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18:0508(68)NG - AFGE Local 1409 and Army Adjutant General, Publications Center, Baltimore, MD -- 1985 FLRAdec NG

[ v18 p508 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 18 FLRA No. 68
                                            Case No. 0-NG-843
    The petition for review in this case comes before the Federal Labor
 Relations Authority (the Authority) pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(E) of
 the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and
 presents an issue concerning the negotiability of the following Union
          The present method of distribution of pay to bargaining unit
       employees shall remain in full force and effect, as heretofore,
       until the expiration of the agreement.
 Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties'
 contentions, the Authority makes the following determination.
    The record indicates that employees at the Baltimore Publications
 Center formerly had their paychecks personally distributed to them at
 their workplace.  The Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center
 subsequently announced that a Mail-Only pay policy would be instituted
 whereby these employees would in the future only have their paychecks
 delivered by mail to an address designated by them.  In response, the
 Union submitted the proposal at issue in this appeal.
    The Agency does not argue that this proposal violates law, rule or
 regulation.  Rather, the Agency's sole claim in this case is that the
 proposal is not within the duty to bargain because it involves a matter
 outside the discretion of the Commander of the Baltimore Publications
 Center who is a party to the collective bargaining agreement.
 Specifically, the Agency asserts that the Baltimore Publications Center,
 which is an independent field activity reporting to the Adjutant General
 of the Army, has its payroll services performed by the U.S. Army Reserve
 Components Personnel and Administrative Center (RCPAC), located in St.
 Louis, Missouri, which is also an independent field activity reporting
 to the Adjutant General of the Army.  The Agency argues that since the
 Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center has no control over the
 separate independent RCPAC in St. Louis, the Publications Center
 Commander has no authority to bind the RCPAC to a particular method of
 delivery of Publications Center employee paychecks.  Thus, relying on
 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO,
 Local 2477 and Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (and the case
 consolidated therewith), 7 FLRA 578 (1982) (Union Proposals XI-XVI),
 enforced sub nom. Library of Congress v. Federal Labor Relations
 Authority, 699 F.2d 1280 (D.C. Cir. 1983), the Agency concludes that the
 Commander of the Baltimore Publications Center is obligated only to
 request or recommend that the RCPAC Commander adopt the paycheck
 delivery method sought by the Union.  The Commander of the Baltimore
 Publication Center did in fact request an exemption from the Mail-Only
 Pay Policy, but this request was rejected by the RCPAC Commander.  The
 Agency contends that it met its obligation to bargain by making the
    The Agency's contention in this case cannot be sustained.  It is well
 established that the duty of an agency under the Statute is to negotiate
 with an exclusive representative of an appropriate unit of its employees
 concerning conditions of employment affecting them to the extent of its
 discretion, i.e., except as provided otherwise by Federal law including
 the Statute, or by Government-wide rule or regulation or by an agency
 regulation for which a compelling need exists.  See e.g. National
 Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the
 Public Debt, 3 FLRA 769 (1980), affirmed sub nom. National Treasury
 Employees Union v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, 691 F.2d 553 (D.C.
 Cir. 1982).
    It is also well established that an agency may not foreclose
 bargaining on an otherwise negotiable matter by delegating authority as
 to that matter only to an organizational level within the agency
 different from the organizational level of recognition.  Rather, under
 section 7114(b)(2) of the Statute, an agency is obligated to provide
 representatives who are empowered to negotiate and enter into agreement
 on all matters within the scope of negotiations.  American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3525 and the United States
 Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals, 10 FLRA 61 (1982)
 (Union Proposal 1);  American Federation of Government Employees,
 AFL-CIO, Local 3656 and Federal Trade Commission, Boston Regional
 Office, Massachusetts, 4 FLRA 702 (1980).
    The Agency in this case has made no claim whatsoever that the
 disputed proposal is inconsistent with law, Government-wide rule or
 regulation or with an agency regulation for which a compelling need
 exists.  In addition, the fact that the Commander of the Baltimore
 Publications Center requested an exemption from the Mail-Only Pay Policy
 can be construed to mean that the Agency in this case does not object to
 bargaining over the proposal.  /1/ Therefore, the proposal is within the
 duty to bargain.
    Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Agency shall upon request (or as
 otherwise agreed to by the parties) bargain on this proposal.  /2/
 Issued, Washington, D.C., June 21, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    /1/ Cf. Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO and
 Department of the Navy, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California,
 16 FLRA No. 88 (1984) (in which the Authority concluded, in agreement
 with the agency's express allegation, that a similar proposal concerning
 method of paycheck delivery constituted a method or means of performing
 work pursuant to section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute and thus, was outside
 the duty to bargain).
    /2/ In deciding that the proposal is within the duty to bargain, the
 Authority, of course, makes no judgement as to its merits.