GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON, D.C. and COUNCIL OF GSA LOCALS, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES FEDERAL DISTRICT 1, IAM & AW AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

In the Matter of

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
WASHINGTON, D.C.

and

COUNCIL OF GSA LOCALS, NATIONAL
  FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
  FEDERAL DISTRICT 1, IAM & AW
  AFL-CIO

Case No. 02 FSIP 94

DECISION AND ORDER

    The General Services Administration (GSA), Washington, D.C., (Employer) 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 (Statute), 5 U.S.C. § 7119, between it and the Council of GSA Locals, National Federation of Federal Employees, Federal District 1, IAM & AW, AFL-CIO (Union).

    Following investigation of the parties’ request for assistance in this case, which arose from negotiations over a new performance awards program, the Panel determined that the dispute should be resolved through an informal conference with Member John G. Cruz. The parties were advised that if no settlement was reached, Member Cruz would report to the Panel on the status of the dispute, including the parties’ final offers and his recommendation for resolving the impasse.(1)

The parties were also advised that after considering this information, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse, which could include the issuance of a binding decision.

    Pursuant to this procedural determination, Member Cruz met with the parties on September 10, 2002, at the Panel’s office in Washington, D.C. At the close of the proceeding, the parties remained at impasse over a number of issues pertaining to the awards program, and were permitted to submit final offers, initial statements, and rebuttals in support of their positions.(2) Member Cruz has reported to the Panel, and it has now considered the entire record.(3)

BACKGROUND

    The mission of the GSA is to assist Federal agencies to better serve the public by offering, at best value, superior work places, expert solutions, and acquisition services. The component of GSA involved in this dispute is the Federal Supply Service (FSS). FSS’s mission is to provide leadership, through guiding principles and operating programs, which assures the Federal Government’s requirements for personal property and administrative services are efficiently met at the least cost to the taxpayer. The Union represents approximately 660 FSS employees who are part of a nationwide consolidated bargaining unit of about 3,100. They occupy positions as specialists in the following areas: contracts, transportation, property, marketing, procurement, property disposal, and budget, at grades GS-3 through -14. The parties’ national collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired in August 2000; negotiations over a successor CBA are in progress.

ISSUES AT IMPASSE

    The parties disagree over the following issues: (1) how and to whom the total awards pool should be allocated by the Employer; (2) whether the portion of the pool to be designated by the Employer for performance-based awards should be distributed to unit employees equally (i.e., regardless of grade), or as equal percentages of salary; (3) whether the awards pool should be increased by the Employer if overall GSA revenue increases;(4) (4) whether the Employer should guarantee that awards pool funding be available if all work groups meet or exceed their performance goals; and (5) whether the awards program should be negotiable annually at the request of either party.

1. The Employer’s Position

    With respect to how the awards pool should be divided, the Employer proposes that 60 percent be allocated for performance-based awards, and 40 percent be available for use under existing GSA awards programs, such as the "Fast Track Awards System." Concerning the performance-based aspect of their dispute, the Employer proposes that this portion of the awards pool be divided into three categories, i.e., 70 percent for achieving targets, 10 percent for exceeding targets, and 20 percent for overall FSS performance. Awards for the first two categories would be distributed as equal percentages of salary, and as equal dollar amounts for the last category. In addition, the Employer opposes the Union’s proposals that their awards program agreement contain wording guaranteeing that funding would be available if all work groups meet or exceed their performance goals, and that the awards program be renegotiated annually.

    Its proposed awards program should be adopted because, unlike the Union’s plan, it is based on sound business and compensation practices. In this regard, FSS managers developed the awards framework after "working with the Logistics Management Institute and an expert in the field of employee compensation." It is based on "documented studies on how to compensate and award employees effectively." In addition, adoption of the plan would ensure consistency throughout FSS. In this regard, approximately 75 percent of FSS is already operating under this awards plan.

    Adoption of the Union’s plan, by contrast, would mean "substantially disparate treatm