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19:1123(126)CA - Treasury USCS Miami, FL and NTEU -- 1985 FLRAdec CA

[ v19 p1123 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 19 FLRA No. 126
 Charging Party
                                           Case No. 4-CA-552
                            DECISION AND ORDER
    The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached Decision in the
 above-entitled proceeding finding that the Respondent had engaged in
 certain unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint, and
 recommending that it be ordered to cease and desist therefrom and take
 certain affirmative action.  The Judge further found that the Respondent
 had not engaged in certain other alleged unfair labor practices and
 recommended dismissal of the complaint with respect to them.  Exceptions
 to the Judge's Decision were filed by the Respondent and the General
 Counsel.  An opposition to the Respondent's exceptions was filed by the
 Charging Party.
    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 recommended Order, as modified herein.
    In Veterans Administration, Veterans Administration Medical Center,
 Muskogee, Oklahoma, 19 FLRA No. 122 (1985), issued subsequent to the
 Judge's Decision, the Authority concluded 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)
 that such an exclusive representative "be given an opportunity to be
 represented." On this basis it is concluded, in disagreement with the
 Judge, that no violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (8) has been
 established concerning the July 9 meeting herein.  The Authority also
 disagrees with the Judge's conclusion that the Respondent's conduct at
 the meeting constituted a bypass of the Union in violation of section
 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute.  In so finding, the Authority notes
 particularly that there is no evidence that management attempted to deal
 or negotiate directly with employees on matters properly bargainable
 with their representative.  See Internal Revenue Service (District,
 Region, National Office Units), 19 FLRA No. 48 (1985);  Department of
 Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, 19 FLRA No.
 56 (1985).  Accordingly, the Authority concludes that the complaint
 herein should be dismissed in its entirety.
    IT IS ORDERED that the complaint in Case No. 4-CA-552 be, and it
 hereby is, dismissed.  
 Issued, Washington, D.C., August 30, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS --------------------
                                       Case No. 4-CA-552
    Marc L. Barbakoff, Esq.
    Allan Pedrazas, Esq.
       For the Respondent
    Linda J. Norwood, Esq.
    Edward P. Nichols, Esq.
       For the General Counsel For the Respondent
                         Administrative Law Judge
                           Statement of the Case
    Pursuant to a Complaint and Notice of Hearing issued on November 13,
 1980 by the Acting Regional Director for the Federal Labor Relations
 Authority, Atlanta Region, a hearing was held before the undersigned on
 January 3, 1981 at Coral Gables, Florida.
    This case arises under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations
 Statute (herein called the Act).  It is based upon a charge filed on
 August 14, 1980 by National Treasury Employees Union (herein called the
 charging party or Union) against the Department of the Treasury, U.S.
 Customs Service, Miami, Florida (herein called the Respondent).
    The complaint herein alleged that on or about July 9, 1980, and
 during the last week of July 1980, Respondent conducted meetings with
 unit employees re personnel policies, practices and other general
 conditions of employment.  Further, that by such acts Respondent (a)
 failed to comply with Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Act and refused to
 bargain in good faith in violation of 7116(a)(1) and (5) thereof, (b)
 failed to comply with Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Act and failed to
 give the Union an opportunity to be represented at a formal meeting in
 violation of 7116(a)(1) and (8) thereof.
    Respondent filed an answer dated December 4, 1980 in which it
 admitted that on or about July 9, 1980 it conducted a meeting with the
 employees, but denied the commission of any unfair labor practices.
    Both parties were represented at the hearing, 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.  /1/
    Upon the entire record in this case, 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 Union has been, and still is,
 the collective bargaining representative of Respondent's non-supervisory
 employees (Customs, Region IV).
    2.  Respondent employs import specialists, whose principal duties are
 to make certain that merchandise entering the country is admissible and
 the proper duty thereon is collected.  The specialist reviews the entry
 documents, and he is obliged to classify and appraise the goods
 received.  Other tasks performed by these employees include (a) dealing
 with the import broker community and handling problems arising with the
 broker, (b) checking on reports involving liquidation of entries to make
 certain import specialists receives proper notification of entries and
 relevant documents, (c) assure that, under Entry Processing System,
 coded sheets are furnished the computer operator for programming into
 the computer system.  /2/
    3.  The import specialist, together with an assistant, comprises a
 team, and there are 11 teams employed by Respondent (9 in the Miami,
 Florida District Office).  Each such specialist is termed the "team
 leader", and these employees report to two supervisory import
 specialists.  Marshall Chwast and Anthony Russo.
    4.  Prior to April 1980, /3/ staff meetings were usually held about
 once each month although it was not a formalized procedure.  In a
 memorandum dated April 15 John R. Gray, Director of Classification and
 Value Division, announced that a staff meeting would take place every
 second Wednesday of each month.  /4/ It was also stated therein that all
 persons attending "are encouraged to provide topics for discussion prior
 to the meeting." Supervisor Chwast testified that the purpose of these
 meetings was to discuss items that would affect the work of import
 specialists, new policies, new guidelines received from headquarters--
 things coming up daily that management needed to discuss with import
    5.  In accordance with the aforesaid announcement supervisors Chwast
 and Russo conducted an import specialist meeting on July 9.  No
 notification was given by management to the Union, nor did Respondent
 consider that it was required to afford the bargaining agent an
 opportunity to attend the meeting.  /5/ In addition to the supervisors
 heretofore mentioned, twelve import specialists attended the meeting at
 which seventeen subjects were discussed.  The topics were, for the most
 part, selected by the supervisors, although questions were raised by the
 import specialist.  The main areas of discussion centered around the
    A. Morning Report-- management advised that a report would be kept by
 the supervisor of Classification and Value Employees on a bi-weekly
 basis, showing those individuals who are at work, on sick and annual
 leave, or on formal training.  A new form was devised by Director Gray
 for this purpose.
    B.  K Report-- it was stated by Chwast that this report, which each
 employee fills out to reflect the type of work he is performing, had not
 been completed correctly.  The supervisor indicated some of the mistakes
 which were made, and advised the employees that Xerox copies of the
 report would be sufficient.  /6/
    C. Accept Program-- This is a program which deals with the
 accelerated release of cargo at the port.  It is a computer-based system
 permitting such acceleration.  The criteria to be put into the computer
 is prepared by the import specialist for certain merchandise.  Since
 there had been considerable delay in releasing cargo, Respondent
 (through headquarters) decided to change its program in certain
 respects.  Thus, it was stated by the supervisor at the July 9 meeting
 that effective August 1 all items other than quota class merchandise
 would be released on a CF 3461 form (Customs Entry).  As a result
 thereof, the import specialist had to develop new criteria as input into
 the system, and this entailed reprogramming the computer.  Further, more
 merchandise would now be released on the 3461.
    D.  Samples-- in performing his required duties, the specialist had
 occasion to take samples of imported merchandise to make certain that
 the classification was right.  Each such employee received and returned
 his own samples.  It was stated at the meeting that henceforth a
 particular individual would handle the samples for all teams and take
 care of the mailing.  This changed the procedure as well as altered the
 responsibility for this duty.
    E.  Training Applications-- employees were informed that those who
 attended classes concerning the new Value Law /7/ must fill out
 certificates attesting to their attendance.
    F. APP-1-Importers Premises-- under the existing rule import
 specialists are required to visit importers who bring in large amounts
 of merchandise and discuss with them the classification and
 appraisement.  The supervisors told the specialists to make those visits
 at least once a month.  Some discussion ensued, as a result of a
 question by an employee, re the use of privately owned vehicles, and
 management suggested the use of government cars for this purpose.
    G.  Staffing-- announcements were made re assignment of named
 assistants to import specialists.  Several of the latter individuals
 requested assistance, and Chwast agreed to provide help to the
 specialist.  This procedure was followed in the past, and did not
 represent a departure or change by Respondent.
    H.  Information Bulletin-- import specialist Allen Vitow suggested
 that a bulletin be issued re a countervailing duty on certain textiles
 from India.  This matter was discussed, and Vitow prepared a draft of
 this information bulletin.
    6.  In addition to discussing the various subjects /8/ at the meeting
 on July 9, as heretofore set forth, the supervisors informed the import
 specialists at this meeting that a Transaction Value Committee would be
 established.  The purpose of the Committee was to receive questions from
 import specialists re the new Transaction Value Law and act as a forum
 for the discussion of problems raised by the statute.  After discussion
 among the Committee members, the problems would be discussed with the
 supervisors.  It was not intended that the Committee would implement
 policies or issue directives.  Past practice called for the supervisors
 to declare policy when the effect for new statute was questioned.  The
 appointed members of the Committee were Allen Vitow, Bob Kramer, and Jo
 Bronson Harris-- all bargaining unit employees.
    7.  In late July the Committee met to discuss an issue raised by
 Vitow re the deductibility of freight changes on certain 807 merchandise
 (wearing apparel) under the new law.  This meeting was conducted by
 Chwast.  Since the question dealt with considerable merchandise, the
 proper application of freight charges involved sizeable revenues.  No
 solution was reached re the issue raised at the Committee meeting, nor
 was any policy announced by management in regard thereto.  No other
 meetings were held by the Committee.
    General Counsel contends that Respondent ran afoul of the Act by
 holding formal meetings with its employees without notifying the Union
 and affording it an opportunity to be present thereat.  By conducting
 such sessions, both on July 9 and in late July, the employer allegedly
 failed to comply with Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Act.  Accordingly, it
 is contended that Respondent violated Sections 7116(a)(1) and (8)
 thereof.  Further, General Counsel maintains that such conduct
 constituted a bypassing of the Union herein and was therefore violative
 of 7116(a)(1) and (5).
    Respondent takes the position that the items it discussed at the
 meetings are not properly characterized as personnel policies, practices
 or conditions of employment.  It insists that the July 9 session was a
 routine staff meeting and instructional in nature.  The employer was
 endeavoring, it avers, to clarify certain procedures or practices rather
 than institute any changes.  Moreover, Respondent notes that much of the
 discussion ensued as a result of questions posed by the employees, which
 belies any attempt by management to conduct a formal meeting re working
 conditions.  It is also maintained that since the shop steward was
 present at the July 9 meeting and had an opportunity to participate
 thereat, the failure to notify the Union officially should not warrant
 finding that the employer failed to comply with the statute.
    In the public sector an obligation is imposed upon an employer to
 notify a bargaining representative and allow it to be present where
 certain discussions take place with employees.  Under Section
 7114(a)(2)(A) the representative must be given an opportunity to be
 represented at any formal discussion between the agency and employees
 concerning any grievance, personnel policy or practices or other general
 conditions of employment.  In the case at bar Respondent urges that this
 statutory language should apply solely to instances where an agency
 seeks to initiate changes in practices or working conditions.  However,
 such contention was rejected in Internal Revenue Service, Atlanta
 District Office, Atlanta, Georgia A/SLMR No. 1014.  The Assistant
 Secretary in the cited case refused to construe Section 10e of the Order
 (the predecessor to Section 7114(a)(2)(A)) as to encompass only
 discussions re changes or proposed changes in policies, practices or
 working conditions.
    While not conceding that it was required to notify the Union of the
 meeting on July 9, Respondent asserts the bargaining agent was
 represented by the fact that the shop steward, a unit employee, was
 present thereat.  I do not agree that the presence of Sherri Hurt at the
 meeting was a fulfillment of any duty owed by management to give
 notification to the Union.  As per the stipulation between the parties
 herein, the president of the Union, Frank Carelli, was the proper person
 to contact re formal meetings between management and the bargaining
 agent.  There is no showing that shop steward Hurt customarily attended
 formal meetings as a union representative.  Neither does it appear that
 she was present on July 9 as a union official or afforded an opportunity
 to participate in that capacity.  Thus, I cannot conclude that
 representation was afforded the bargaining agent by management merely by
 virtue of the presence at the meeting of this employee.  See Department
 of the Navy, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, A/SLMR No. 1003.
    In determining whether Respondent was obliged to notify the Union of
 its meetings, as well as afford it an opportunity to be represented, the
 decisive consideration is the nature of the meetings.  If the latter
 were in fact instructional, or called merely to disseminate information,
 it cannot be concluded that formal discussions occurred thereat.
 Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Chicago District,
 Chicago, Illinois, A/SLMR No. 1120.
    A. July 9 meeting with employees
    Of the seventeen topics discussed at the July 9 meeting, it is clear
 that many were concerned with instructing employees in respect to
 filling out forms, imparting information to the employees, reminding the
 latter of their duties, or dealing with routine requirements on the job.
  Included in these categories are, in my opinion, these subjects:  (a)
 Certificate of Training Applications, (b) July 2, 1980 Federal Register,
 (c) Information Bulletin-Countervailing Duty, (d) Missing Documents, /9/
 (g) No Change Stamp, (h) Federal Registers, (i) File Room, (j) Supplies.
  I do not deem these subjects to be properly embraced within the term
 "formal discussions" since, in most instances, they involve ministerial
 and clerical functions or reminders from management as to routine
 procedures which were in effect at all times.  Further, in many
 instances the subjects discussed arose by virtue of questions raised by
 the import specialists.  /10/ As to these situations, the meeting was
 not thereby transformed into a formal discussion.  See Department of
 Health, Education and Welfare, Social Security Administration, BRSI,
 Northeastern Program Service Center, A/SLMR No. 957.
    The remaining topics discussed at the July 8 meeting were:  (a)
 Transaction Value Committee, (b) Staffing, (c) K-Report, (d) Accept
 Program, (e) APP-1 Importers Premises, (f) Mailing of Samples.  General
 Counsel insists that the discussion re these items involved either
 personnel policies, practices, or conditions of employment, and thus a
 failure to notify the appropriate Union official and allow him to attend
 was violative of the Act.  Accordingly, it is necessary to consider
 these subjects in seriatim to determine if this contention is
          (a) Transaction Value Committee
          General Counsel maintains that the announcement of the
       Transaction Value Committee constituted a formal discussion within
       the language of Section 7114(a)(2)(A) of the Act.  It avers that
       the questions submitted to the Committee, and the discussion of
       same, involves working conditions.
          This particular group was set up by Respondent by virtue of the
       new law which might pose special valuation problems for the import
       specialists handling 807 wearing apparel.  It was established as a
       forum to obtain questions from those specialists which would be
       presented to the employee-Committee.  After the latter unit had
       obtained these queries, it was intended that the group would meet
       with management.  Thus the express purpose of this Committee was
       to solicit questions or problems from the employees, who handled
       this particular merchandise, which arose as a result of the new
       Value Transaction Law.  In this posture, I deem the instant case
       to be similar to the situation present in National Aeronautics and
       Space Administration (NASA), Washington, D.C. and Lyndon B.
       Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, 3 FLRC 617, FLRC No. 74A-95
       (1975).  In the cited case meetings were conducted with employees
       for the purpose of soliciting opinions as the EEO program of the
       agency.  The Federal Labor Relations Council found that the
       conduct of the agency in evaluating the program, which existed
       apart from the collective bargaining relationship, did not require
       the employer to permit the presence of the exclusive
       representative at said meetings.  The Committee herein was formed
       to solicit questions and views re the new law.  While it may be
       true that discussion will ultimately take place in respect to
       changes in valuing 807 articles, that stage has not been reached.
       Utilizing this vehicle for information-gathering purposes is not
       tantamount, in my opinion, to conducting discussion re making
       conditions.  Accordingly, I find that the establishment of the
       Transaction Value Committee was not a formal meeting so as to
       require that the Union be afforded an opportunity to be present
          (b) Staffing
          Import Specialist Vitow testified that, at the meeting, it was
       stated by a supervisor that certain assistant import specialists
       would be switched from one team to another;  that this was
       standard policy to do so once each year.  The minutes of the
       meeting further indicate that one specialist asked Chwast for help
       on his team since her helper was on sick leave.  The supervisor
       agreed to provide her with assistance.
          While staffing per se is a subject matter which may well
       involve working conditions, I am not persuaded that, in the
       context presented at the July 9 meeting, the statements re
       assignment of assistants may be properly characterized as a formal
       discussion thereof.  Apart from the fact that such assignment of
       assistants was routine in nature, the limited testimony by Vitow
       does not reflect that management attempted to engage in a dialogue
       re staffing.  Neither does it appear that Respondent intended to
       either reduce its staff of import specialists or take any action
       which would affect their employment.  Further, to the extent that
       the minutes of the meeting indicate action taken, as comments
       made, by management concerning the specialist, they were neither
       explicated or amplified by testimony presented on behalf of the
       General Counsel.  In this posture, I am constrained to conclude
       the Union would have little interest to protect by attending the
       meeting.  Accordingly, I conclude the failure to include the
       Bargaining agent to address this issue was not in contention of
       Section 7114(a)(2)(A).
          (c) K-Report
          General Counsel contends that since this report concerned the
       productivity of the employee, a discussion of the proper method of
       filling it out constituted a formal discussion.  /11/ I cannot
       agree.  The K-Report, which the specialists filled out, indicated
       the type of work done on a given month by the individual.  No
       change was made by Respondent in respect thereto, nor did
       management attempt to discuss the basic information which
       comprised the report.  Chwast merely informed the import
       specialist, as revealed in the minutes and the testimony by Vitow,
       that some of the blanks (or boxes) on the form had not been
       completed.  He further stated the form was being filled out
       improperly since the wrong information had been inserted in a
       particular box.  I construe these comments to be instructional in
       nature with no intent by Respondent to by-pass the bargaining
       agent.  See Department of the Treasury, et al. supra.  The
       discussion re the incorrect completion of forms is not, in my
       opinion, equitable with an attempt by management to discuss the
       type of work performed by employees or to change the contents
       thereof.  An explanation how to fill out forms, or why there were
       incorrections in so doing, is not embraceable within the terms
       "formal discussion" of working conditions.  Hence, I conclude
       Respondent was not obliged to afford the Union to be present doing
       the instructions re the K-Report.
          (d) Accept Program
          Respondent takes the position that the change in the Accept
       Program dealt with the utilization of a Customs form, and that it
       did not affect the work of the unit employees.  It argues that the
       presence of the Union representative is not required at the
       meeting despite the announcement by the supervisor in respect to
       the change.
          Record facts, however, do reflect that the change in the
       program did have an impact upon the duties imposed upon certain
       import specialists.  By increasing the number of items to be
       released on an accelerated basis, and via the entry form,
       management compelled the specialist to reprogram the computer.
       New criteria was required for the system, and this impacted upon
       the work performed by the particular employees.  As such, the
       releasing of cargo under the Accept Program in the new fashion did
       involve and concern the working conditions of the import
       specialist.  Announcement by Respondent in this regard was not
       merely informative re an established procedure.  It was an
       admitted change in operation, which I conclude would necessarily
       constitute a "formal" discussion of a working condition.
       Accordingly, management should have provided the Union herein with
       an opportunity to be present during a discussion of the Accept
       Program at the meeting on July 9.  Its failure to do so is
       violative of Sections 7116(a)(1) and (8) of the Act.  Further, I
       conclude that in meeting with the specialist on the said date and
       announcing the change in this program, without notifying the
       Union, Respondent bypassed the bargaining representative.  /12/ By
       so doing, the Respondent has run afoul of Section 7116(a)(1) and
       (5) of the Act.
          (e) APP-1 Importers Premises
          General Counsel contends that the announcement re AAP-1 visits
       touched directly on terms and conditions of employment.  It
       engendered, according to this contention, questions re the use of
       personal vehicle and altered the degree of contact had by the
       specialist with the public.  Under the AAP-1 program visits were
       required to be made to the importers' premises when the
       merchandise was extremely valuable or could not be transported to
       the Customhouse.  Such visits by the specialist were, under the
       rule, to be made once a month.  At the meeting in July 9 the
       supervisors reminded the employees to make these visits,
       especially since the new value law had been passed.  No change was
       made by this announcement.  Management was requesting that the
       employees adhere to the rule which had been in existence.  I do
       not deem this reminder by the employer to be a formal discussion
       re working conditions under Section 7114(a)(2)(A).  The fact that,
       as urged by General Counsel, questions were raised by employer as
       to reimbursement if they used private vehicles does not transform
       the meeting into a formal discussion.  Department of Health,
       Education and Welfare, et al. supra.  Therefore, I conclude the
       Respondent has not violated the Act by not affording the Union an
       opportunity to be present during the discussion of the APP-1
          (f) Mailing of Samples
          While the new procedure for handling the return of sample
       merchandise accepted by the specialists may not have involved a
       startling innovation, it does provide for a change in the duties
       of these employees.  Thus, each individual is no longer concerned
       with the responsibility for handling the samples and returning
       some to the brokers.  The change in the procedures, whereby one
       import specialist will handle this duty for all specialists, must
       result necessarily in an impact upon the time utilized, as well as
       the tasks performed, by these employees.  It seems apparent that
       functions of the workers fall within the term "general working
       conditions".  See Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol,
       Tobacco and Firearms, Midwest Region, Chicago, Illinois, A/SLMR
       No. 1112.  The meeting on July 9, insofar as it was concerned with
       the new procedure re the handling of sample merchandise by the
       import specialists, was a formal discussion under the Act.  I
       conclude that Respondent's failure to offer the Union an
       opportunity to be present during such discussion was violative of
       Section 7116(a)(1) and (8);  that by dealing with the specialists
       in this regard without notifying their bargaining representative
       constituted a bypassing of the Union in contravention of Sections
       7116(a)(1) and (5) thereof.
    B.  Late July meeting with employees
    It is maintained by the General Counsel that the Transaction Value
 Committee meeting in the latter part of July was a formal one because
 matters affecting terms and conditions of employment were discussed.  It
 has been concluded herein that the announcement of the formation of this
 Committee did not require the presence of the Union herein.  This
 conclusion was bottomed on the fact that management, in the course of
 soliciting questions re the new Value Law, was not actually discussing
 working conditions and thus no obligation existed to afford the
 bargaining agent an opportunity to be present.  The meeting of the
 Committee with management, occasioned by Vitow, was an extension of the
 Committee's formation.  It dealt with questions raised by Vitow and
 others as to the applicability of the new law-- the issue of freight
 changes thereunder.  In my opinion the discussion re the Value Law with
 the Committee did not transfer the meeting into one involving working
 conditions.  It does not appear that management sought to introduce
 changes in the duties of employees.  Neither does the record reflect
 that, at this point, it had embarked upon a consideration of any new
 procedures for handling this merchandise.  The meeting was confined to
 questions as to the application of the new law, and I do not conclude
 that it had reached the 'formal discussion' stage.  Accordingly, I find
 that Respondent did not contravene the Act by meeting with the Committee
 in late July re the new Value Law.
    Having concluded that Respondent violated Sections 7116(a)(1), (5)
 and (8) of the Act, it is recommended that the Authority issue the
 following order:
    Pursuant to Section 2423.29 of the Federal Labor Relations
 Authority's Rules and Regulations and Section 7118 of the Statute, the
 Authority hereby orders that the Department of the Treasury, U.S.
 Customs Service, Region IV, Miami, Florida shall:
    1.  Cease and desist from:
          (a) Conducting formal discussions between management and unit
       employees, or their representatives, concerning personnel policies
       and practices, or other matters affecting general working
       conditions of employees in the unit, without notifying and
       affording National Treasury Employees Union, the exclusive
       representative of its employees, or any other exclusive
       representative of its employees, the opportunity to be represented
       at such discussions.
          (b) Interfering with, restraining, or coercing the employees in
       the exercise of their rights assured by the Order by failing to
       notify and afford National Treasury Employees Union, or any other
       exclusive representative of its employees, the opportunity to be
       represented at formal discussions between management and
       employees, or other matters affecting general working conditions
       of employees in the unit.
          (c) In any like or related manner, interfering with,
       restraining, or coercing its employees 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) Notify the National Treasury Employees Union, of and afford
       it the opportunity to be represented at formal discussions between
       management and unit employees, as their representatives,
       concerning personnel policies and practices, or other matters
       affecting the general working conditions of employees in the unit.
          (b) Post at its facilities at the U.S. Customs Service, Miami,
       Florida copies of the attached notice marked "Appendix" on forms
       to be furnished by the Federal Labor Relations Authority.  Upon
       receipt of such forms, they shall be signed by the Regional
       Commissioner, U.S. Customs Service, Miami, Florida, and shall be
       posted and maintained by him for 60 consecutive days thereafter in
       conspicuous places, including all places where notices to
       employees are customarily posted.  The Regional Commissioner shall
       take reasonable steps to insure that such notices are not altered,
       defaced, or covered by any other material.
          (c) Notify the Federal Labor Relations Authority, in writing,
       within 30 days from the date of this order what steps have been
       taken to comply herewith.
                                       WILLIAM NAIMARK
                                       Administrative Law Judge
 Dated:  June 5, 1981
         Washington, D.C.
                          NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES
 WE WILL NOT conduct formal discussions between management and unit
 employees, or their representatives, concerning personnel policies and
 practices or other matters affecting general working conditions of
 employees in the unit, without notifying and affording the National
 Treasury Employees Union, the exclusive representative of our employees,
 or any other exclusive representative of our employees, the opportunity
 to be represented at such discussions.  WE WILL NOT interfere with,
 restrain, or coerce unit employees in the exercise of their rights
 assured by the Order by failing to notify and afford the National
 Treasury Employees Union, or any other exclusive representative of our
 employees, the opportunity to be represented at formal discussions
 between management and employees, or employee representatives concerning
 personnel policies and practices, or other matters affecting general
 working conditions of employees in the unit.  WE WILL NOT in any like or
 related manner interfere with, restrain, or coerce our employees in the
 exercise of their rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management
 Relations Statute.  WE WILL notify the National Treasury Employees
 Union, of and afford it the opportunity to be represented at, formal
 discussions between management and unit employees or their
 representatives, concerning personnel policies and practices, or other
 matters affecting general working conditions of employees in the unit.
                                       (Agency or Activity)
 Dated:  . . .  By:  (Signature) 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 the employees have any
 questions concerning this Notice or compliance with any of its
 provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional Director,
 Region IV, for the Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is:
 Suite 501, 1776 Peachtree Street, N.W., North Wing, Atlanta, Georgia
 30309, and whose telephone number is:  (404) 881-2324.
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    /1/ At the hearing Respondent moved to dismiss the complaint based on
 the contentions that (a) the allegations therein are vague and unclear,
 merely stating that meetings were conducted by Respondent with unit
 employees;  (b) it was denied due process since the Regional Director
 refused Respondent a request for a subpoena of the statements taken
 during the investigation of this case;  (c) the Chief Administrative Law
 Judge wrongfully denied Respondent's request for interrogatories as to
 the witnesses and the statements taken during the investigation.  The
 motion was denied by the undersigned.  While the complaint might have
 been pleaded with better specificity, paragraphs 9, 10, and 11 do
 apprise Respondent of the facts which are alleged to be violative of the
 Act, and I am satisfied the complaint is sufficient.  In view of Section
 2423.7(d) of the Rules and Regulations, I do not agree with Respondent's
 view that it has been denied due process by not obtaining the
 investigating data obtained by the regional office.  Neither do I
 conclude the ends of justice would be denied by ordering interrogatories
 re such information under 2423.19(e) thereof.
    /2/ These particular duties are performed by certain import
 specialists in addition to their regular tasks.
    /3/ Unless otherwise indicated, all dates hereinafter mentioned occur
 in 1980.
    /4/ The staff meetings in this Classification and Value Division were
 discontinued in August.
    /5/ Record facts reveal that unit employee Sherri Hurt, who was shop
 steward, attended the meeting.  However, the parties stipulated at the
 hearing that Frank Carelli, as president of the local union, would have
 been the proper person to contact re formal meetings;  that he was not
 informed of the July 9 meetings in the Classification and Value
 Division;  nor was he notified of the meeting later that month of the
 Transaction Value Committee.
    /6/ This report is statistical in nature.  Each team member is
 required to fill it out, and thereafter the figures are consolidated for
 submission to headquarters.
    /7/ Trade Agreement Act of 1979, P.L. 96-39 which set forth a new
 method in valuing merchandise to arrive at the duty to be paid by the
    /8/ Other topics mentioned at the meeting included (a) supplies, (b)
 file room entries being lost or misplaced, (c) unauthorized use of
 no-change stamp, (d) distribution of Federal Registers, and (e) missing
 documents.  Most of these matters arose due to complaint from the
 employees in attendance.
    /9/ Employees raised the question as to whether brokers and import
 specialists were adhering to the proper procedures for presenting
 missing documents to Customs, as set forth in an Information Bulletin.
 The decision to reissue the bulletin as a reminder does not, I conclude,
 transform this exchange into a "formal" discussion.
    /10/ Included within the 17 topics, and numbered as XI in the
 minutes, was a request by an employer that supervision of C&V inform
 Headquarters and Regional Operations of the Miami C&V opinion re new
 policy on valuation.  Chwast's agreement to check this out does not, in
 my opinion, institute a formal discussion under the Act.
    /11/ In support of its position the General Counsel cite a decision
 of Administrative Law Judge Devaney, Department of Health, Education and
 Welfare, Region VI, SSA, et al. Case No. 6-CA-315 (1981).  The cited
 case is inapposite since it involves a change instituted by management
 as to reporting mileage while attending to official business.  The
 employer instituted a new method of computing and reporting the
 distances travelled by employees.
    /12/ While the new procedure for the Accept Program may be deemed a
 unilateral change of working conditions, no such allegation appears in
 the complaint.  Accordingly, I make no finding in this regard.