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The decision of the Authority follows:
22 FLRA No. 105 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION Union and DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE Agency Case No.0-NG-1083 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE 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 regulation; 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 bargain. 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.