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18:0358(47)CA - Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Kansas City, MO and NFFE Local 29 -- 1985 FLRAdec CA

[ v18 p358 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 18 FLRA No. 47
 Charging Party
                                            Case No. 7-CA-30395
                            DECISION AND ORDER
    This matter is before the Authority pursuant to the Regional
 Director's "Order Transferring Case to the Federal Labor Labor Relations
 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, accompanying exhibits, and the contentions of the
 parties, /1/ the Authority finds:
    The complaint herein alleges that the Respondent violated section
 7116 (a)(1) and (5) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations
 Statute (the Statute) by refusing to bargain over the procedures to be
 used for the collection of debts owed to the United States Government by
 unit employees under the Debt Collection Act of 1982, P.L. 97-365
 (hereinafter the Act).  /2/
    The record indicates that on or about April 18, 1983, the National
 Federation of Federal Employees, Local 29 (the Union) requested
 bargaining over "a change in conditions of employment as promulgated by
 (the Act)" and suggested that such bargaining take place in conjunction
 with other matters which were then the subject of mid-term bargaining
 under provisions of the parties' agreement.  The record indicates that
 the parties subsequently met but that the Respondent refused to bargain
 concerning the Act based on its view that there was no obligation to
 bargain until such time as Government-wide or agency rules or
 regulations were prescribed to implement the provisions of the Act.  /3/
 In this connection, the record indicates that since passage of the Act
 on October 25, 1982, and continuing through the date of the parties'
 stipulation, neither the Respondent nor higher level agency management
 has promulgated or implemented regulations concerning the Act.  Rather,
 the Respondent has continued to process debt collection actions under
 pre-existing regulations and law.
    As previously noted, the Union sought to bargain over an alleged
 change in conditions of employment stemming from passage of the Act, and
 the Respondent's refusal to bargain over the procedures used for the
 collection of debts was alleged to be violative of the Statute.  In the
 Authority's view, the record in this case fails to establish that there
 has been a change in conditions of employment affecting unit employees
 so as to give rise to a duty to bargain.  /4/ Thus, the record indicates
 that, as of the date of the stipulation in this case, the Respondent had
 not implemented the Act or applied any of its provisions to unit
 employees, and had made no change in the method of debt collection.
 Rather, since the enactment of the Act, debt collection actions had been
 processed in accordance with pre-existing regulations and law.
 Accordingly, as the complaint herein alleges a failure to bargain over
 procedures for debt collection under the Act, and as there had been no
 implementation of the Act or application of its terms to unit employees
 and no change in their conditions of employment with respect to debt
 collection actions had occurred, the Respondent was under no obligation
 to bargain over the Union's proposals and its refusal to do so was not
 violative of the Statute.  /5/
    Based on the foregoing, the Authority concludes that the Respondent
 has not violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute and shall
 order that the complaint be dismissed.
    IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 7-CA-30395 be, and it
 hereby is, dismissed.  
 Issued, Washington, D.C., June 7, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    /1/ The General Counsel's brief was not timely filed and therefore
 has not been considered by the Authority.  The Respondent's response
 thereto also has not been considered.
    /2/ Subsequent to the issuance of the complaint herein, the parties
 stipulated that the Respondent's refusal to bargain concerned a
 particular contract article relating to the Act which was proposed by
 the Charging Party.
    /3/ The Act references 5 U.S.C. 5514(b)(1) which provides, as here
 relevant, that "(t)he head of each agency shall prescribe regulations,
 subject to the approval of the President, to carry out this section(.)"
 The authority of the President to approve such regulations was
 subsequently delegated to the Office of Personnel Management.  See Sec.
 8(1), Executive Order 11609, as amended, reprinted in 3 U.S.C. 301 app.
 at 372 (1982).
    /4/ See, e.g., Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Norfolk,
 Virginia, 9 FLRA 774 (1982) and case cited therein at note 4.
    /5/ Of course, when steps are taken by the Respondent to apply the
 terms of the Act to unit employees which would affect their conditions
 of employment, the Respondent would be obligated to notify the Union or
 such intended changes and to afford the latter an opportunity to
 bargain.  See Internal Revenue Service, 17 FLRA No. 103 (1985), wherein
 the Authority noted that where agency management seeks to change an
 established condition of employment in a manner which is not precluded
 by an existing collective bargaining agreement, it is obligated to
 notify the exclusive representative and afford the latter an opportunity
 to bargain either over the substance of the change where appropriate or
 over its impact and implementation.  At the same time, the Authority
 found that there exists no statutory obligation to bargain over
 proposals initiated by an exclusive representative during the term of an
 agreement which are unrelated to changes in conditions of employment
 initiated by agency management.