978;  and at other airports according to a subsequently announced
    /2/ Article 3, Section G of the applicable 1979 contract provides:
          G.  The parties recognize that from time to time during the
       life of the agreement, the need will arise for management to
       change existing Service regulations covering personnel policies,
       practices, and/or working conditions not covered by this
       agreement.  The Service shall present the changes it wishes to
       make to existing rules, regulations, and existing practices to the
       Union in writing.  The Service recognizes that this obligation
       exists at the national, Regional and District level when such
       changes are made.  The Union will present its views (which must be
       responsive to either the proposed change or the impact of the
       proposed change) within a set time after receiving notice from
       management of the proposed change.  The time will be:
          22 Work Days at National Level
          10 Work Days at Regional Level
          10 Work Days at District Level(.)