DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GEORGIA and LOCAL 2317, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY

MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE

ALBANY, GEORGIA

and

LOCAL 2317, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

Case No. 01 FSIP 125

 

DECISION AND ORDER

    Local 2317, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (Union) filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider a negotiation impasse under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between it and the Department of the Navy, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia (Employer).

    Following an investigation of the request for assistance, arising from negotiations over the amount of administrative leave authorized for employees to donate blood, the Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved through an informal conference by telephone with a Panel representative, to be preceded by single, written submissions. The parties were informed that if no settlement were reached, the Panel representative would notify the Panel of the status of the dispute, including the parties’ final offers and her recommendations for resolving the impasse. The Panel would then take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse, which could include the issuance of a Decision and Order.

    In accordance with the Panel’s determination, the parties submitted written statements, and on August 8, 2001, Panel Representative (Labor Relations Specialist) June M. Marshall held an informal conference, by telephone, with the parties; however, they were unable to reach an agreement. Ms. Marshall has reported to the Panel, and it has now considered the entire record, including the parties’ positions and her recommendations for how the dispute should be resolved.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer’s overall mission is to furnish supplies for the Marine Corps forces and to forces which are part of the Atlantic fleet. The mission of the Maintenance Center, a division within the Marine Corps Logistics Base, is to provide maintenance and complete rebuilds of all ground weapons and ground weapons support systems. The Union represents approximately 2,000 employees who typically work as aircraft mechanics, heavy mobile equipment mechanics, maintenance mechanics, and in logistics management, at grades WG-4 though -8 and GS-4 through -12. The parties’ collective bargaining agreement appears to have expired on August 13, 2001.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The parties essentially disagree over the amount of administrative leave employees should be permitted to take to donate blood at the local community blood donation site.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Union’s Position

    The Union proposes the following wording:

(1) Command sponsored blood donation drives be discontinued. Employee donations may be made two (2) times a year at a local community blood collection facility or hospital. Up to four (4) hours for each donating period for the purpose of donating blood subject to workload requirements and availability of employees to perform production requirements. Additional time may be granted on an individual basis. Supervisors will be responsible for determining the availability of administrative time for blood donations; and (2) Individual employees are responsible for making their appointment to donate blood. Requests for administrative leave to donate blood will be made at least two (2) days in advance of the scheduled appointment. The following day, the individual employee will be responsible for providing his/her supervisor a certificate certifying the employee donated blood.

The Union is seeking to return to the policy that existed from 1991 to 1998 whereby supervisors could approve requests by employees for up to 4 hours of administrative leave to donate blood.(1) The Employer’s proposal is unnecessary because supervisors have always had the authority and discretion to determine whether an employee can be released from duty for the purpose of donating blood and, if released, the duration of such approved leave. If supervisors are not exercising their discretion properly, the Employer should provide them with additional supervisory training.

    In an effort to reduce costs, the Union has worked with the Employer to eliminate "command sponsored" blood drives; this change imposes a burden on employees by requiring them to drive to the donation site. If, as the Employer asserts, there has been a decrease in workload, its concerns should already have been met. In this regard, a decrease in workload would mean a decrease in the number of employees at the installation, which in turn means a decrease in the number of employees requesting approved leave to donate blood. Finally, the Employer appears to focus only on the needs of the Maintenance Center, one-half of the bargaining unit, when the interests of all bargaining-unit employees on the Marine Corps Logistics Base should be considered.

2. The Employer’s Position

    The Employer proposes the following:

(1) The parties encourage employees to participate in blood donor programs in the local community. To this end, employees may be excused, workload permitting, from duty without charge to leave for the last one-and-one-half hours of their shift for the purpose of donating blood; (2) Responsibility for scheduling appointments for donations rests with the employee makin