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U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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19:1183(131)NG - NFFE Local 1363 and Army Garrison, Yongsan, Korea -- 1985 FLRAdec NG

[ v19 p1183 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 19 FLRA No. 131
 LOCAL 1363
                                            Case No. O-NG-854
    The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority
 pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(D) and (E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and raises an issue
 concerning the negotiability of two Union proposals.  Upon careful
 consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions,
 the Authority makes the following determinations.
                             Union Proposal 1
          We propose that employees continue to be authorized to ship
       their privately owned ammunition as part of household goods.
                             Union Proposal 2
          We propose that the agency's policy of prohibiting shipment of
       privately-owned ammunition as part of household goods be postponed
       and modified as follows.  For employees who have not yet completed
       their transportation agreement, the policy will commence 90 days
       after that agreement expires.  For employees who have presently
       completed their transportation agreement, the policy will commence
       six months after the date of this agreement.  In both cases,
       employees will be granted authority, upon their request, to make
       advance partial shipment of household goods which shall include
       shipment of ammunition.  Employees shall be authorized to place
       such ammunition in non-temporary storage.  Further, even after the
       policy goes into effect, that policy shall not restrict employees
       from shipping either inert cartridge brass or inert bullets.  We
       propose further that this agreement shall be published in every
       edition of the agency's civilian personnel newsletter from the
       data (date) of the agreement and for the next two years.
    Based on the language of the proposals and the record in this case,
 both proposals deal with the proposed establishment of an Agency
 regulation banning the shipment of privately owned ammunition as
 household goods.  /1/ Union Proposal 1 would essentially prevent the
 Agency's proposed regulation from being implemented.  /2/ Union Proposal
 2, alternatively, would merely delay the implementation of the new
 policy and provide for interim shipments, non-temporary storage of
 ammunition, and the exclusion of inert cartridge brass or inert bullets
 from the definition of ammunition for purposes of the proposed policy
 change.  /3/
    As to the Union proposals, the Agency contends, among other things,
 that because they conflict with a Government-wide regulation both are
 nonnegotiable.  Specifically, the Agency argues that the applicable
 Federal Travel Regulation (FTR), Chapter 2-1.4h /4/ as interpreted by
 the Comptroller General (CG) prohibits the shipment of an employee's
 live ammunition as household goods.  /5/
    The regulations at issue, the FTRs, are incorporated by reference in
 Part 101-7 of the Federal Property Management Regulations (41 CFR 101-7)
 promulgated by the Administrator of General Services.  These regulations
 were issued under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 5721-5733.  They are
 applicable to the travel and transportation expenses of civilian
 employees of Government agencies, including civilian employees of the
 Department of Defense, as authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5721-5733.  By their
 terms, these regulations generally apply to and are binding on the
 Federal civilian work force as a whole, though not, of course, to every
 Federal employee.  As such, these regulations are generally applicable
 throughout the Federal government and are "Government-wide regulations"
 within the meaning of section 7117(a).  See American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3483 and Federal Home Loan Bank
 Board, New York District Office, 13 FLRA 446 (1983).
    The particular regulation involved herein does not precisely define
 all the items which may properly constitute "household goods and
 personal effects." Although the term "household goods" may lack a
 precise definition, the Comptroller General has noted that various
 recreational items, such as boats, airplanes and camper trailers, are
 expressly excluded from the scope of "household goods" under paragraph
 2-1.4h of the FTR.  To the Secretary of the Navy, 44 Comp.Gen. 65
 (1964).  When faced with a recreation item that was not expressly
 excluded by the FTR as within the purview of the term household goods,
 the Comptroller General examined whether the item was "the type of
 personal property so closely associated with (the employee's) home and
 person as to come within the scope of the term household goods." Matter
 of:  Guy T. Easter, 62 Comp.Gen. 45, 47 (1982).  Further, the CG has
 noted that "household goods" in its general and ordinary sense "refers
 to furniture and furnishings or equipment-- articles of a permanent
 nature-- used in and about a place of residence for the comfort and
 accommodation of the members of a family." To the Secretary of the Navy,
 44 Comp.Gen. 65, 66 (1964).
    Specifically, with reference to ammunition in a situation involving
 shipment of household goods under the Foreign Service Act of 1946, the
 CG stated in the Memorandum cited by the Agency that:
          As ordinarily understood, therefore, and in the absence of
       special considerations, it does not appear that 129 pounds of
       ammunition would be considered to be furniture, household goods,
       or personal effects, and, consequently, there is no legal
       authority for charging to public funds the cost of this
       transportation.  /6/
    The Union has not introduced any evidence in the record which would
 provide sufficient support for the assertion that privately owned
 ammunition is so closely associated with an employee's home and person
 as to constitute "household goods." Moreover, there is nothing to
 indicate that the term "household goods" in the applicable regulation is
 to be given anything other than its ordinary meaning.  Thus, in light of
 the above cited precedent, the Authority finds that an employee's
 privately owned ammunition is not within the purview of those items
 which constitute "household goods" under the FTR.  Consequently, because
 they are inconsistent with a Government-wide regulation, both union
 proposals are outside the duty to bargain.
    Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the petition for review be, and it
 hereby is, dismissed.  /7/ 
 Issued, Washington, D.C., August 30, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    /1/ Reimbursement for the expenses of transporting a government
 employee's household goods and personal effects in this case is
 authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5724(a)(2).
    /2/ Union Petition for Review at 2.
    /3/ Id.
    /4/ The applicable Federal Travel Regulation provides in pertinent
          2-1.4.  Definitions
                                .  .  .  .
          h.  Household goods.  All personal property associated with the
       home and all personal effects belonging to an employee and the
       immediate family when shipment or storage begins, which can be
       legally accepted and transported as household goods by an
       authorized commercial carrier (see advisory note below) in
       accordance with the rules and regulations established or approved
       by an appropriate Federal or State regulatory authority, except
       the items listed in (1) through (4) below.  Snowmobiles and
       vehicles with two or three wheels, e.g., motorcycles, mopeds, and
       golf carts, may be shipped as household goods.
          (1) Automobiles, trucks, vans and similar motor vehicles;
       boats;  airplanes;  mobile homes;  camper trailers;  and farming
          (2) Live animals, birds, fowls, and reptiles;
          (3) Cordwood and building materials;  and
          (4) Property for resale, disposal, or commercial use rather
       than for use by the employee or the immediate family.
    /5/ No argument was presented regarding whether the shipment of
 ammunition, under the circumstances, would be otherwise prohibited.
    /6/ B-130583-O.M., May 8, 1957.
    /7/ In view of the decision herein, the Authority finds it
 unnecessary to consider the Agency's additional contentions as to the
 nonnegotiability of the proposals under consideration.