[ v19 p1180 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
19 FLRA No. 130 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2910 Union and LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Agency Case No. O-NG-767 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), and raises questions relating to the negotiability of two Union proposals. Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determinations. The proposals in dispute arose in the context of negotiations regarding the relocation of employees of the Loan Reference Section of the Loan Division of the Agency. Union Proposal 1 4. a) Employees shall be given their preference of seating assignments to the fullest extent feasible after having had ample opportunity to review an accurate floor plan. Preference conflicts will be resolved in favor of the employee with greater Loan Division seniority. b) Staff preferences for subsequent seating reassignments will be honored to the extent practicable. The proposal would allow employees some choice with respect to seating in the new work area. The Agency asserts that grouping employees by "primary function" facilitates supervision of the employees in that it would allow for a more efficient means of giving instruction, assigning work, making staff announcements and holding staff meetings, and allows for the location of reference materials near the "areas of primary use." Thus, the Agency contends that employee seating constitutes a methods and means of performing work within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute, and, inasmuch as the proposal would allow employees to choose seating without regard to their "primary function," it interferes with the Agency's ability to determine the methods and means of performing its work. According to the Agency, the Loan Reference Section is informally divided based on two "functional duties" which it performs, i.e., Inter-library Loan and Congressional Loan. Supervision of the Section consists of a Section Head and two supervisors, one for the Congressional Loan function and one for the Inter-library Loan function. Also according to the Agency, employees are assigned to one of the two areas as a "primary function," and employees are assigned to work under one of the supervisors of the separate functions. The space into which the Loan Reference Section is being relocated consists of one room arranged with an employee work area on either side of a central area occupied by the supervisors. The room is divided by partitions. The Agency seeks to seat employees in one of the two employee work areas based on the "primary function" to which they are assigned, i.e., Congressional Loan or Inter-library Loan. In the context of section 7106(b)(1) "means" refers to any instrumentality, including an agent, tool, device, measure, plan or policy used by an agency for the accomplishment or furthering of the performance of its work. National Treasury Employees Union and U.S. Customs Service, Region VIII, San Francisco, California, 2 FLRA 255 (1979). "Method" refers to the way in which an agency performs its work. National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 541 and Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, California, 12 FLRA 270 (1983). The term "performing work" which appears in section 7106(b)( 1) of the Statute is intended to include those matters which directly and integrally relate to the agency's operations as a whole. Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO and Department of the Navy, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, 16 FLRA No. 88 (1984), appeal docketed No. 85-7039 (9th Cir. Jan. 22, 1985). Given the purpose of grouping employees by the primary type of work which they perform, i.e., to facilitate supervision and access to reference materials, the Authority concludes that such grouping is designed to enhance the ability of the Loan Reference Section to accomplish its functions in a more efficient and effective manner. It constitutes a grouping which directly and integrally relates to the agency's operations. New York Council, Association of Civilian Technicians v. FLRA, 757 F.2d 502 (2nd Cir. 1985). Therefore, the Authority finds that such grouping constitutes an agent, tool, device, measure, plan or policy for accomplishing or furthering the performance of the Agency's operations. Such grouping consequently falls within the meaning of methods and means of performing work under section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute. See International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots and Panama Canal Commission, 13 FLRA 508 performing work it is not within the duty to bargain. /1/ Union Proposal 2 7. The relocation of Loan Division employees shall be effected not sooner than 5 work days from the day on which this Agreement is signed. In conjunction with the filing of its petition for review the Union stated that the intent of Union Proposal 2 was to provide a 5 day period during which employees could be "informed of the terms of the Agreement and express their seating preferences." The Agency asserts that this proposal is inextricably related to Union Proposal 1 and that inasmuch as Union Proposal 1 is outside the duty to bargain so, too, is Union Proposal 2. Insofar as Union Proposal 2 applies to Union Proposal 1 it, like Union Proposal 1, is not within the duty to bargain. /2/ Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Union's petition for review 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 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ In view of this determination, it is unnecessary to address the Agency's other contentions as to the negotiability of the proposal. /2/ In its response to the Agency's statement of position, the Union asserted that Union Proposal 2 had applicability to other proposals considered by the parties but which were not before the Authority. This may be the case, however, insofar as the dispute which is before the Authority is concerned, the question is limited to the negotiability of Union Proposal 2 as it relates to Union Proposal 1.