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U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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19:0386(51)AR - Air Force, Carswell AFB and AFGE Local 1364 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR

[ v19 p386 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 19 FLRA No. 51
                                            Case No. O-AR-903
    This matter is before the Authority on an exception to the award of
 Arbitrator Barnett M. Goodstein filed by the Agency under section
 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and
 part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
    A grievance was filed in this case challenging management's
 assignment of duties relating to the debriefing of crew members
 returning from flying missions to employees in specialist positions in
 the avionics branch of the Activity.  According to the Arbitrator, such
 debriefing duties had previously been exclusively assigned to employees
 in the position of aircraft mechanic, and the grievance was filed as a
 result of management's actions in commencing the assignment of such
 duties to avionics branch personnel in addition to aircraft mechanics.
 In its grievance, the Union in particular contended that such duties
 were not covered by the statement of duties and responsibilities in the
 applicable positions descriptions of the avionics branch personnel.  As
 a consequence, management changed the position descriptions of all
 avionics branch personnel to provide that the incumbent perform other
 related duties such as debriefing aircrews.  The grievance remained
 unresolved and was submitted to arbitration.  The Arbitrator rejected
 the validity of the position description amendment by the Activity
 determining that only duties directly related to the position may be
 added to the position description and that the debriefing duties were
 not directly related.  Indeed, the Arbitrator concluded that
 management's actions resulted in the assignment of debriefing duties to
 unskilled and unknowledgeable personnel and that such personnel should
 not be utilized for such purpose.  Accordingly, as his award in this
 respect the Arbitrator ordered as follows:
          (T)he (Activity) is ordered to cease and desist from utilizing
       Avionics Branch specialists in any debriefing work that does not
       strictly utilize the specialty of that particular specialist, and
       cease and desist from using any specialist not connected with the
       aircraft or its systems for any debriefing duties.
    In its exception the Agency contends that the award is deficient as
 contrary to management's right to assign work pursuant to section
 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute.  The Authority agrees.
    It is well established that the right "to assign work" pursuant to
 section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute includes the right to determine the
 particular employee to whom, or the position to which, duties will be
 assigned.  E.g. National Treasury Employees Union and Internal Revenue
 Service, Dallas District, 13 FLRA 48, 49 (1983).  In American Federation
 of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1999 and Army-Air Force Exchange
 Service, Dix-McGuire Exchange, Fort Dix, New Jersey, 2 FLRA 152, 159-61
 (1979) (proposal 2), enforced as to other matters 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 (1982), the Authority addressed the
 connection between the authority of an agency to assign work under the
 Statute and the statement of duties in an employee's position
 description.  The Authority described the intent of the applicable
 proposal in Dix-McGuire as preventing the agency from expanding the work
 regularly required of the incumbent of a position by means of assigning
 work which is not reasonably related to the duties stated in the
 position description.  In finding the proposal within the duty to
 bargain, the Authority emphasized that nothing in the proposal would
 preclude the assignment to the employees of unrelated duties.  Rather,
 if the agency decided to add unrelated duties to a position to be
 performed regularly, it would only need to change the position
 description in order to do so, and the proposal in no way precluded the
 agency from doing so.  Accordingly, the Authority determined that in
 such circumstances, the authority of the agency to assign work remains
 unaffected.  In terms of this case, in contrast to Dix-McGuire, the
 Arbitrator's award under similar circumstances has directly affected the
 authority of the Activity to assign work contrary to section
 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute.  The award, contrary to the Statute,
 specifically precludes the Activity from adding the debriefing duties to
 the position descriptions of avionic branch personnel in order to have
 such personnel regularly perform such duties, and the award specifically
 denies management its right to determine that avionic branch personnel
 shall be assigned debriefing duties.  Therefore, the Authority finds
 that the award in this respect is deficient as contrary to section
 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute.  Accordingly, the award is modified by
 striking the last sentence.  Issued, Washington, D.C., July 31, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY