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The decision of the Authority follows:
45 FLRA No. 90
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), and concerns the negotiability of a single proposal that would require the Agency to maintain an existing employee lounge area until bargaining concerning comparable space is completed. The Agency did not file a statement of position and the Union did not file a response. For the following reasons, we find that the proposal is negotiable.
II. The Proposal
The Agency agrees that the current lounge area will not be physically altered until comparable space is found and agreed to.
III. Positions of the Parties
A. The Agency 1/
The Agency contends that the proposal interferes with management's right, under section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute, to determine the technology, methods and means of performing work. The Agency argues that "[k]eeping the lounge in the present location prevents the [new office space] from being completed and prevents all the employees from sitting in one office location." Petition for Review, Attachment 1 at 1.
B. The Union
The Union states that the intent of the proposal is that until such time as the parties have concluded bargaining over a related proposal concerning comparable space for an employee lounge, "the Agency would not perform physical construction that would substantially alter the physical configuration of the current lounge area . . . ." Petition for Review at 1.
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
The Union's proposal would require the Agency to maintain the status quo as to the physical aspects of the existing employee lounge pending the completion of bargaining. In National Weather Service Employees Organization and U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, 37 FLRA 392, 402-04 (1990) (National Weather Service), we found that a proposal preventing the agency from changing employees' starting times pending the completion of bargaining was negotiable. Specifically, because the proposal did nothing more than require the agency to maintain the status quo until the agency had satisfied its bargaining obligation under the Statute, we found that the proposal did not directly interfere with management's rights under section 7106(a)(2)(B) and section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute, but constituted a negotiable procedure under section 7106(b)(2) of the Statute.
In this case, as noted above, the proposal would merely require the Agency to maintain the status quo until bargaining concerning comparable space is completed. Consequently, consistent with National Weather Service, we find that the proposal does not directly interfere with management's right to determine the technology, methods and means of performing work under section 7106(b)(1), but is a negotiable procedure under section 7106(b)(2) of the Statute. See also National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-134 and U.S. Department of the Navy, Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island, 38 FLRA 589, 595-96 (1990) (proposal preventing the renovation, modification, and fabrication of a structure or space that would be used as a cafeteria pending the completion of bargaining constituted a negotiable procedure under section 7106(b)(2)).
The Agency must, upon request or as otherwise agreed to by the parties, bargain on the proposal.2/
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
1/ As the Agency did not file a statement of position, its arguments concerning the proposal are taken from its allegation of nonnegotiability which was attached to the Union's petition for review.
2/ In finding that the proposal is negotiable, we make no judgment as to its merits.