[ v16 p619 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
16 FLRA No. 88 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES METAL TRADES COUNCIL, AFL-CIO Union and DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, MARE ISLAND NAVAL SHIPYARD, VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA Agency Case No. O-NG-768 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES 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 the following proposal: (P)ay distribution for new hires be handled in the same manner as for current employees i.e., new hired will have the option of selecting direct mail or hand delivery of their pay. Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determinations. The dispute herein arose as a result of the Agency's implementation of a new policy whereby it would only distribute paychecks of new employees to designated addresses and not to the workplace. The Union's proposal would require the Agency to maintain for new employees the manner of paycheck distribution which is presently used in distributing paychecks to current employees. That is, the Agency would be required to distribute new employee's paychecks to the workplace and not to employees' designated addresses. In agreement with the Agency, the Authority finds that the disputed proposal concerns the technology, methods and means of performing work within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute and thus is negotiable only at the election of the Agency. /1/ The duty of an agency to bargain with a labor organization over conditions of employment does not extend to those matters which involve the technology, methods and means of performing work. National Treasury Employees Union and U.S. Customs Service, Region VII, San Francisco, California, 2 FLRA 255 (1979). In American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 2 FLRA 604 (1980) (Union Proposals VIII and IX), enforced sub nom. Department of Defense v. FLRA, 659 F.2d 1140 (D.C. Cir. 1981), cert. denied sub nom. AFGE v. FLRA, 455 U.S. 945, 102 S.Ct. 1443 (1982), the Authority ruled that those matters which directly and integrally relate to the accomplishment of the mission of the agency fall within the meaning of performing work under section 7106(b)(1). In the instant case, the Agency's mission could not be accomplished without the continued and steady operation of the Agency. Such continuous operation is only ensured by the presence of a workforce whose goal is to effectuate the Agency's mission, and whose presence is only ensured when the Agency fulfills its payroll obligation. Therefore, the process which the Agency adopts to fulfill its payroll obligation so as to ensure the continued, uninterrupted operation of the Agency constitutes a support operation without which the Agency's mission could not be accomplished. Thus, the Authority finds, herein, that mission-related matters which fall within the meaning of "performing work" under section 7106(b)(1) include support functions which are integrally related to the Agency's mission and without which the mission could not be accomplished. Thus, insofar as the Union tacitly concedes that the proposal involves the methods and means by which the Agency performs its payroll function, and the Authority finds that the payroll function involves performing work within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1), the Authority concludes that the proposal interferes with the Agency's right to determine its methods and means of performing work and is therefore outside the duty to bargain. The Authority's finding in this respect is consistent with Congressional intent. The House-Senate Conference Committee Report illustrates that the term "performing work" was intended to include those matters which directly and integrally relate to the agency's operations as a whole. In the House-Senate Conference Committee Report, the Conferees noted the following: The Senate (section 7218(a)(2)(E)) prohibits negotiations on the methods and means by which agency operations are to be conducted. The House permits-- but does not require-- the agency to negotiate on such matters (House section 7106(b)(1)). The Senate recedes. The conferees wish to emphasize, however, that nothing in the bill is intended to require an agency to negotiate on the methods and means by which agency operations are to be conducted. /2/ The instant proposal is distinguishable from other proposals which the Authority has found not to interfere with the agency's right to determine its methods and means of performing work and therefore negotiable. These proposals, unlike the instant proposal, do not involve matters which constitute an integral part of an agency's operation, but, rather, relate principally to matters affecting working conditions of employees. /3/ In holding that the proposal directly interferes with section 7106(b)(1), the Authority finds, contrary to the Union's contention that the proposal is procedural in nature, that the proposal instead concerns the substantive exercise of management's right. By requiring the Agency to distribute paychecks to the workplace, and thereby precluding the Agency from distributing paychecks to employees' designated addresses, the Union's proposal directly affects the Agency's determination as to its methods and means of performing its payroll function. See International Organization of Master, Mates and Pilots and Panama Canal Commission, 13 FLRA No. 87 (1983) (Union Proposals 3 and 4). The Authority's finding in this case does not, however, affect the Agency's obligation to negotiate over the impact and implementation of its proposed change. Clearly, the Agency is obligated to negotiate over the impact and implementation of its change in the process which is utilizes to distribute payroll. Headquarters, 77th U.S. Army Command, Fort Totten, New York and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2739, AFL-CIO, 9 FLRA 762 (1982). Moreover, it should be noted that the Agency does not perform its payroll function in an atmosphere free of constraint but should conform to established pay principles as prescribed by the General Accounting Office. /4/ Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the petition for review be, and it hereby is, dismissed. /5/ Issued, Was4ington, D.C., November 30, 1984 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute reads in pertinent part as follows: Sec. 7106. Management rights * * * * (b) Nothing in this section shall preclude any agency and any labor organization from negotiating-- (1) at the election of the agency, . . . on the technology, methods, and means of performing work(.) /2/ S. Conf. Rep. No. 95-1272, 95th Cong., 2nd Sess. 154 (1978). /3/ See American Federation of Government Employees, Local 644, AFL-CIO and U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Health and Safety Administration, Morgantown, West Virginia, 15 FLRA No. 170 (1984) (work facilities); and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2477 and Library of Congress, 7 FLRA 578 (1982), enforced sub nom. Library of Congress v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 699 F.2d 1280 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (office designs); and Wright Patterson Air Force Base, 2 FLRA 604, 615 (equal employment opportunity plans). /4/ The General Accounting Office Policy and Procedure Manual For Guidance of Federal Agencies, Title 6, Section 16.6, only provides the Agency with three options in the location to which paychecks can be distributed. The GAO manual reads as follows: 16.6 Distribution of Paychecks and U.S. Savings Bonds Checks and bonds to individuals shall be mailed by the disbursing officer to the persons being paid or their designees or delivered to designated agents in the employing offices for delivery to the employees at the work locations. /5/ In view of the decision herein, the Authority finds it unnecessary to consider the other contentions of the Agency with respect to the negotiability of the proposal.