U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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17:0011(6)NG - AFGE, National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals and SSA, Office of Field Operations, Baltimore, MD -- 1985 FLRAdec NG

[ v17 p11 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 17 FLRA No. 6
                                            Case No. O-NG-629
    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 the issue of
 the negotiability of five Union proposals.  The dispute arose in the
 context of negotiations over the Agency's plan to establish a number of
 Debt Collection Centers and to staff them by detailing employees from
 various parts of the Agency.  Upon careful consideration of the entire
 record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the
 following determinations.
                             Union Proposal 1
          Employees detailed to Debt Collection Centers (DCC's) who are
       otherwise covered by collective bargaining agreements, including
       interim agreements, shall retain all rights under such agreements
       while in the DCC's.  All employees shall retain their rights under
       5 USC 71.  (Only the underlined portion is in dispute.)
                             Union Proposal 3
          Leave policies for employees detailed to DCC's shall be those
       of the employee's applicable agreements, unless superseded by a
       DCC agreement.
                             Union Proposal 5
          This Memorandum of Understanding shall become effective on the
       date it is signed by the parties.  This Memorandum of
       Understanding shall terminate with the conclusion of the DCC
       experiment.  However, if management decides to establish
       non-experimental DCC's, this Memorandum of Understanding shall be
       extended until the effective date of an agreement by the parties
       covering such non-experimental DCC's.
          Grievances over the interpretation and application of this
       Memorandum of Understanding shall be resolved via the applicable
       negotiated grievance procedure.  (Only the underlined portion is
       in dispute.)
    The Agency asserts that the Union does not hold exclusive recognition
 for those employees who are detailed to the Debt Collection Centers.
 Therefore, it contends that it has no obligation to negotiate with
 respect to conditions of employment which pertain to those employees
 while they are detailed to the Debt Collection Centers.  The Union does
 not refute this assertion.  /1/ It is well established that proposals
 are not within the duty to bargain if they apply to employees or
 positions outside the bargaining unit.  See, e.g., American Federation
 of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2 and Department of the Army,
 Military District of Washington, 4 FLRA 450 (1980).  /2/ The proposals
 are, therefore, not within the duty to bargain.
                             Union Proposal 2
          The assignment of personnel to DCC's will be accomplished in
       compliance with appropriate personnel policies and procedures.
          In making such assignments for less than 60 days, volunteers
       will be solicited from within the service area of the DCC's
       activity and no promotion point credit will be given.  For details
       of 60 days or more, since promotion point credit will be earned,
       selection will be by means of applicable merit promotion plan with
       the Area being the area of consideration.  The announcement will
       contain an estimate of the amount of overtime expected.  (Only the
       underlined portion is in dispute.)
    The Agency contends, without contradiction by the Union, that the
 disputed proposal would effectively compel it to select for detail any
 volunteers regardless of whether or not they were capable of performing
 the particular work involved in the detail.  This interpretation is
 compatible with the plain language of the proposal and is adopted by the
 Authority for the purposes of determining whether the proposal is within
 the duty to bargain.  As noted by the Authority in American Federation
 of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and Air Force Logistics Command,
 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 2 FLRA 604, 613 (1980), enforced
 sub nom. Department of Defense v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 659
 F.2d 1140 (D.C. Cir. 1981), cert. denied sub nom. AFGE v. FLRA, 455 U.S.
 945 (1982), regarding proposals involving the assignment of employees to
          The right to assign employees in the agency under section
       7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute is more than merely the right to
       decide to assign an employee to a position.  An agency chooses to
       assign an employee to a position so that the work of that position
       will be done.  Under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute, the
       agency retains discretion as to the personnel requirements of the
       work of the position, i.e., the qualifications and skills needed
       to do the work, as well as such job-related individual
       characteristics as judgment and reliability.  Therefore, the right
       to assign an employee to a position includes the discretion to
       determine which employee will be assigned.
 Inasmuch as the proposal in the instant case would compel the assignment
 of particular employees to the details, it interferes with the Agency's
 right under section 7106(a)(2)(A) of the Statute to assign employees.
 It is, therefore, not within the duty to bargain.
                             Union Proposal 4
          This agreement applies to DCC's established after November 30,
       1981, in all SSA Regions.  If management initiates any changes in
       conditions of employment in DCC's covered by this agreement, the
       union will be accorded all its rights under 5 USC 71 and
       applicable agreements.
          Management will also notify the Regional Vice President in
       writing of such proposed changes.
          Management will furnish a copy of the weekly District Office
       Work Report (DOWR) or equivalent for each DCC to the National
       Council President or designated Coordinator on the current basis.
       The Council President or designee shall be entitled to request an
       opportunity to review with the Associate Commissioner of Field
       Operations quarterly the progress of the DCC's and related
       matters.  Upon request of either party they will bargain about the
       concerns of either.
          Impact and implementation issues not specifically covered by
       the agreement will be negotiated with the appropriate Regional
       Vice President or designee.  (Only the underlined portion is in
    The Agency asserts, among other things, that the disputed portion of
 Union Proposal 4 does not concern "conditions of employment." In this
 regard it contends that the DOWR is an internal management report on the
 performance of the district offices which has no relevance to collective
 bargaining.  The Union has not provided the Authority any explanation as
 to the intent of the proposal.  Inasmuch as it is not readily apparent
 from the face of the proposal as to how it bears a direct relationship
 to personnel policies, practices, or matters affecting working
 conditions of unit employees and the Union has provided nothing to
 support such a finding, the Authority cannot find that the disputed
 portion of Union Proposal 4 concerns conditions of employment.
 Therefore, it cannot be found that the proposal is within the duty to
    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., February 15, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr. Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY