United States of America
BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE
In the Matter of
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
LOCAL 951, NATIONAL
Case No. 05 FSIP 29
DECISION AND ORDER
Local 951, National Federation of Federal Employees, Federal District 1, IAMAW, AFL-CIO (Union), filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (the Panel) to consider a negotiation impasse under Federal Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), between it and the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, Sacramento, California (Employer).
Following an investigation of the request for assistance concerning the implementation of maxiflex work schedules (MWS), a type of alternative work schedule (AWS), the Panel determined that the matter should be resolved through single written submissions. The parties were informed that after considering the entire record, the Panel would take whatever action it deems appropriate to settle the matter, which may include the issuance of a Decision and Order. Written submissions were received from the parties in accordance with the Panel's determination, and it has now considered the entire record.
The Employer's mission is to manage, develop, and protect, for the public welfare, water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner. The Mid-Pacific Region comprises California, Oregon, and Nevada. The Union represents approximately 450 employees who typically work as natural resources specialists, civil engineers, park rangers, tour guides, and in various support staff positions, at grades GS-4 through -12. The bargaining unit also includes a few employees in trades and crafts positions, at grades WG-3 through -8. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) covering these parties expired on September 25, 2004. The implementation of MWS is the only issue remaining from the parties' successor CBA negotiations.
ISSUE AT IMPASSE
The parties disagree over whether to add MWS to the hours of work options outlined in Article 18, § 1(b) of the CBA.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
1. The Union's Position
The Union proposes to add the following wording to the CBA:
Maxiflex: A flexible schedule. The employee may vary length of the workweek, as well as the workday daily. The employee may vary the number of hours per day and the number of days per week. The employee must account for at least 80 hours per pay period between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm on 3 workdays per workweek.
The Union argues that its proposal should be adopted because implementation of MWS would assist in reducing traffic congestion and lowering pollution levels. Further, it would create more flexibility for employees to "cope with worsening traffic commute patterns while family responsibilities increase." Under the proposal, the Employer's discretion to approve or deny an application to participate in MWS, based on "adequate work-related rationale," is preserved. The Union also recognizes that all offices and field operations must be adequately staffed. To achieve this end, the current CBA wording permits the Employer to "change or modify changes of AWS to meet work objectives of any unit based on productivity, level of direct or indirect services furnished to the public, and cost of operations, other than reasonable administrative costs."
2. The Employer's Position
The Employer proposes to maintain the status quo, i.e., employees would continue to have the option of participating in gliding, 4-10, or 5-4/9 AWS. Employees also retain the option of earning credit hours. Implementing MWS is unnecessary because the existing hours of work options sufficiently meet employees' needs. The options are already designed to assist in reducing traffic congestion, lower pollution, and give employees the flexibility needed to deal with family obligations. Indeed, the existing gliding schedule can be made even more flexible with the addition of credit hours.
Requiring the parties to maintain the status quo is also appropriate because the Union did not demonstrate a need to expand the AWS options already offered. In this regard, the survey results the Union provided "serve no value to support the Union's proposal." Moreover, the results do not show how employees' concerns cannot be achieved by the existing AWS options.1/ Furthermore, the Union's proposal should not be adopted because the "unscheduled nature" of MWS "creates scheduling difficulty for supervisors/managers." This is because supervisors and managers would not know from one day to the next "when employees may be arriving and how long they will be staying or even if they are coming in to work on a particular day."
Having carefully reviewed the evidence and arguments presented in support of the parties' positions, we shall order the Union to withdraw its proposal. In this instance, we are persuaded that employees have sufficient AWS options available to meet their needs for flexibility while at the same time ensuring that they perform the work necessary to accomplish the mission of the agency. In our view, the Union's evidence fails to support the need to change the status quo, particularly in light of the additional burdens MWS would place on supervisors.
Pursuant to the authority vested in it by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. § 7119, and because of the failure of the parties to resolve their dispute during the course of proceedings instituted under the Panel's regulations, 5 C.F.R. § 2471.6(a)(2), the Federal Service Impasses Panel under § 2471.11(a) of its regulations hereby orders the following:
The Union shall withdraw its proposal.
By direction of the Panel.
H. Joseph Schimansky
July 1, 2005
The Union’s written submission includes a summary of the results of a survey in which it asked employees if they are interested in participating in MWS. Of the 400 bargaining-unit employees surveyed, 66 responded; 58 employees stated yes, 11 no, and 3 possibly.