U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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17:0326(48)NG - AFGE Local 32 and OPM -- 1985 FLRAdec NG

[ v17 p326 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 17 FLRA No. 48
                                            Case No. O-NG-675
    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 presents an issue
 relating to the negotiability of the following Union proposal.
                              Union Proposal
          Since review work will be included as a performance element in
       the performance standards for Claims Examiner, and since reviewers
       get an advantage when they screen the work and perform the easy
       work, which disadvantages all other employees on the team, review
       duties will be rotated equally to all staff members every 6 months
       based on an alphabetic listing of examiners by last name unless
       the performance appraisal and performance standards take into
       account the failure to rotate.  This will also apply to any
       changes to the assignment of work in ASD at this time.
    Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the
 parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determination.
 The proposal, in effect, requires that the Agency rotate reviewing
 assignments equally among employees in the prescribed manner unless it
 is willing to revise performance standards and appraisals in some
 manner.  With regard to the aspect of the proposal requiring six month
 rotation of the review function, the Agency states, without
 contravention:  /1/
          It is essential that the reviewer be able to identify errors
       quickly and bring them to the attention of the management team and
       the employee who has erred.  A review function performed by those
       who are not sufficiently experienced or skilled to identify errors
       would be inimical to the accomplishment of (the Agency's) mission
       and not in the public interest.  /2/
 In this regard, the instant proposal is to the same effect as Union
 Proposal 1 in National Treasury Employees Union and Internal Revenue
 Service, Dallas District, 13 FLRA No. 9 (1983) which required that
 certain assignments be distributed among employees "on an equitable
 basis." In that case, the Authority, noting that the proposal would
 "prevent management from taking into account valid considerations in
 making work assignments," concluded that such proposal was inconsistent
 with management's right, pursuant to section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the
 Statute, "to assign work." Thus, based on Internal Revenue Service,
 Dallas District, and the reasons and case cited therein, the aspect of
 the Union Proposal concerning rotation of review work herein is also
 outside the duty to bargain.
    Although the intent of the phrase "take into account the failure to
 rotate" is unclear in the instant proposal, it is nonetheless apparent
 that the second part of the proposal concerns the content of performance
 standards.  In this respect, it is similar in effect to Union Proposal 2
 in American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1923 and
 Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration,
 12 FLRA No. 6 (1983) which sought to provide trainees with time
 allowances to learn and implement a specified work procedure.  The
 Authority found that proposal to be outside the duty to bargain,
 pursuant to section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute, because it
 required negotiation of the content of performance standards,
 specifically the quantity and timeliness of employees' work product.  In
 like manner, the Union Proposal herein, in part, seeks negotiations on
 performance standards and, based on Social Security Administration and
 the reasons and cases cited therein, is to that extent also outside the
 duty to bargain.
    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., March 27, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    /1/ The Union filed no reply to the Agency's Statement of Position.
    /2/ Agency's Statement of Position at 4.