38:0059(9)NG - - Philadelphia MTC and Navy, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA - 1990 FLRAdec NG - - v38 p59

[ v38 p59 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

38 FLRA No. 9












November 7, 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 by the Union under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute). When management decided to revise an Agency Instruction pertaining to the performance aspects of its apprenticeship program, the Union submitted the proposal in dispute. The Union's proposal would establish various criteria to determine "work experience performance." For the reasons discussed below, we find that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain under the Statute.

II. Proposal

The Agency notified the Union that it intended to revise a local Instruction pertaining to its apprenticeship program. The Agency requested comments or proposals from the Union on the draft revision of the Instruction. Pursuant to this request, the Union submitted the following proposal to replace the language contained in section 11 b.(3) of the Agency's revised Instruction captioned Work Experience Performance Levels:

Work experience performance is below fully successful when the apprentice has two unsatisfactory, or three marginal or a combination of one unsatisfactory and two marginal.

A. Positions of the Parties

1. Agency

The Agency contends that the Union's proposal relating to the Agency's establishment of critical job elements and performance standards for employees in its apprenticeship program interferes with its rights to direct employees and assign work under sections 7106(a)(2)(A) and 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute. It cites American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3748 v. FLRA, 797 F.2d 612 (8th Cir. 1986) for the proposition that, while a Union may negotiate concerning the application of the language of performance standards, the content of performance standards "is outside management's obligation to bargain." Agency Statement of Position at 2. The Agency contends that the Authority has consistently held that proposals which attempt to establish the substance of performance standards interfere with management's rights under the Statute and are, consequently, outside the duty to bargain. According to the Agency, these holdings cover proposals that would establish the level of performance on individual job elements required to achieve a particular summary rating and proposals concerning the general criteria governing the determination of the content of performance standards or critical elements.

The Agency asserts that the proposal in this case "relates to the content of performance standards and not their application." Agency Statement of Position at 3 (emphasis in the original). Specifically, it contends that under the proposal it could not rate an apprentice below fully successful on the critical element of work performance "unless the employee received two unsatisfactory monthly evaluations, or three marginal monthly evaluations, or a combination of one unsatisfactory and two marginal evaluations." Id. at 4. The Agency contends, therefore, that it would be precluded under the proposal from establishing a performance standard that would rate an employee's work performance as being below fully successful "based on two marginal monthly evaluations or one unsatisfactory monthly evaluation." Id. Consequently, the Agency contends that the proposal is nonnegotiable because, by precluding it from establishing a performance standard for an apprentice's work that is below fully successful other than the one described in the proposal, the proposal interferes with its right to direct employees and assign work.

2. Union

The Union contends that its proposal "is nothing more then established shipyard policy mandated by its previous instruction." Response at 2. It contends that the Agency has arbitrarily and capriciously exercised its management rights by establishing a stricter performance standard that may lead to "costly and protracted litigation[.]" Id. The Union also contends that the Agency's revised performance standard is not an "accurate evaluation of job performance" because under the revised standard "an apprentice can receive 10 monthly evaluations of outstanding and two monthly evaluations of marginal and then receive a summary rating of unsatisfactory." Id. The Union contends that the revised standard, therefore, contravenes 5 U.S.C. º 4302(b)(1), which requires that performance standards "permit the accurate evaluation of job performance on the basis of objective criteria. . . ." Moreover, the Union contends that an apprentice is "rated 12 times a year" and that the application of the revised performance standard "could adversely affect employees who otherwise would receive a satisfactory summary rating under the existing standards." Id. Thus, the Union contends that the proposal in dispute constitutes an "appropriate arrangement" for adversely affected employees under section 7106(b)(3). Id.

B. Analysis and Conclusions

The Union's proposal is nonnegotiable because it directly and excessively interferes with management's rights to direct employees and assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Statute.

It is well established that proposals that establish the rating levels or criteria for performance evaluations are outside the duty to bargain because they directly interfere with management's rights to direct employees and assign work. For example, Service and Hospital Employees International Union, Local 150 and Veterans Administration Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 35 FLRA 521, 531-33 (1990) (VAMC, Milwaukee); American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Council 26 and U.S. Depa