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35:0591(67)NG - - AFGE Local 2298 and Navy, Polaris Missile Facility, Atlantic, Charleston, SC - - 1990 FLRAdec NG - - v35 p591

[ v35 p591 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

35 FLRA No. 67




LOCAL 2298









April 23, 1990

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This case is before the Authority on a negotiability appeal filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute). The appeal concerns one proposal that seeks administrative excusal for employees attending motorcycle safety training during working hours. For the reasons that follow, we find that the proposal is within the duty to bargain.

II. The Proposal

Administrative excusal will be provided during working hours to attend the M.S.T. [Motorcycle Safety Training].

III. Positions of the Parties

The Agency asserts that the proposal is nonnegotiable because it requires the Agency to provide specific training during duty hours and does not preserve management's discretion to determine whether an employee may be released from work. The Agency contends that, consequently, the proposal conflicts with management's right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute.

The Union states that the proposal neither requires that the Agency provide training nor prevents the Agency from denying an employee's request to be excused from duty. Rather, according to the Union, the proposal only requires that, where an employee has been authorized to attend motorcycle safety training that is provided by the Agency during working hours, the employee will not be charged leave or suffer loss of pay but will be administratively excused. The Union contends that the proposal is negotiable as a procedure related to attendance at the training, or, alternatively, an appropriate arrangement for employees adversely affected by the Agency's requirement that employees attend the training in order to operate a motorcycle on the Agency's premises.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

According to the Union, the proposal at issue resulted from the Agency's announced intention to discontinue a practice of allowing administratively excused time for attendance at motorcycle safety training.(1) Such training is required by the Department of the Navy in order to register a motorcycle on Navy facilities. The Union states, without contradiction, that the Agency currently provides the required training.

The Union states that the proposal does not require the Agency to continue to provide the training and does not prevent the Agency from denying an employee's request to be excused from duty if the employee's services are needed. Rather, the Union states that the proposal is limited to requiring that the Agency give employees who attend the training during working hours an administrative excusal in lieu of charging them leave or pay. The Union's statement as to the intent of the proposal is consistent with the wording of the proposal and is adopted for purposes of this decision.

The Authority has consistently held that union proposals concerning leave that would prevent management from requiring an employee to remain on duty to perform necessary work are nonnegotiable. Such proposals conflict with management's right under section 7106(a)(2)(B) to assign work. See, for example, Fort Bragg Association of Educators, NEA and Department of the Army, Fort Bragg Schools, 30 FLRA 508, 529 (1987), reversed as to other matters sub nom. Fort Bragg Association of Educators v. FLRA, 870 F.2d 698 (D.C. Cir. 1989). However, proposals that preserve management's discretion to approve or disapprove employee absences do not conflict with the right to assign work. See, for example, id. Under this proposal, the employee's entitlement to an administrative excusal is contingent upon the Agency's approval of the employee's absence from duty. Therefore, this proposal does not conflict with the right to assign work and is negotiable. In view of our decision, we find it unnecessary to reach the Union's alternative claim that the proposal is negotiable as an appropriate arrangement under section 7106(b)(3) of the Statute.

V. Order

The Agency shall, upon request or as otherwise agreed to by the parties, bargain concerning the Union's proposal.(2)

(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)

1. The case involves nonappropriated fund employees who are not subject to most of the provisions of the Federal Personnel Manual. However, "administrative excusal" appears to be analogous to an "excused absence" or "administrative leave"; that is: an absence from duty administratively authorized without loss of pay and without charge to leave. Compare Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) Chapter 630, Subchapter 11-1.

2. In finding that this proposal is within the duty to bargain, we make no judgment as to its merits.