[ v26 p344 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
26 FLRA No. 42 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Charging Party Case No. 2-CA-60059 DECISION AND ORDER I. Statement of the Case This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority because the General Counsel and the Charging Party (the Union) filed exceptions to the attached Decision of the Administrative Law Judge. The complaint alleged that the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration (the Respondent) violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute when it instituted a new program, the Social Security Income Payment Review Redesign and refused to negotiate the impact and implementation of this study on affected employees. For the reasons stated below, we conclude that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute. II. Background The Union represents many of the Respondent's employees in a nationwide consolidated unit. The Union's National Council of Field Assessment Locals (AFGE FAO Council) has been delegated by the Union to represent certain of the Respondent's employees, including those located in various Office of Field Assessment (FAO) satellite offices situated throughout the country. On September 12, 1985, the Respondent informed the AFGE FAO Council that a new study, to be known as the Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign (the study), was going to be implemented to review samples of the work produced in the Field Assessment Offices between Ocrober 1985 and September 1986. On September 26, 1985, the Union designated a spokesperson to negotiate concerning the impact and implementation of the study on affected employees. The Union also presented ground rules and substantive negotiating proposals at that time. On October 17, 1985, the Respondent took the position that the Union's substantive proposals were either nonnegotiable, already addressed in the parties' nationwide collective bargaining agreement, or outside the scope of bargaining. The Respondent concluded that the Union's "failure to identify more than de minimis impact resulting from (the study) has relieved us of any further obligation on this issue." The Respondent then implemented the study without any negotiations. The study was implemented in the FAO's 15 satellite offices. The Quality Review Analysts (QRAs) within those offices review benefits being paid to claimants under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs to ascertain whether beneficiaries are receiving the correct amount of benefits. These reviews consist of interviews with the claimants and the collection of information regarding the claimants from such collateral sources as landlords, insurance companies, and banks. The information obtained from these reviews is recorded on various forms. The study implemented in October 1985 required the collection by the QRAs, in approximately 10 percent of their cases, of additional information and the recordation of the additional information on a new form. The parties disagree as to the additional time added to any individual QRA's workload by the study. The estimates range from the Respondent's estimate of 6 to 7 hours for any QRA during the course of the year the study would be in effect, to the 20 hours per year found by the Judge, to the General Counsel's estimate of up to 130 hours per year. Nevertheless, the parties agree that the study would require additional processing time by the QRAs, whose performance requires cases to be completed in a timely fashion. III. Administrative Law Judge's Decision The Judge, applying the Authority's de minimis standard in effect at that time, concluded that the Respondent did not violate section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute when it refused to negotiate over the impact of the study. The Judge relied on the fact that the study, as announced, was to be temporary and that the record evidence did not demonstrate that there would be a substantial increase in the duties and responsibilities of any particular QRA. IV. Positions of the Parties The General Counsel excepts to the Judge's conclusion that the reasonably foreseeable adverse impact of the study's implementation on the QRAs was no more than de minimis. The General Counsel argues, based on the evidence presented at the hearing by the QRAs, that the impact of the study on the QRAs would be six times greater (130 hours during the course of the year) than that found by the Judge (20 hours during the year). The General Counsel also argues that the impact of the study would fall more heavily on some QRAs than on others because of the ways cases are distributed and processed, and that the lack of clear instructions or adequate training prior to the implementation of the study would increase the time requirements for completing certain cases. The General Counsel concludes that these factors could have a negative impact on the evaluations of some QRAs even if the Respondent would not charge employees with errors made because of the specific requirements of the study. V. Analysis In Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, 24 FLRA No. 42 (1986), issued after the Judge's decision in this case, we reassessed and modified the de minimis standard previously used to identify those changes in conditions of employment of bargaining unit employees which require bargaining. We stated that in order to determine whether a change requires bargaining, we will carefully examine the pertinent facts and circumstances presented in each case. We noted, among other things, that principal emphasis would be placed on such general areas of consideration as the nature and extent of the effect or reasonably foreseeable effect of the change on conditions of employment of unit employees, and that equitable considerations would also be taken into account in balancing the various interests involved. We also stated that the number of affected employees and the parties' bargaining history would be given limited application, and that the size of the bargaining unit would no longer be a factor. Applying the principles of Social Security Administration to this case, we find that the study constituted a change in conditions of employment of unit employees and that the reasonably foreseeable impact of the change gave rise to a bargaining obligation. Accordingly, we conclude that the Respondent's refusal to bargain concerning the impact and implementation of the study constituted an unfair labor practice. Unlike similar cases decided since Social Security Administration, in this case the Respondent gave the Union adequate notice of its intention to implement the change and the Union submitted bargaining proposals. Rather than addressing the Union's proposals on their merits, however, the Respondent summarily rejected them and unilaterally instituted the study. While the Respondent stated in its October 14, 1985 rejection of the Union's proposals that they were "either nonnegotiable, already addressed in the National Agreement or outside the scope of bargaining," the Respondent provided no rationale for its assertions and the letter concluded that the Union's failure to identify more than de minimis impact resulting from the implementation of the study "has relieved us of any further obligation on this issue." We find that the reasonably foreseeable impact of implementation of the study in this case on the affected employees elevated it to a level where bargaining was appropriate. The study was to last for at least one year and the possibility clearly existed that the changes would become permanent. Moreover, the QRAs were required to collect and record additional information in 10 percent of their cases. While the QRAs apparently would not be adversely affected directly by any errors made in the new data, QRAs are rated on the timeliness of their cases. It was therefore reasonably foreseeable that the additional time required by the study, compounded by such matters as the allegedly inadequate preliminary training and the varying number of study cases that might be assigned to any particular QRA, would affect their performance on other cases, their performance evaluations and related personnel actions. Those foreseeable effects gave rise to a duty to bargain with the Union concerning the procedures to be utilized in the study and appropriate arrangements for employees who might be adversely affected by implementation of the study. As the Union and the General Counsel point out, the Respondent had been ordered by the Authority to negotiate concerning the implementation of similar studies in the past. See, for example, Social Security Administration, 16 FLRA 56 (1984). We recognize, as the Judge indicates, that implementation of different studies might impose different bargaining obligations. Nevertheless, the parties' collective bargaining relationship would have been better served if the Respondent had benefited from past experience and sought to resolve legitimate concerns and differences promptly through the collective bargaining process rather than by summary dismissal of the Union's concerns and proposals, which led to more time consuming and costly proceedings before the Authority. VI. Conclusion Based on the above analysis and consideration of the Judge's Decision and the entire record in the case, including the parties' contentions, we conclude that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by refusing to bargain with the Union concerning the procedures to be utilized in the study and appropriate arrangements for employees who might be adversely affected by implementation of the study. Therefore, we have determined that the following remedial order is appropriate: ORDER The Social Security Administration shall: 1. Cease and desist from: (a) Implementing studies such as the Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign without first notifying the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of its employees, and affording it the opportunity to bargain concerning the procedures which management will observe in effecting such a study and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by such a study. (b) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing its employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. 2. Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute: (a) Upon request, bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, concerning appropriate arrangements for employees who may have been adversely affected by implementation of the Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign. (b) Notify the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO of any future studies such as Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign, and prior to implementation, afford it an opportunity to bargain concerning the procedures which management will observe in implementing such a study and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by such a study. (c) Post at all of its Field Assessment Offices where unit employees are located copies of the attached Notice on forms to be furnished by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Upon receipt of such forms, they shall be signed by the Commissioner and shall be posted and maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter, in conspicuous places, including all bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Reasonable steps shall be taken to ensure that said Notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material. (d) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, notify the Regional Director, Region II, Federal Labor Relations Authority, in writing, within 30 days from the date of this Order, as to what steps have been taken to comply with this Order. Issued, Washington, D.C., March 20, 1987. (s) Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman (s) Henry B. Frazier III, Member Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO A DECISION AND ORDER OF THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY AND IN ORDER TO EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF CHAPTER 71 OF TITLE 5 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS WE HEREBY NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT: WE WILL NOT implement studies such as the Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign in the future without first notifying the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of our employees, and affording it the opportunity to bargain concerning the procedures which we will observe in effecting such a study and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by such a study. WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner interfere with, restrain, or coerce our employees in the exercise of their rights assured by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. WE WILL, upon request, bargain with the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO concerning appropriate arrangements for any employees who may have been adversely affected by our implementation of the Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign. WE WILL notify the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO of any future studies such as the Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign, and prior to implementation, afford it an opportunity to bargain concerning the procedures which we will observe in implementing such a study and appropriate arrangements for employees adversely affected by such a study. (Agency) Dated: . . . By: . . . (Signature) (Title) This Notice must remain posted for 60 consecutive days from the date of posting, and must not be altered, defaced, or covered by any other material. If employees have any questions concerning this Notice or compliance with its provisions, they may communicate directly with the Regional Director, Region II, Federal Labor Relations Authority, whose address is: 26 Federal Plaza, Room 3700, New York, New York 10278 and whose telephone number is: (212) 264-4934. -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS -------------------- Case No. 2-CA-60059 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Charging Party Mr. Richard Matthews For the Respondent Susan M. Roche and E. A. Jones, III, Esqs. For the General Counsel Mr. Earl Tucker For the Charging Party Before: ELI NASH, JR. DECISION Statement of the Case Pursuant to a Complaint and Notice of Hearing issued on January 31, 1986 by the Regional Director for the Federal Labor Relations Authority, New York, New York a hearing was held before the undersigned on March 10, 1986. This proceeding arose under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (herein called the Statute). It resulted from charges filed on November 13, 1985 and Amended on December 11, 1985 by the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (herein called the Union) against Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration (herein called Respondent). The Complaint alleges that Respondent unilaterally changed bargaining unit working conditions by implementing a new project or study in its Field Assessment Offices (hereinafter called FAO or Satellite offices) without affording the Union an opportunity to bargain over the impact and implementation of the new project. Respondent's Answer denies the commission of any unfair labor practices. All parties were represented at the hearing. Each was afforded full opportunity to be heard, adduce evidence, and to examine as well as cross-examine witnesses. Thereafter, briefs were filed with the undersigned which have been duly considered. Upon the entire record herein, from my observation of the witnesses and their demeanor, and from all of the testimony and evidence adduced at the hearing, I make the following findings and conclusions: Findings of Fact The Union, at all times material herein, has been the certified exclusive representative of a consolidated nationwide unit of approximately 80,000 of Respondent's employees. The National Council of Field Assessment Locals (herein called the FAL Council or the Council) has been delegated by the Union to represent certain of Respondent's employees including those located in the various FOAs situated throughout the country. On September 12, 1985, Thomas N. Whitlock, Respondent's Chief of Field Operations Branch, Division of Labor Relations, wrote to Earl Tucker, President of the Council and informed him that a new project entitled Supplemental Security Income Payment Review Redesign (hereinafter called PRR or the redesign study) was going to be implemented to cover samples sent to the various FAOs for the months of October 1985 through September 1986. Around September 26, 1985, Tucker wrote Donald Henry, Labor Relations Specialist, Division of Labor Relations and requested bargaining over the PRR. Tucker also designated Madeline Barbour who was employed in the New York FAO as the Union's chief negotiator for the matter. Attached to Tucker's letter were substantive proposals and the Union ground-rule proposals. Sometime later around October 17, 1985, Whitlock wrote Barbour stating that Respondent was refusing to bargain because it believed that the Union's proposals identified adverse impact from the study that was no more than de minimus (sic). No further correspondence was exchanged and no other conversations over the PRR occurred between Respondent and the Union. In collecting and gathering expanded information, to determine the course of errors, Respondent developed a coding input form (herein called SSA-501) to be completed along with the standard form already used to input coding form (herein called SSA-500). This SSA-501 form was to be completed on approximately 2000 cases of the ongoing SSI payment workload. The 2000 SSA-501 cases were to be spread out over a period of 1 year beginning in October 1985 through September 1986. The Respondent originally planned to conduct train-the-trainer sessions in Baltimore, Maryland in October of 1985. However, after determining that there were no changes in the normal duties of the Quality Review Analyst (hereinafter called QRA) employees, who were responsible for conducting the special study and collecting the data needed to complete the SSA-501 form, Respondent decided not to conduct formal training. The Respondent also determined that the instructions associated with the redesign special study were sufficiently clear and that QRA employees should be able to complete the new SSA-501 form using these instructions without any type of formal training. Respondent conveyed this determination to the Union's representative, Madeline Barbour, by letter dated October 17, 1985. In this same correspondence Respondent sought to address the Union's proposals received by it in the letter from President Tucker. As a matter of reviewing the Union's proposals as submitted on September 22, 1985, Respondent determined that it felt the Union failed to identify any more than de minimis impact and concluded that it had no further obligation to negotiate regarding the redesign study or the issue of ground rules for negotiations. The study was implemented through QRAs in Respondent's FAO Satellite Offices throughout the country with the distribution of the October 1985 sample of cases. The sample was received at various times by Satellite Offices in different locations of the country from November 1985 through February 1986. Fifteen (15) Satellite Offices Nationwide constitute the FAOs. These offices are staffed by approximately 220 QRAs. Representatives from four of these Satellite Offices testified that their offices were a fair representation of other Satellite Offices throughout the country with regard to working conditions and personnel practices and policies. Each QRA has a basic responsibility to review benefits being paid to claimants under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs in order to ascertain whether beneficiaries are receiving the correct amount of benefits. Every month the Satellite Offices receive a sample of cases from the FAO Central Office in Baltimore, Maryland. Each case is then assigned to a QRA who visits and interviews claimants in their homes to determine if the information in the claimants' file is accurate and merits the receipt of the level of benefits that the claimant has been receiving. While performing the interviews the QRA records the answers received from the claimant on a 26 page questionnaire entitled "Supplemental Security Income -- Quality Review Case Analysis" Form SSA-508 (hereinafter called 8508 or the questionnaire). Upon returning to the Satellite Office the QRA records some of the data from the 8508 on SSA-500. In addition to conducting the interview and completing the questionnaire, the QRA must also contact various individuals, institutions and government agencies to obtain "collateral source" information in order to verify the information obtained from the interviewed claimant. These collateral sources include landlords, insurance companies, banks, and tax assessors. With the implementation of the PRR the individual QRA was required to complete an additional form for cases assigned as part of the study. For the cases in each monthly sample which Central Office identified as a part of the PRR sub-sample the QRA had to obtain additional information on the questionnaire and complete the new form entitled SSA-501. In order to complete a PRR case the QRA also had to obtain additional information from collateral sources. Now when a QRA is completing the questionnaire for a PRR case he or she must seek additional data such as whether a citizen is naturalized, country of birth, trips out of the United States, number of years in United States, location of residences in last four years, amount of rent paid, number in household, age of each household member and relationship to the landlord, value of all cars, value of liquid assets and other income and cash on hand. This additional information requires contacting landlords or relatives for locations of previous residents, researching the listed value of all cars, verifying the value of all insurance policies with insurance companies if the claimant cannot prove face value and establishing the value of housing subsidies. Normally, only the first three lines are completed on the one-page SSA-500. The SSA-501 has three pages which adds three additional sections that must be completed. The total time necessary to complete a normal case without any payment errors from the regular monthly sample may range from four hours to one-and-one-a half days. This completion time includes interviewing the claimant, completing the questionnaire and the SSA-500, as well as contacting all necessary collateral sources. Cases may take two to three weeks to complete if additional information from collateral sources is not readily available. If a case has a payment error the total time for completing a regular sample may be increased to a range from one day to five days. When a case contains a payment error the QRA must do additional coding, obtain additional information from the claimant and/or collateral sources and provide additional information on the coding forms. The record indicates an increase in coding time and an increase in verification time is required to complete the SSA-501. However, probably no more than 2 or 3 hours total is added to complete a non-error case. Respondent's estimate, of how long it will take to process the PRR cases differs from that of the QRAs. However, Respondent's projection is based on only 62 PRR cases which have been completed so far, out of an expected total sample of 2000 cases. The estimates of the QRAs are based on their actual experience. Although part of the regular QRA job duties to conduct studies, the information for such studies is normally gathered from the SSA-500 and no additional questions are asked nor additional coding required. Along with the requirement that the SSA-501 be completed in addition to the SSA-500 for the PRR cases, the processing time is also increased since a QRA may be unfamiliar with the new instruction manual for the SSA-501; the manual is allegedly confusing and difficult to follow in certain parts; the instructions for completing the SSA-501 are not self-contained in the manual and the QRA must refer to other instructional material; the SSA-501 is not completed on a regular basis so the QRAs are dependent on the complicated manual throughout the entire time the study continues; if the QRAs do not understand the entire time the study continues; if the QRAs do not understand the manual they must then ask the supervisor. When cases are sent from Central Office the FAO does not know which cases in the PRR sub-sample have payment errors in them. Consequently an individual QRA may have a heavier burden of completing the more difficult PRR cases. This situation may also be complicated where some QRAs work rural areas which require additional travel time thereby making it impossible to know whether a case contained an error until it is assigned. Respondent claimed that the number of payment-error cases assigned to each QRA evened itself out over the period of a year. However, QRAs may have some control over how many payment errors are discovered in a case by simply asking more probing questions. In the past QRAs have been encouraged to find as many payment errors as possible. Also the statistics Respondent uses to predict the assignment of payment error cases only reflect errors in excess of $5.00. However, any payment error must be processed in the same manner on the SSA-501 no matter how small the monetary amount of the error. The evidence shows that from November 1985 through February 1986 various Satellite Offices provided training on the new study and the use of the SSA-501. The training, although lasting only a few hours in most locations, was conducted either by QRAs or supervisors in their respective Satellite Offices. There was no national training for the trainers and apparently most of the trainers taught themselves from the instructional manuals that QRAs now use to process the PRR cases. In the Detroit Satellite Office for instance, the QRAs were given PRR cases prior to receiving training, which in some instances required the QRA to return to the claimant for additional information. A document entitled "SSI Payment System Redesign Summary of Changes" was distributed during the training. This 26-page document itemized numerous changes in coding procedures and other additional work required as a result of the study. The record discloses that QRAs have performance standards which require them to complete 80 percent of their cases within six weeks and 100 percent within eight weeks. Several of the Satellite Offices have quantifiable goals and timetables by which the QRAs are evaluated on timeliness. If the QRA does not meet these goals he or she may receive a lower evaluation or fail to receive a higher rating. This may cause an individual QRA to fail to be promoted, miss receiving a with-in grade increase, or be terminated before other employees in the event a reduction-in-force takes place. Because of the confusion over the implementation of the PRR, the complicated coding instructions, as well as the additional work required, the QRAs are fearful that the new study would have an adverse affect on their annual evaluations because it might cause a QRA to receive a lower rating if he or she failed to meet the goals for work completed in their office. Respondent, however claims that the QRAs will not be charged for errors they make on the SSA-501 for the fiscal year the study is in place. Another element on the QRA performance standard is accuracy and analytical ability. QRAs are further bothered that the confusion over the implementation of the PRR study would cause them to make mistakes in coding or in their analysis in the SSA-501 or in another facet of their work. Despite what appears to be an additional work increase in processing time, and confusion over the instructions for the SSA-501 coding there have been no changes in the performance standards or Satellite Offices' performance goals which reflect the implementation of the PRR study. Respondent claims that the time spent by the QRA coding the SSA-501 is insignificant in that the study involves only the coding of SSA-501 in 2000 uses in the existing and ongoing SSI Payment Sample workload consisting of about 16,000 cases. It maintains that the 2000 cases if divided by the 10 regions of the FAO would mean that the individual FAO would receive only 200 cases and when this is divided by the 200 approximate QRA employees nationwide could mean only about 10 SSA-501 redesign cases within the 1 year study period. In terms of its own projection, Respondent sees this as meaning only an additional 6 or 7 hours per year work by each QRA during the year of the study. Going further Respondent asserts that a maximum using 20 cases per year per QRA and 1 hour for each of the cases only a total of 20 hours out of a 2080 work year or less than 1 percent of the employees overall time would be consumed by the SSA-501. With respect to appraisals Respondent sought to establish that lack of appraisal of performance based on errors on the SSA-501. In fact, Madeline Barbour testified that no errors in coding on the new SSA-501 "would be held against us for a year." Considering that the study was to last for only a year it is seemingly clear that errors forming part of a QRA's appraisal would indeed not be held against them during the study period of one year. The parties have bargained 15 to 20 times over the impact and implementation of similar studies. As the General Counsel points out, the Authority has already ordered bargaining over a study which was somewhat similar in Social Security Administration, 16 FLRA 56 (1984). Conclusions As already noted the General Counsel feels that the instant matter is controlled by Social Security, supra since that case involved the implementation of a pilot study similar to the study found herein. The Respondent urges not only was there no change in conditions of employment since the QRAs were performing assigned duties which require that they conduct such studies, but that if there were actually changes the impact was no more than de minimis. In Social Security, supra, the case relied on by the General Counsel, Judge Naimark found significant changes in the job duties of unit employees. He found that the study added considerably more time to processing a case; that delays occasioned by the addition of time required to handle the matter affected unit employee "statistics" prompting concern about employee ratings; and, that one employees' case assignment load increased from 12-16 cases to 26 cases per 4-6 week period. In those circumstances he concluded that the new forms in that study sufficiently impacted upon unit employees and that bargaining on impact and implementation was required. Since that decision the Authority has established criteria in cases where the issue of whether a duty to bargain arises from the exercise of a management right that results in an impact or a reasonably foreseeable impact on bargaining unit employees which is no more than de minimis. See Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Region V, Chicago, Illinois, 19 FLRA No. 101, 19 FLRA 827 (1985); Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service, 19 FLRA No. 128, 19 FLRA 1155 (1985); United States Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Chicago, Illinois, 20 FLRA No. 6, 20 FLRA 46 (1985); Bureau of Field Operations, Social Security Administration, San Francisco, California, 20 FLRA No. 9, 20 FLRA 80 (1985); Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C.; 20 FLRA No. 11, 20 FLRA 112 (1985); Department of Housing and Urban Development, Columbia Area Office, Columbia, South Carolina, 20 FLRA No. 31, 20 FLRA 233 (1985); U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C. Area Office, 20 FLRA No. 38, 20 FLRA 374 (1985); Federal Aviation Administration, 20 FLRA 45, 20 FLRA 430 (1985); Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C., 20 FLRA No. 52, 20 FLRA 474 (1985); Environmental Protection Agency and Environmental Protection Agency, Region II, 20 FLRA No. 76, 20FLRA 644 (1985); Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland and Office of Hearings and Appeals, Region II (New York, New York) and Office of Hearings and Appeals (Syracuse and Buffalo, New York, 21 FLRA No. 72, 21 FLRA 546 (1986). The 5 factors set out by the Authority are: the extent of the change in work duties, location, office space, hours, loss of benefits or wages and the like; the temporary, recurring or permanent nature of the change; the number of employees affected or foreseeably affected by the change; the size of the bargaining unit; and the extent to which the parties may have established, through negotiations or past practice, procedures and appropriate arrangements concerning analogous changes in the past. The Authority also noted that a determination as to whether the exercise of a management right under section 7106(a) of the Statute gives rise to a duty to bargain under section 7106(b)(2) and (3) will not necessarily require in every case a determination as to whether the exercise of the management right results in a change in a condition of employment having an impact on bargaining unit employees which is more than de minimis, especially where there is no indication that the nature and degree of impact is at issue in the case. Here Respondent exercised a management right when assigning studies to its QRAs. Therefore, the nature and degree of impact must be considered under criteria established by the Authority. The Authority has made it clear that it will look to the totality of the facts and circumstances of cases where a de minimis issue is involved. In applying the listed factors to the instant case it is unmistakable that the size of the bargaining unit is immaterial since all of the employees in the QRA category employed by Respondent are involved. Thus, some approximate 220 employees have the potential of an adverse impact occurring as a result of the alleged change. Furthermore, the bargaining history of this particular subject indicates negotiations on this precise matter have taken place on several different occasions. As already noted the Authority in Social Security, supra, found a similar study bargainable. Thus, there is a bargaining history by which these matters have been considered. I therefore reject Respondent's claim that because the redesign study herein was already a part of the duties of the QRA no change had occurred. I cannot ignore, however, evidence that the instant change was temporary and at the conclusion of the one year study it might not be put into place; or, the extent of the change in work duties. In the latter regard, the record evidence does not demonstrate a substantial increase in duties or responsibilities of any particular QRA over the one year period that the study is to be in place. This case is therefore, distinguishable from the Social Security case, supra where it was found that the change involved sufficient impact on unit employees to require bargaining. Unlike that case, examination of the instant record does not reveal any substantial change in a QRA's case assignments which would create concern about performance ratings. Quite the opposite, it shows no significant increase in travel or interview time is required; and, it fails to establish any substantial increase is required in coding the SSA-501 or in verification time. In short, it indicates no substantial changes in employee work duties which would affect their performance ratings. Nor does the evidence disclose that errors committed while processing PRR cases would be counted against QRAs so as to have any effect on their performance ratings. In fact the evidence confirms that the Union's representative was aware that errors, during this one year period, the study is in place, would not be counted against the QRA, thereby leaving no impact in that regard. Furthermore, the evidence shows that on the average no more than 20 hours or considerably less than 1 percent of a QRA's work year would be involved with this study. That percentage could hardly be deemed a change with sufficient impact on job duties as was found in the case relied on by the General Counsel. Social Security, supra. Consequently, I am unable to find that the extent of the change in work duties was more than minimal. Accordingly, based on the totality of the facts and circumstances present in this case, it is found that the implementation of the Supplemental Security Income SSI Payment Review Redesign study did not cause a more than de minimis adverse impact on bargaining unit QRAs, thereby creating an obligation on the part of Respondent to bargain over the impact and implementation of the study before its implementation. In light of the above, it is found that Respondent was under no obligation to notify the Union and afford it an opportunity to request bargaining pursuant to section 7106(b)(2) and (3), and its refusal to negotiate herein was not violative of section 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute. It is therefore, recommended that the Authority adopt the following: ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Complaint in Case No. 2-CA-60059, be, and hereby is, dismissed. (s) ELI NASH, JR. Administrative Law Judge Dated: July 15, 1986 Washington, D.C.