32:0886(128)NG - - NTEU, Atlanta, GA and Treasury, IRS, Jacksonville District - - 1988 FLRAdec NG - - v32 p886

[ v32 p886 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

32 FLRA No. 128















 Case No. 0-NG-1513


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 presents the issue concerning the negotiability of one proposal. The proposal would prevent the Agency from moving two employees, who were reassigned to the Special Procedures function as a result of a reorganization, from its Phillips Highway office to its Federal Building office.

We find that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain because it conflicts with the Agency's right under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute to determine its organization.(*)

II. Background

The Special Procedures function is part of the Agency's Collection Division and deals with various aspects of tax collection. Before 1983, "offer-in-compromise" work was assigned to Revenue Officer Advisor Reviewers in the Special Procedures function. "Offer-in-compromise" work involves procedures whereby taxpayers may voluntarily offer a sum of money and other considerations in settlement of outstanding liabilities when there is doubt as to the liability and/or the collectibility of taxes.

After 1983, this work was transferred to a "separate group" which was not part of the Special Procedures function. Union's Petition for Review at 2. Also transferred to this "separate group" were several Special Procedures function employees and a new supervisor. Additionally, the location of the group was moved from the Agency's Federal Building office to the Phillips Highway office, about 4 miles away.

In September 1987, the Agency announced plans to reorganize the Special Procedures function. As part of the planned reorganization, two "offer-in-compromise" specialists' positions assigned to the separate group were to be reassigned into the Special Procedures function. Also, the duty stations of the two offer-in-compromise specialists were to be moved from the Agency's Phillips Highway office to its Federal Building office. The Union met with the Agency in January 1988, and proposed that the Phillips Highway office continue to be the duty station for the two offer-in-compromise specialists. The Agency alleged that the proposal was nonnegotiable.

III. Proposal

Revenue Officies [sic] offer-in-compromise specialists shall continue to be stationed at the Phillips Highway office.

A. Positions of the Parties

As stated by the Union, the Agency contends that the proposal is nonnegotiable because it would interfere with: (1) management's right under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute to determine its organization; (2) management's right under section 7106(a)(2)(A) to assign employees; and (3) an effective and efficient Government.

The Union states that its proposal is intended to allow the two specialists to continue to report to work at the Phillips Highway office as long as the Agency maintains that office as a post of duty. The Union contends that the proposal does not violate management's right to determine its organization. It asserts that the "proposal neither intends nor requires the maintenance of the Phillips Highway, or any other, office." Union's Reply at 2-3. The Union also asserts that its proposal would not interfere with management's modification of the existing organizational structure of the Collection Division.

Further, the Union contends that its proposal does not interfere with management's right to assign employees. The Union asserts that its proposal is not intended to determine who shall perform offer-in-compromise work or what that work shall be. Finally, the Union contends that its proposal does not conflict with efficient or effective Government.

B. Discussion

The proposal is outside the duty to bargain because it conflicts with the Agency's right under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute to determine its organization.

As part of the Agency's reorganization, the Agency intended to change the location of two offer-in-compromise specialists within its organization. The Agency determined that these positions should be reassigned to its Special Procedures function, which is located in the Federal Building. The effect of the proposal is to require the Agency to keep the offer-in-compromise specialists at the Phillips Highway location and maintain an office there for its Special Procedures function.

The right of an agency under section 7106(a)(1) to determine its organization includes the right to determine its administrative or functional structure. General Services Administration and American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, National Council 236, 27 FLRA 3 (1987). The right also encompasses the right of an agency to determine where official duty stations of organizational units and positions in those units shall be established and maintained. See an Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3805 and Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Boston District Office, 5 FLRA 693 (1981) (finding nonnegotiable a proposal that would have prevented an agency from eliminating duty stations insofar as incumbent bank examiners were concerned).

In National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 55 and Internal Revenue Service, Columbia D