U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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22:1068(105)NG - NTEU and Treasury, Financial Management Service -- 1986 FLRAdec NG

[ v22 p1068 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 22 FLRA No. 105
                                            Case No.0-NG-1083
                         I.  Statement of the Case
    The petition for review in this case is before the Authority because
 of an appeal filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute).  It raises issues
 concerning the negotiability of the following Union proposal submitted
 while the parties were bargaining over ground rules in preparation for
 contract negotiations.
                              Union Proposal
          All employee negotiators will receive travel and per diem
       reimbursement for negotiations from the employer.
                       II.  Positions of the Parties
    The Agency contends that the proposal is not within the duty to
 bargain for the following reasons:  /1/
          1.  It does not concern conditions of employment within the
       meaning of section 7103(a)(14) of the Statute because payment of
       travel expenses is specifically provided for by law;
          2.  it is inconsistent with Federal law or Government-wide
          3.  the demand for travel and per diem to employee/negotiators
       is not limited to those employee/negotiators who are receiving
       official time.
    The Agency maintains that the crux of the issue is the negotiability
 of reimbursement for travel and per diem for employee negotiators.  As
 explained by the Union, the proposal would only provide travel and per
 diem to employee negotiators on official time.
                       III.  Analysis and Conclusion
    The Authority held in National Treasury Employees Union and
 Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service, 21 FLRA No. 2 (1986),
 petition for review filed sub nom. Department of the Treasury, U.S.
 Customs Service v. FLRA, No. 86-1198 (D.C. Cir. March 27, 1986) that
 payment by an agency of travel expenses and per diem allowances incurred
 by employees using official time in the conduct of labor-management
 relations concerns a condition of employment which is within the
 agency's administrative discretion, and is not inconsistent with law or
 Government-wide regulation.  Furthermore, the negotiability of travel
 and per diem is based on consideration of whether the travel involved is
 in the primary interest of the Government so as to constitute official
 business without consideration to 7131 official time.  In this regard,
 the Agency has not cited any legal or regulatory provision, nor is any
 apparent, which would absolutely prohibit it from exercising through
 negotiations the discretion which it possesses to determine whether, and
 under what circumstances, travel attendant to labor-management relations
 activities is sufficiently within the interest of the United States so
 as to constitute official business.  Also, the Union acknowledges that
 provisions of the Travel Expense Act and the Federal Travel Regulations
 apply. Thus, the Authority finds the proposal is within the duty to
                                IV.  Order
    Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Agency shall upon request (or as
 otherwise agreed to by the parties) bargain concerning the Union's
 Proposal).  /2/
    Issued, Washington, D.C., July 31, 1986.
                                       /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
                ---------------  FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    (1) The Agency incorporated in the present case its Statement of
 Position in National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the
 Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 21 FLRA No. 19 (1986).  Thus, the
 positions and arguments presented here are identical.
    (2) In deciding that the Union's proposal is within the Agency's duty
 to bargain, we make no judgment as to the merits of the proposal.