37:0663(50)CA - - Commerce, NOAA, National Ocean Service and Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, District No. 1, Pacific Coast District - - 1990 FLRAdec CA - - v37 p663
[ v37 p663 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
37 FLRA No. 50
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE
MARINE ENGINEERS' BENEFICIAL ASSOCIATION
DISTRICT NO. 1, PACIFIC COAST DISTRICT
DECISION AND ORDER
September 27, 1990
Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.
I. Statement of the Case
This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority in accordance with section 2429.1(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, based on a stipulation of facts by the parties, who have agreed that no material issue of fact exists.
The complaint alleges that the Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1), (5), and (8) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) by failing and refusing to provide the Union with the names and home addresses of bargaining unit employees represented by the Union. For the reasons stated below, we find that the Respondent committed the unfair labor practice as alleged.
The Union is the exclusive representative of units of licensed marine engineers employed by the Respondent. Except when they are in training, when unit employees are on duty, they are aboard oceangoing ships. Stipulation, Attachment 1. All or most ships are away from their home port 70-74 percent of the time. Id.
In a letter to the Respondent dated October 15, 1987, the Union stated:
As you may know, we are involved in merge talks with the National Maritime Union. In connection with this process, and in other related areas, it will be necessary for us, as the exclusive collective bargaining representative . . . to contact all of our bargaining unit employees. Therefore, I am requesting that a full listing of names and addresses of bargaining unit employees be supplied[.]
Stipulation, Joint Exhibit No. 3(a).
By letter dated October 27, 1987, the Respondent provided the Union with a list of all unit employees identified by the ship on which they were working and the schedule of the ship.
By letter of October 29, 1987, the Union stated that "[i]n addition to the information which you provided, we will be needing the home addresses for all bargaining unit employees as well. This additional information, as I mentioned in my earlier letter, is needed . . . so that we can effectively communicate with the unit concerning a number of issues." Stipulation, Joint Exhibit No. 3(b). By letter dated November 10, 1987, the Respondent refused to provide the Union with the home addresses of unit employees.
The parties stipulated that the home addresses of bargaining unit employees are normally maintained by the Respondent in the regular course of business, are reasonably available, and do not constitute guidance, advice, counsel or training provided for management officials or supervisors relating to collective bargaining. The parties also stipulated to certain facts addressing the issue of alternative means of communication. The parties stated that the "Respondent is of the opinion that alternative means of communication is relevant to the underlying issues herein while the Charging Party and General Counsel take the position that alternative means of communication is not relevant and should not be considered by the Authority." Stipulation, paragraph 8.
III. Positions of the Parties (*)
A. The Respondent
The Respondent's brief was untimely filed and has not been considered. In its answer to the unfair labor practice complaint, the Respondent stated the following:
Under the circumstances that unit employees are aboard ocean going vessels for most of the year and receive personal mail at the ships to which they are assigned, the Respondent's providing to the Union a list of unit employees, the ships to which they are assigned and the schedule of the ships meets the requirements of 5 U.S.C. § 7114(b)(4)(B). Under these circumstances, the providing of "home" addresses, instead of "mailing" addresses, is unnecessary. In the alternative, the ship location of those employees is their residence and, therefore, their "home" for purposes of the Federal Labor-Management Relations Statute.
Stipulation, Joint Exhibit No. 2.
B. The Union
The Union contends that the Respondent's refusal to furnish it with the home addresses of the employees in the bargaining units it represents violates the Statute. The Union asserts that the information sought is necessary for it to meet its statutory obligations.
The Union also argues that the existence of alternate means of communication is not sufficient to justify a refusal to release home addresses of unit employees. The Union contends that even if the existence of alternative means of communication is found to be a relevant consideration, the alternative means offered by the Agency is inadequate.
The Union states that the Authority recognized in Farmers Home Administration Finance Office, St. Louis, Missouri, 23 FLRA 788 (1986) (Farmers Home) that receiving mail at work is not the same as receiving mail at home. The Union argues that because of the circumstances of the employees' work in this case, "considerations of personal privacy and the potential for undue [management] restraint are even more pertinent" than in Farmers Home. Union's Brief at 8. The Union states that it "simply desires to have a method of communication available to it, such as direct mail to a unit employee's home, where the employee will have the time to consider and reflect on Union proposals, problems and issues outside the constant presence of Agency management and without the other pressures and time constraints of working at sea." Id. at 8-9.
The Union also contends that "management's direct involvement in the collection and distribution of mail on the vessels creates an environment where Agency interference in the distribution of the message is a definite possibility." Id. at 9. The Union contends that "a secure and independent method of communicating with the unit members, which is free from management direction, control, and involvement, is necessary for it to fulfill its statutory obligations." Id. at 10.
IV. Analysis and Conclusion
In U.S. Department of the Navy, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 37 FLRA No. 39 (1990) (Portsmouth Naval Shipyard), the Authority reaffirmed Farmers Home and concluded that the release of the names and home addresses of bargaining unit employees to their exclusive representatives is not prohibited by law, is necessary for unions to fulfill their duties under the Statute, and meets all of the other requirements established by section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute. The Authority also determined that the release of the information is generally required without regard to whether alternative means of communication are available. It is evident from the parties' stipulation that the other requirements of section 7114(b)(4)(A), (B), and (C) have been met in this case.
We reject the Respondent's argument that "the providing of 'home' addresses, instead of 'mailing' addresses, [to the Union] is unnecessary." Stipulation, Joint Exhibit No. 2. The Respondent bases this argument on the facts that the unit employees are allowed to receive personal mail at their ship mailing addresses and the Union has the employees' ship mailing addresses. However, as the Authority stated in Farmers Home, direct mailings to employees' home addresses "reach unit employees in circumstances where those employees may consider the union's communication without regard to the time constraints inherent in their work environments, and in which any restraint the employee may feel as a result of the presence of agency management in the workplace is not present." Farmers Home, 23 FLRA at 797.
We also reject the Respondent's contention that the ship location of unit employees is their residence and, therefore, their "home" for purposes of the Statute. The parties' attachment to the stipulation of facts reflects considerable variation in employees' practices as to how much time they spend on board ship, where they spend their time while off duty, and what they consider to be their residence. See Stipulation, Attachment 1. The record is insufficient to support the conclusion that the employees' ship location is their "home" for purposes of complying with the Union's information request in accordance with the Statute.
Accordingly, consistent with the parties' stipulation and based on the Authority's decision in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, we find that the Respondent was required to furnish the Union with the names and home addresses of employees in the bargaining units represented by the Union. Its refusal to do so violated section 7116(a)(1), (5), and (8) of the Statute.
Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service shall:
1. Cease and desist from:
(a) Refusing to furnish, upon request of the District No. 1, PCD, MEBA, AFL-CIO of the National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, the exclusive representative of certain of its employees, the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining units it represents.
(b) In any like or related manner, interfering with, restraining, or coercing its employees in the exercise of the rights assured them by the Statute.
2. Take the following affirmative action in order to effectuate the purposes and policies of the Statute:
(a) Furnish the District No. 1, PCD, MEBA, AFL-CIO of the National Marine Engineers' Beneficial
Association, the exclusive representative of certain of its employees, the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining units it represents.
(b) Post at its facilities where bargaining unit employees represented by the District No. 1, PCD, MEBA, AFL-CIO of the National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association 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 Director for Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and shall be posted in conspicuous places, including all bulletin boards and other places where notices to employees are customarily posted, and shall be maintained for 60 consecutive days thereafter. Reasonable steps shall be taken to ensure that such notices are not altered, defaced, or covered by any other material.
(c) Pursuant to section 2423.30 of the Authority's
Rules and Regulations, notify the Regional Director, Region III, Federal Labor Relations Authority, in writing, within 30 days from the date of this Order as to what steps have been taken to comply.
NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES
AS ORDERED BY THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
AND TO EFFECTUATE THE POLICIES OF THE
FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS STATUTE
WE NOTIFY OUR EMPLOYEES THAT:
WE WILL NOT refuse to furnish, upon request of the District No. 1, PCD, MEBA, AFL-CIO of the National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, the exclusive representative of certain of our employees, the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining units it represents.
WE WILL NOT, in any like or related manner, interfere with, restrain, or coerce our employees in the exercise of the rights assured them by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.
WE WILL furnish the District No. 1, PCD, MEBA, AFL-CIO of the National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, the exclusive representative of certain of our employees, the names and home addresses of all employees in the bargaining units it represents.