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U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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23:0730(95)NG - NAGE, Service Employees International Union and Missouri NG -- 1986 FLRAdec NG

[ v23 p730 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 23 FLRA No. 95
                                            Case No. 0-NG-1300
                         I.  Statement of the Case
    This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal
 filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), and concerns the
 negotiability of one Union proposal.  The proposal, which appears in the
 Appendix to this Decision, essentially provides that National Guard
 civilian technicians will be given the option of wearing standardized
 civilian attire rather than the military uniform.  Based on the
 following, we find the proposal nonnegotiable.
                       II.  Positions of the Parties
    The Union asserts that its proposal is an appropriate arrangement for
 employees adversely affected by the Agency's decision to require
 civilian technicians to wear the military uniform and is negotiable
 under section 7106(b)(3) of the Statute.  In support of its contention,
 it relies on the Authority's decision in American Federation of
 Government Employees, Local 217 and Veteran's Administration Medical
 Center, Augusta, Georgia, 21 FLRA No. 13 (1986).  It characterizes that
 decision as standing for the proposition that, while the decision to
 require employees to wear a uniform may be a management right, the type
 of uniform is negotiable as an appropriate arrangement.  It asserts
 that, in light of its decision in Veterans Administration, the Authority
 should reconsider its previous decisions on the issue of National Guard
 civilian technicians wearing the military uniform and requests that the
 Authority conduct a hearing on the matter.  It further asserts that,
 when measured against the criteria which the Authority has articulated
 for determining whether a matter is negotiable as an appropriate
 arrangement, /1/ this proposal constitutes an arrangement for adversely
 affected employees which does not excessively interfere with the
 Agency's right to determine its internal security practices.  /2/
    The Agency notes that the Authority has held that the requirement
 that civilian technicians wear the military uniform is a methods and
 means of performing work within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) of the
 Statute.  For example, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, State of
 New York, Albany, New York Council, Association of Civilian Technicians,
 15 FLRA 288 (1984), aff'd sub nom. New York Council, Association of
 Civilian Technicians v. FLRA, 757 F.2d 502 (2d Cir. 1985), cert. denied
 106 S.Ct. 137 (1985).  It argues that the Union's proposal in this case
 is not an appropriate arrangement because it excessively interferes with
 the Agency's right under section 7106(b)(1) in that it would totally
 eliminate the right to determine the methods and means of performing
                      III.  Analysis and Conclusions
         A.  The Circumstances in Veterans Administration, 21 FLRA
                No. 13, Are Distinguishable from Those Present Here
    In the Veterans Administration case, the record established that the
 purpose of requiring employees to wear a uniform was to allow ready
 identification of employees for security purposes.  In that context, the
 Authority found that negotiation over the specific type of uniform did
 not interfere with the purpose for which the uniform requirement was
 adopted.  However, the purpose of lthe uniform requirement, insofar as
 National Guard technicians are concerned, is different.  The National
 Guard Bureau requires technicians to wear the military uniform to foster
 military discipline, promote uniformity, encourage esprit de corps,
 incrrease the readiness of the military forces for early deployment and
 enhance identification of the National Guard as a military organization.
  /3/ Given that context, the type of uniform, i.e., a military uniform,
 is critical to achieving the purpose for which the Agency has adopted
 the uniform requirement.
    In view of the different circumstances present in the two cases, no
 reconsideration of the Authority's previous determinations in the
 National Guard cases is called for and the Union's request for a hearing
 is denied.
        B.  The Union's Proposal Does Not Constitute an Appropriate
    The Union has identified several instances where it contends that
 employees have been adversely affected as a result of the Agency's
 requirement that they wear the military uniform.  Assuming that the
 Union's contentions are accurate, the Authority finds that, in view of
 the relationship between the military nature of the uniform and the
 purpose for which the uniform requirement was adopted, a proposal
 allowing employees to elect to wear a nonmilitary uniform would negate
 the Agency's right to determine the methods and means of performing
 work.  A proposal which in this manner totally abrogates the exercise of
 a management right excessively interferes with the right and is not
 negotiable as an appropriate arrangement under section 7106(b)(3).  See
 American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3186 and
 Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Social Security Field
 Operations, Philadelphia Region, 23 FLRA No. 30 (1986) (Proposal 1).
    This is not to say, however, that under all circumstances proposed
 exceptions to the uniform requirement must be found non-negotiable.  See
 National Association of Government Employees, Local R3-84, SEIU, AFL-CIO
 and District of Columbia Air National Guard, 23 FLRA No. 73 (1986), in
 which the Authority found negotiable a proposal which excepted employees
 from the uniform requirement when engaged in specified labor-management
 activitgies.  Thus, some portions of the Union's proposal which seek
 specific exceptions to the uniform requirement might be found
 negotiable, if severed from a proposed overall option of wearing
 nonmilitary attire.  We do not consider this question further here.  The
 Authority generally does not consider parts of a proposal separately,
 unless the parties specifically so request, which was not done in the
 present case.  See Local 32, American Federation of Government Employees
 v. FLRA, 774 F.2d 498, 505 (D.C. Cir. 1985).
                                IV.  Order
    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,
    Issued, Washington, D.C. October 31, 1986.
                                       /s/ Jerry Calhoun, Chairman
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       /s/ Jean McKee, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
                ---------------  FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    (1) National Association of Government Employees, Local R14-87 and
 Kansas Army National Guard, 21 FLRA No. 4 (1986).
    (2) Contrary to the Union's statement, the Agency has not asserted
 that the proposal conflicts with its right under section 7106(a) to
 determine its internal security practices.
    (3) See Division of Military and Naval Affairs, State of New York,
 Albany, New York, 15 FLRA 288 (1984).
                               Section 12.
    A.  Excepted Technicians throughout the State shall wear an
 agreeed-upon Standard Civilian Attire (SCA).
    B.  Exception:  Excepted Technicians who wish to remain in the
 military uniform shall, within 30 days from the date of approval of this
 Agreement, or 30 days from the date of employment, whichever comes
 later, notify the Technician Personnel Officer (TPO), in writing, of
 their intent to remain in the military uniform.  Upon receipt of such
 notice by the TPO, they shall remain in the military uniform for the
 life of this Agreement.
    C.  The military uniform will continue to be worn by all excepted
    (1) When engaged in recruiting/retention activities, provided the
 Technicians have advance knowledge of such activities;
    (2) When serving as a crew member or non-crew member, or riding as a
 passenger in a military aircraft;
    (3) During all higher headquarters inspections or announced visits of
 officials higher than State Headquarters;
    (4) When in TDY status to a military installation, unless such wear
 is exempted by policy guidance or regulation from higher authority;
    (5) When working in Technician status in support of UTAs, AT, or any
 other military function involving Drill-Status Guardsmen (DSGs) in a
 military duty status;  and
    (6) When actively serving on a Base Defense Force.
    D.  Neither the Military uniform nor the SCA will be worn by
    (1) When in an official travel status while traveling by commercial
 or private transportation;
    (2) When attending courses of instruction in a Technician status at
 locations other than military installations, facilities or complexes,
 except as required by the facility conducting the course;
    (3) When serving as labor representatives while engaged in labor
 agreement negotiations;  and
    (4) While participating as data collectors during a Federal Wage
 System survey.
    E.  The Parties agree that the provisions of this Section of this
 Article will be strictly adhered to and that they will provide mutual
 support when correcting violations that might occur.
    F.  All SCA items of wear will be purchased, maintained and replaced
 at the personal expense of the Technician.
    G.  SCA, specified as follows for all members of the bargaining unit,
 will be uniform in style and color:
    (1) Blue shirt with either long or short sleeves --
    (A) When worn, SCA shirt will always be tucked in at the waist;
    (B) A blue name tape, 1"X6", stenciled or embroidered with the
 Technician's last name, in black if stenciled, or black thread if
 embroidered, will be worn over the right pocket of the shirt, or in a
 similar position on the shirt if it has no pocket;
    (C) The SCA shirt may be of cotton poplin, twill, chambray, nylon or
    (2) Full-length blue SCA trousers or slacks, or skirts, will be worn
 -- those with belt loops will be worn with a plain black belt, leather,
 knit, or woven, with a plain open-face buckle.  Blue jeans will not be
    (3) A blue jacket may be worn when required for an individual
 Technician's comfort, and a name tape of the same style and markings
 used on the SCA shirt will be worn in the same place on the jacket.
    (4) As required by prevailing climatic conditions, a blue coat of
 fingertip, or knee length, or an SCA parka with or without a hood, may
 be worn when required for the comfort of the individual Technician.
    (5) When out of doors, the following type black or blue headgear may
 be worn --
    (A) Baseball-type cap, or
    (B) In cold weather, a knit stocking cap.
    Local Commanders may, at their discretion, restrict wear of headgear
 on the flight lines.
    (6) Footwear will be in a standardized black color, low quarter or
 ankle length shoes, boots, or insulated boots;
    (A) socks will be black of any weight preferred;
    (B) overshoes may be worn when required and will be of standard plain
 design, pullover, buckle or zippered.
    (7) Undershirts, if worn, will be plain, white, of T-shirt design,
 circular neck, without ornamentation of any kind, and must always be
 worn tucked into the trouser, slack or skirt waist.
    (8) Blue sweaters, pullover, cardigan style, or zippered, with or
 without sleeves, may be worn for the comfort of the individual
    (9) Ponchos, raincoats or rain suits may be worn when required by
 foul weather conditions, and will be safety yellow.
    (10) Technicians who wear the SCA and who continue to work during a
 pregnancy will wear the SCA modified for maternity wear;  Technicians
 who wear the military uniform and who continue to work during a
 pregnancy will follow the provisions of the appropriate AR or AFR.
    (11) No ornamentation other than the name tape specified in G(1)(B)
 and (3) above, no insignia of military rank, no display or membership
 pins, buttons, jewelry or like items will be worn on the SCA items of
 wear at any time.
    H.  It will be the responsibility of each Technician who wears the
 SCA to maintain his personal attire in a serviceable and presentable
 manner and condition and he will replace frayed, faded, torn, indelibly
 spotted, or chemically eroded items with least possible delay.
    I.  Military grooming standards will be adhered to by all
 Technicianss at all times, to enable achievement of a smooth and rapid
 transition of Technicians to military status in emergencies, in keeping
 with the missions of the Missouri National Guard and of the Agency;
 grooming standards will be as specified in the appropriate AR or AFR.
    J.  No mixture of military uniform items and SCA items, or of normal
 civilian non-military, non-SCA items and SCA items will ever be
 permitted and wear of any mixed attire will be forcefully discouraged by
 both Parties except for required safety items.
    K.  If Technicians select the SCA, the military uniforms issued to
 them in excess of their regular military allowance will be turned in to
 their military unit within 30 days after the date the SCA-wear option
 becomes effective at their work location.
    L.  The Parties agree that the provisions of this Section of this
 Article will be strictly adhered to and that they will provide mutual
 support for making corrections of violations that might occur.