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24:0475(51)NG - AFGE Local 997 and Air Force, Maxwell AFB, AL -- 1986 FLRAdec NG

[ v24 p475 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 24 FLRA No. 51
                                            Case No. 0-NG-777
                         I.  Statement of the Case
    This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal
 filed under section 7105(a)(2)(D) and (E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and presents issues as
 to the negotiability of a single Union proposal.  We find that the
 proposal is negotiable.  /1/
                            II.  Union Proposal
       The employer will absorb seventy-five (75) percent of the cost of
       the Health Insurance, Life and AD&D.
                      III.  Positions of the Parties
    The Agency contends that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain
 because it does not concern conditions of employment of bargaining unit
 employees, affects employees outside the bargaining unit, interferes
 with its right under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute to determine its
 "budget," and is inconsistent with an Agency regulation for which there
 is a compelling need.  The Union disputes the Agency's contentions and
 asserts that the proposal is negotiable.
                       IV.  Analysis and Conclusions
    In American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1897
 and Department of the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 24 FLRA
 No. 41 (1986) we held that nothing in the Statute, or its legislative
 history, bars negotiation of proposals relating to pay and fringe
 benefits insofar as (1) the matters proposed are not specifically
 provided for by law and are within the discretion of the agency and (2)
 the proposals are not otherwise inconsistent with law, Government-wide
 rule or regulation or an agency regulation for which a compelling need
 exists.  Based on that analytical framework, we held that the proposal
 in that case, which required the agency to pay up to 75 percent of the
 premium cost of health insurance for non-appropriated fund (NAF)
 employees, was within the duty to bargain.
    In the present case as in Eglin Air Force Base the employees involved
 are NAF employees whose health insurance benefits are not established by
 law but are governed by Agency regulation.  The proposal in this case is
 not materially different from the one in Eglin Air Force Base.  It
 addresses employer contributions for life and accidental death and
 dismemberment (AD&D) insurance as well as those for health insurance;
 however, the Agency makes no arguments that a different disposition is
 warranted based on this distinction nor are any reasons for doing so
 otherwise apparent.  In fact, as the Agency acknowledges, these
 additional matters like the health insurance benefits are governed not
 by Federal statute but by agency regulations.  /2/ In view of these
 materially identical circumstances, we conclude for the same reasons
 expressed in detail in Egline Air Force Base as follows.  First, this
 proposal concerns a condition of employment which is negotiable to the
 extent it is not inconsistent with applicable law and regulation.
 Second, the Agency has not sustained its claims that this proposal would
 determine conditions of employment for nonunit employees, interfere with
 management's right to determine its budget or conflict with an agency
 regulation for which a compelling need exists.
    Consequently, for the same reasons as expressed in Eglin Air Force
 Base, this proposal is within the duty to bargain.
                                 V.  Order
    The Agency shall upon request, or as otherwise agreed to by the
 parties, negotiate over the Union's proposal.
    Issued, Washington, D.C., December 15, 1986.
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       /s/ Jean McKee, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
                  Dissenting Opinion of Chairman Calhoun
    I agree with the majority that the proposal at issue in this case is
 not materially different from the one in dispute in American Federation
 of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1897 and Department of the Air
 Force, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 24 FLRA No. 41 (1986).  Therefore,
 I cannot join the majority for the reasons stated in my dissenting
 opinion in that case.
                                       /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                ---------------  FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
    (1) In finding this proposal is negotiable we make no judgment as to
 its merits.
    (2) See Agency Statement of Position at 4 and 9.