[ v19 p1085 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
19 FLRA No. 123 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION BALTIMORE, MARYLAND Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Charging Party Case No. 9-CA-20033 DECISION AND ORDER The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached Decision in the above-entitled proceeding, finding that the Respondent had not engaged in the unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint and recommending that the complaint be dismissed in its entirety. Thereafter, the General Counsel and the Charging Party filed exceptions to the Judge's Decision and briefs in support of those exceptions. Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Federal Service Labor-Management relations Statute (the Statute), the Authority has reviewed the rulings of the Judge made at the hearing and finds that no prejudicial error was committed. The rulings are hereby affirmed. Upon consideration of the Judge's Decision and the entire record, the Authority hereby adopts the Judge's findings, conclusions and recommendations only to the extent consistent herewith. The Respondent and the Charging Party (the Union) are parties to a nationwide collective bargaining agreement which includes in its coverage the employees of the Respondent's Las Vegas District Office involved herein. There are approximately 70 employees in the Las Vegas District Office, of whom ten or eleven are designated service representatives. The service representatives are charged with resolving problems related to the receipt of benefits to qualified recipients, and with answering questions posed by persons visiting or telephoning the District Office. The service representatives whose duties involve answering telephone inquiries are assigned to the Public Service Unit (PSU), and service representatives rotate between face-to-face interviews and PSU telephone duties every six months. At all times relevant, four service representatives were assigned to PSU duty. At Respondent's Las Vegas facility a general written policy exists concerning morning and afternoon breaks and lunch periods. That written policy includes a statement that supervisors will advise employees as to when their breaks and lunch periods should be taken. However, before the incidents giving rise to the instant complaint, the Las Vegas employees either took an early break schedule (morning break: 9:15 to 9:30 a.m.; lunch 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; afternoon break: 2:45-3:00 p.m.) or a late break schedule (morning break: 10:15-10:30 a.m.; lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; afternoon break: 3:15-3:30 p.m.). Aside from that general or permanent schedule, occasional temporary adjustments were necessitated by absences or workload variations. It is clear from the record that, before October 8, 1981, whenever such adjustments were necessitated, they were temporary and often arranged by the employees themselves. In October 1981, an abnormally heavy workload and the extended illness of one employee occurred simultaneously. Cruz Alvarez, supervisor of PSU, notified the three on-duty employees on October 8 that a meeting would be held at 4:30 concerning breaks and lunch. At 4:30, Alvarez met with the 3 PSU employees and Union Steward Nelson. Alvarez announced a new break and lunch schedule (10:00-10:15 a.m.; 12:00-1:00 p.m.; 3:00-3:15 p.m.) which would be observed immediately by employee Helen Barsy, and which would be in effect whenever there were only 3 PSU employees available for duty. The record shows that there was little or no discussion at the above-described meeting, which was in the nature of an announcement by Alvarez of a management decision. The record further reflects that neither Union Steward Nelson nor the Union itself was advised that a meeting would be held, but rather than Nelson attended at the request of employee Barsy. The complaint alleges that the unilateral changes in lunch hour and break periods involved changes in conditions of employment and violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute /1/ as the Respondent was obligated to notify the Union and to bargain with it concerning such changes. The complaint further alleges that the meeting of October 8 was a "formal discussion" within the meaning of section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute, /2/ and that the Respondent's failure to notify the Union and to give it the opportunity to be present as the representative of the employees violated section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute. /3/ The Judge concluded that the unilateral changes in break and lunch periods were limited in application to only employee Barsy, were "de minimis" in nature, and hence not violative of the Statute. He further found that it was unnecessary to pass upon whether the meeting of October 8 constituted a "formal discussion" within the meaning of the Statute, inasmuch as the subject matter of the meeting was de minimis in nature. The Authority disagrees with the Judge. It is clear that an established condition of employment existed within the PSU to the effect that when absences or work exigencies required, employees would adjust their break and lunch periods to meet the needs of the situation, and that the adjustment would be temporary in nature. Thus, Respondent's imposition of a permanent arrangement to meet such needs, without involvement by the employees, constituted a unilateral change in working conditions established by a past practice. /4/ It is also well established that the subject matter of the change, which was the time at which breaks and lunch might be observed within the work day (and not the length of the breaks, lunch or work day themselves), was a matter upon which the Respondent was obligated to bargain. /5/ It is noted in this regard that there is no contention that employees would have the right to refuse to appear for work when ordered to do so or that management's right to assign individual employees or groups of employees to specific tours of duty where such assignments are necessary to the Agency's mission would be limited. /6/ In the Authority's view, the Judge erred in raising the question of whether the change resulted in a "substantial impact" upon bargaining unit employees. Where an agency effectuates a change in working conditions by exercising one of its reserved rights and its duty to bargain is limited to the impact and implementation of that change, the degree of impact or reasonably foreseeable impact is relevant. /7/ But where, as here, the decision to make a change was itself negotiable, the question is whether the statutory obligation to notify and negotiate with the exclusive representative concerning the change was fulfilled, not the extent of impact of any unilateral change in conditions of employment upon the unit employees. This latter inquiry is appropriate when the bargaining obligation of management is limited to procedures and appropriate arrangements pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3) of the Statute. /8/ Accordingly, the Authority concludes that the unilateral change by the Respondent in a negotiable condition of employment constituted a violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute. As noted above, the Judge found it unnecessary to determine whether the meeting conducted by Alvarez was a formal discussion within the meaning of section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute, because he found the change in conditions of employment discussed at that meeting to be de minimis. The Authority agrees that it is unnecessary to determine whether the meeting in question constituted a formal discussion but for a different reason. Subsequent to the Judge's decision, the Authority concluded in Veterans Administration, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Muskogee, Oklahoma, 19 F.RA No. 122 (1985), that actual representation by an exclusive representative at a formal discussion is sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the requirement of section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute that such an exclusive representative "be given an opportunity to be represented." In the circumstances of this case, the exclusive bargaining representative was in fact represented insofar as Union steward Nelson did in fact attend the meeting in question. Accordingly, as the Union had the opportunity to be represented, we find that no violation of section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute has been established. ORDER Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Rules and Regulations of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and section 7118 of the Statute, the Authority hereby orders that Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland, shall: 1. Cease and desist from: (a) Failing or refusing to give notice and the opportunity to bargain to American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive representative, concerning changes in the hours of morning and afternoon break periods and lunch periods and the methods used to determine such hours, or any other proposed changes in terms and conditions of employment. (b) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing any employee in the exercise of rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. 2. Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Statute: (a) Rescind the break and lunch schedule implemented in the Public Service Unit, Las Vegas District Office, on October 8, 1981, and notify the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive representative, of any intended changes in the break and lunch schedule. (b) Upon request, bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive representative, concerning changes in the hours of morning and afternoon break periods and lunch periods and the method used to determine such hours, or any other proposed changes in terms and conditions of employment. (c) Post at its facility in Las Vegas, Nevada copies of the attached Notice on forms to be furnished by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Upon receipt of such forms they shall be signed by the Commissioner or his designee and shall be posted and maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places, including all bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken to insure that such Notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material. (d) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, notify the Regional Director, Region IX, Federal Labor Relations Authority, in writing, within 30 days from the date of this Order, as to what steps have been taken to comply herewith. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the remainder of the complaint in Case No. 9-CA-20033 be, and it hereby is, dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., August 30, 1985 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO A DECISION AND ORDER OF THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND IN ORDER TO EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF CHAPTER 71 OF TITLE 5 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS WE HEREBY NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT: WE WILL NOT fail or refuse to give notice and the opportunity to bargain to American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive representative, concerning changes in the hours of morning and afternoon break periods and lunch periods and the method used to determine such hours, or any other proposed changes in terms and conditions of employment. WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner interfere with, restrain, or coerce any employee in the exercise of rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. WE WILL rescind the break and lunch schedule implemented in the Public Service Unit, Las Vegas District Office, on October 8, 1981, and notify the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive representative, of any intended changes in the break and lunch schedule. WE WILL, upon request, bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the employees' exclusive representative, concerning changes in the hours of morning and afternoon break periods and lunch periods and the method used to determine such hours, or any other proposed changes in terms and conditions of employment. (Activity) Dated: . . . By: (Signature) (Title) This Notice must remain posted for 60 consecutive days from the date of posting, and must not be altered, defaced, or covered by any other material. If employees have any questions concerning this Notice or compliance with its provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional Director for Region IX, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is: 530 Bush Street, Room 542, San Francisco, California 94108, and whose telephone number is: (415) 556-8106. -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS -------------------- Case No.: 9-CA-20033 Wilson Schuerholz, Esq. For the Respondent Thomas Angelo, Esq. For the General Counsel Vince Morgante For the Charging Party Before: WILLIAM NAIMARK Administrative Law Judge DECISION Statement of the Case This is a proceeding under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (herein called the Statute or Act). It stems from a charge filed on October 16, 1981 by American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (herein called the Union) against Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland (herein called the Respondent). A Complaint and Notice of Hearing, based on said charge, was issued on January 27, 1982 by the Acting Regional Director for the Federal Labor Relations Authority, San Francisco, California Region. The said Complaint alleged, in substance, that on or about October 8, 1981 Respondent, by its supervisor, Cruz Alvarez, conducted a meeting with bargaining unit employees to discuss changes in their break and lunch schedules; that no notification was given to the Union; that Respondent unilaterally changed the aforesaid schedules, effective on October 8, 1981, and that Respondent has refused to bargain with the Union in regard to the changed schedules-- all in violation of Section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute. Respondent filed an Answer to the Complaint dated February 19, 1982, in which it denied the aforesaid allegations as well as the commission of any unfair labor practices. A hearing was held before the undersigned on March 25, 1982 at Las Vegas, Nevada. All parties were represented thereat, and each was afforded full opportunity to be heard, to adduce evidence, and to examine as well as cross-examine witnesses. Thereafter briefs were filed with the undersigned which have been duly considered. Upon the entire record herein, from my observation of the witnesses and their demeanor, and from all of the testimony and evidence adduced at the hearing, I make the following findings and conclusions: Findings of Fact 1. At all times material herein, the Respondent has operated a component agency known as Region IX (San Francisco) Bureau of District Operations, Social Security Administration. Included within such Region IX is the Las Vegas, Nevada District Office which employs about 80 bargaining unit employees. 2. Since on or about August 30, 1979 the Union herein has been, and still is, the certified exclusive bargaining representative of a national consolidated unit, including all General Schedule (GS) employees in Region IX, as aforesaid, excluding supervisors, guards, professional employees and certain other specified classes. 3. Employed at the Las Vegas District Office are 10-11 Service Representatives. These individuals assist the public, who are on Social Security, by answering queries regarding their checks and by giving information to the public regarding the social security program. Those representatives who deal with the public on a face-to-face basis are known as "Floor Service Representatives". The ones who handle telephone inquiries are assigned to the Public Service Unit (PSU), and generally four Service Representatives will be assigned thereto. About every six months these representatives rotate between the Floor Unit and the Public Service Unit. 4. In 1978 the District Office promulgated the "District Office Policy Manual" which dealt with, inter alia, coffee breaks and lunch hours. It provided that two coffee breaks are granted employees during a day-- one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, and each should not exceed 15 minutes. The Manual further provides that the supervisor will advise each employee as to his break time. With respect to lunch periods, it is provided therein that there shall be one hour for lunch; that the supervisors authorize the lunch period for all employees so as to maintain an interviewing staff on duty at all times; and that an occasional unexpected change in lunch hour must first be cleared with the employee's immediate supervisor. 5. In accordance with the aforementioned policy, the Las Vegas Office has operated on an early and late schedule with respect to coffee breaks as well as lunches. Prior to October 8, 1981 /9/ the early schedule was as follows: 9:45 a.m. (coffee break), 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (lunch) and 2:45 p.m. (coffee break). The late schedule called for coffee breaks at 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., and the lunch period was 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. 6. Prior to October 8, the four Service Representatives in the Public Service Unit were: Helen Barsy, Tony Cerven, Betty Namath, and Mary J. Woodman. In accordance with previous assignments both Barsy and Cerven had been on early schedules in respect to coffee breaks and lunch. Woodman and Namath were scheduled for late coffee breaks and a late lunch period. Service Representative Barsy testified, and I find, that if only three of those in the unit reported to work, two went at their regular time for breaks and lunch and the third individual went at a different time for the usual coffee break and luncheon. 7. Record facts reveal that no set policy was adhered to in the past when a Service Representative was absent. While management was concerned that adequate coverage be maintained in the Public Service Unit, usually the employees on duty would arrange among themselves to cover the calls and adjust their scheduled breaks accordingly. Occasionally a supervisor would intercede and make the necessary arrangement or revision. Adjustments were temporary, and a considerable amount of flexibility was necessary to assure that incoming calls were handled by the remaining representatives. 8. Shortly before October 8, several events prompted Tim Hassen, who acted as administration assistant to the District Manager as well as supervisor of Operations, to be concerned about the Public Service Unit. Thus, an increase in public inquiries resulted from a change in the Social Security law. Further, Betty Namath in the aforesaid unit was ill and it was not known how long she would be absent. Hassen spoke to Cruz Alvarez, who supervised the Public Service group, and instructed him to discuss the situation with the Service Representatives. The Operations Supervisor was particularly concerned that, of the three representatives who were on duty in this unit, there would be two individuals present at break times. He also wanted such coverage, if possible, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. 9. Accordingly, on October 8, Alvarez called a meeting of the Public Service Unit group /10/ regarding the coverage by those employees during coffee breaks and at lunch times. He explained that Namath's absence required a change in the scheduled breaks and lunches. Alvarez told the Service Representatives that, while Cerven and Woodman would continue their regular schedule of breaks and lunch times, Barsy would have a different schedule. The supervisor stated that Barsy would take a coffee break at 10:00 a.m., have a lunch period at 12:00 noon, and another coffee break at 3:00 p.m. /11/ Union representative Nelson told Alvarez he couldn't make the change unless he negotiated with the Union regarding same. The Supervisor refused to negotiate the matter with Nelson, and he instructed the Service Representatives to follow the schedule as outlined by him. 10. Record facts disclose that the PSU functioned with three Service Representatives for a week to ten days. Namath returned shortly thereafter, but she left again for a 3-week period. However, when Namath left this time another employee was moved into the unit to join Barsy, Cerven and Woodman. Since October 8 none of the four individuals has been absent for more than about one day. During such brief absence the other employees adjusted their schedules to provide adequate coverage. 11. Barsy's testimony reflects that the change in her schedule affected her ability to make appointments for personal business at lunch hour. Moreover, she testified, under the new schedule "There wasn't anybody I was going to break with. I couldn't go to lunch with anybody." Conclusions Two principal contentions are made herein by the General Counsel: (1) the change made by Respondent on October 8 of Service Representative Helen Barsy's lunch hour and break periods was unilateral in nature and in contravention of the Statute. It is asserted that the employer was obligated to notify the Union herein, as well as bargain with the latter regarding same, since the new schedule of her lunch and break hours was a change in conditions of employment-- all in violation of Section 7116(a)(1) and (5); (2) the meeting with three Service Representatives in the Public Service Unit on October 8 was a "formal discussion" necessitating that the Union be afforded an opportunity to be present as set forth in Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute. Failure to notify the Union and allow it to be present as the representative of its employees is alleged to be violative of Section 7116(a)(1), (5), and (8) of the Statute. (1) It is well settled in the public sector that an employer therein may not unilaterally change conditions of employment. Management is obliged to notify the union representative and, upon request, bargain with the union in regard to any proposed change in employment conditions. Moreover, the terms or conditions may be established by past practice which existed for an extended period of time. Internal Revenue Service and Brookhaven Service Center, 6 FLRA No. 127; Department of the Navy, Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport Naval Base, 3 FLRA No. 64. Respondent herein argues that the facts in the instant matter disclose no change in a past practice regarding scheduled lunch hours and break times. It insists that the record reflects it was common practice to adjust schedules whenever a person in the Public Service Unit was absent. In some instances it was handled by the remaining employees themselves, while at other times the supervisor directed the adjusted coverage. Thus, the employer asserts, flexibility was the rule and the 'change' effected in Helen Barsy's schedule on October 8, was consistent with past practice in maintaining adequate coverage. General Counsel submits that the schedule change was not merely an adjustment made to cover the unit during Namath's absence. The new schedule, as it pertained to Barsy's lunch hour and break times, was a departure from her regular arrangement and was permanent in nature. I agree. While it is true that past practice required flexibility in respect to coverage when a Service Representative was absent, the employees in the Public Service Unit were on a specific schedule in respect to lunch and break periods. Prior to October 8, Helen Barsy's break times were set for 9:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., and her lunch hour was 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. These hours were regularly followed and of a permanent nature unless the absence of others on the unit required temporary adjustments. There is no indication that management intended to make the change, as it pertained to Barsy, anything other than permanent when it revised her coffee breaks to 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and her lunch hour to 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. Nevertheless, and despite the change in Barsy's lunch and break periods, the question arises as to whether there resulted a substantial impact upon bargaining unit employees. It has been held that where management takes action, albeit unilateral, which affects employees insignificantly, no compulsion exists to bargain with the Union regarding such conduct. Office of Program Operations, Field Operations, Social Security Administration, San Francisco Region, 5 FLRA No. 45. The cited case involved a temporary assignment of a field representative as acting operations supervisor. The remaining representatives were thereby required to conduct more interviews. However, the number of interviews increased only slightly, and there was no change in the duties of the employees. It was concluded that no obligation existed to bargain with the Union regarding the impact of the decision to make the assignment since the effect upon unit employees was insubstantial. In the case at bar the change involved Service Representative Helen Barsy's break periods and lunch hour. Her breaks were changed from 9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.; her lunch time was altered from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. Barsy's duty hours, except for the foregoing, were not altered nor was any change effected in her duties. This revision, applicable solely to one employee, appears minimal and insubstantial to the undersigned. It resulted in no change insofar as the other two Service Representatives were concerned. There is no evidence which reflects that additional duties were imposed upon them by reason of Barsy's taking a coffee break 15 minutes later or going to lunch one-half hour later each day. Note is taken that in Department of the Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, 5 FLRA No. 2, a unilateral change by the employer involving an increase of 15 minutes for lunch time, without bargaining over the change, was held violative of the Statute. Several factors, however, persuade the undersigned that the cited case is distinguishable from the one at hand. In the Scott Air Force Base case, supra, the employer also changed the workday to commence 15 minutes earlier so as to accommodate the new lunch schedule. Further, the change involved 300 employees. The Respondent herein did not alter the starting or quitting time for the Public Service Unit employees. Moreover, the revision involved only one employee in said unit. In this context I conclude the change herein was de minimis. In testifying with respect to the impact upon her as a result of the change, Barsy focused upon the fact that it affected her making personal business appointments and that she could not go to lunch with anyone. While her revised schedule may have caused some inconvenience, I am constrained to conclude that the limited extent of the revision-- as well as the absence of any marked effect upon the Public Service Unit employees-- did not require bargaining with the Union herein in regard thereto. Accordingly, I conclude that the unilateral change by Respondent on Helen Barsy's break times and lunch hour on October 8, 1981 was de minimis and not violative of Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute. (2) In respect to the allegation that Respondent conducted a "formal discussion" on October 8, 1981 with employees and failed to notify the Union in contravention of the Statute, I find it unnecessary to pass upon this contention in view of my conclusion that the change in Barsy's break periods and lunch hour was de minimis and resulted in no substantial impact. /12/ Accordingly, and in view of the foregoing, it is concluded that Respondent did not violate Section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute, and I recommend the Federal Labor Relations Authority adopt the following: ORDER It is hereby Ordered that the Complaint in Case No. 9-CA-20033 be, and the same hereby is, DISMISSED. WILLIAM NAIMARK Administrative Law Judge Date: September 22, 1982 Washington, D.C. --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute provides: Sec. 7116. Unfair labor practices (a) For the purpose of this chapter, it shall be an unfair labor practice for an agency-- (1) to interfere with, restrain, or coerce an employee in the exercise by the employee of any right under this chapter; . . . . (5) to refuse to consult or negotiate in good faith with a labor organization as required by this chapter(.) /2/ Section 7114(a)(2)(A) provides: Sec. 7114. Representation rights and duties . . . . (a)(2) An exclusive representative of an appropriate unit in an agency shall be given the opportunity to be represented at-- (A) any formal discussion between one or more representatives of the agency and one or more employees in the unit or their representatives concerning any grievance or any personnel policy or practices or other general condition of employment(.) /3/ section 7116(a)(8) provides: Sec. 7116. Unfair labor practices (a) For the purpose of this chapter, it shall be an unfair labor practice for an agency-- . . . . (8) to otherwise fail or refuse to comply with any provision of this chapter. /4/ Internal Revenue Service and Brookhaven Service Center, 6 FLRA 713 (1981); Department of the Navy, Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport Naval Base, 3 FLRA 412 (1980). /5/ See American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2875 and Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southern Fisheries Center, Miami Laboratory, Florida, 5 FLRA 441 (1981) (Union Proposals 1, 2 and 3); U.S. Army Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 19 FLRA No. 40 (1985). /6/ Id. /7/ U.S. Government Printing Office, 13 FLRA 203, at n. 4 (1983); Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Chicago Region, 15 FLRA No. 174 (1984). /8/ U.S. Army Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center, St. Louis, Missouri, supra note 5. /9/ Unless otherwise indicated, all dates hereinafter mentioned occur in 1981. /10/ Service Representative Cerven, Woodman and Barsy attended. At the request of Barsy, Claims Representative John Nelson, who acted as the Union representative of the District Office employees, also was present thereat. /11/ Under the adjusted coverage, two Service Representatives were always present during break times. Both under the prior schedule, as well as after the change in Barsy's schedule, only one Service Representative covered the phones between 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. /12/ Assuming arguendo the aforementioned changes were not deemed insubstantial and de minimis, I would nevertheless conclude that the meeting on October 8, with the three employees was not a "formal discussion" under Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Statute but an announcement of a policy with no discussion or debate. Thus, Respondent's failure to notify the Union and allow it to be present would not be violative of the Statute. Office of Program Operations, et al., 9 FLRA No. 9; Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, Texas et al., OALJ-81-121 (June 12, 1981).