United States of America
BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL
In the Matter of
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE, LODGE 1
Case No.05 FSIP 132
DECISION AND ORDER
The Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. (GPO or 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 Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 1 (FOP or Union).
After an investigation of the request for assistance, which arises from bargaining over the parties' successor collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the Panel determined that the impasse should be resolved through an informal conference with Executive Director H. Joseph Schimansky and Executive Assistant to the Chairman Victoria L. Dutcher. The parties were informed that, if a complete settlement of the dispute was not reached during the informal conference, the Panel would be notified of the status of the dispute, including the parties' final offers and recommendations for resolving the impasse. The Panel would then settle the matter by issuing a binding decision in which it would select either of the parties' final offers on an article-by-article basis, to the extent they otherwise appear to be legal.
In accordance with the Panel's procedural determination, a meeting was convened with the parties' representatives on January 12, 2006, at the Panel's offices in Washington, D.C., during which they were able to reach agreements on three of the five articles in dispute.1/ The participants reconvened on January 24, 2006, to give the Employer time to consider the Union's proposals on the remaining two articles, Article 13, "Hours of Work and Basic Workweek," and Article 29, "Safety." After further discussion, the parties also voluntarily resolved their dispute over Article 29, but remained at impasse on Article 13. Mr. Schimansky and Ms. Dutcher reported to the Panel, which has considered the entire record in rendering its decision, including the parties' post-conference written statements supporting their final offers.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) is a Legislative Branch agency whose mission is to print documents for Congress, including the Congressional Record, bills, and committee reports. It also prints documents for Executive Branch agencies and procures printing for Federal agencies. Some documents require high levels of security before they are publicly released. The bargaining unit consists of approximately 30 police officers. The parties' CBA was due to expire in November 2004, but its terms will continue to apply until the Panel resolves their dispute over Article 13, and their successor CBA is executed.
ISSUES AT IMPASSE
The parties essentially disagree over whether the implementation of a one-half hour increase in the length of employees' workdays should require the reopening of bargaining over wages to address the impact of the change and, if so, the change should be delayed until the completion of such bargaining.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
1. The Employer's Position
The Employer's final offer is the following:
Article 13. Hours of Work and Basic Workweek.
Section 1. The workweek will be five (5) eight (8) hour days. The workdays may not always be consecutive. An employee will be allowed a 30-minute unpaid lunch period for each 8-hour shift they work. If employees are required to work due to an emergency situation, they will be paid overtime for each 6-minute increment in a work status.
Section 2. Lunch periods. Employees may leave the buildings and grounds occupied by the GPO only if they have first turned in their weapons and radio. Employees must advise the OIC of their intent to leave the premises for lunch at the start of their shift so that a supervisor will be present to receive their weapon and radio.
The adoption of its proposal, which does not "materially conflict" with the wording in the parties' current CBA,2/ would "increase the amount of time officers spend on internal security" by one-half hour per day, and provide for increased training and roll-call briefing time. While the current workday is 8 hours, the GPO "has permitted [these] employees a 30-minute paid time period for their lunch." Changing to an 8-hour workday with a 30-minute unpaid lunch would bring them into alignment with "the other 2,400 GPO employees." This change also "will bring [GPO's police force] into conformity with the police forces it works most closely with," the Capitol Hill Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
The Union's proposal interferes with management's right, under section 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute, to assign work, as well as its right, under section 7106(a)(1), to determine its internal security practices.3/ Nor does it meet the tests established by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to be considered an appropriate arrangement, under section 7106(b)(3) of the Statute, for employees adversely affected by the exercise of management's rights. Moreover, "there is no evidence in the Union's written proposal that the GPO plan results in adverse impact . . . [t]he contract provision for a 40-hour workweek is not being altered . . ." In fact, the Union's proposal that "the parties continue bargaining in another forum . . . is not a solution to [their protracted] bargaining dispute." The Panel should resolve the dispute by adopting the Employer's proposal.
2. The Union's Position
The final offer of the Union on Article 13 is as follows:
The FOP proposes as an appropriate arrangement for the adverse affects of a change in the work day that any change in the work hours to increase the work day as GPO proposes, from an 8-hour day to an 8.5-hour day, be subjected to a reopening of Article 42 "Wage Rates." The parties would have 30 days from the effective date of the CBA to conclude bilateral negotiations. These negotiations would solely concern whether the Wage Rates under Article 42 should be adjusted to reflect the change of hours under Article 13. If the parties reach agreement, such agreement shall be presented to the JCP within 15 days of agreement. If the parties are unable to reach agreement, the parties shall each submit a report to the JCP explaining its provision and ask for an expedited decision from the JCP. The GPO's implementation of its decision to alter the hours of work under Article 13 shall be delayed until the JCP renders its decision on the parties' negotiation dispute. Each party's submission to the JCP shall contain the following phrase, "Expedited decision is requested as the implementation of changes in the hours of work is delayed until a decision on wages is made by the JCP." It is recognized that the JCP may or may not approve a change in wage rates as a consequence of the reopening of Article 42.
Its proposal is an appropriate response to the Employer's attempt to change a practice that has existed for "at least 35 years," whereby police officers at GPO have worked an 8-hour day, which includes a one-half hour lunch period. Under the Employer's proposal, the workday would be extended from 8 to 8½ hours "without any increase in compensation." This would require each employee to work an additional 130 hours per year, which equates to an average of $2,896.40 annually per officer. In reality, therefore, "by lengthening the workday without an adjustment in pay" the Employer is proposing "a backdoor pay cut." The Union's proposal "requires that the parties reopen pay negotiations to discuss the impact of the extended workday," without guaranteeing any wage increase, and ensures "fundamental fairness." In this regard, had the Employer indicated during the parties' last pay negotiations in 2004 that it was planning to lengthen the workday, given the indisputable connection between the length of the workday and pay, the Union would have addressed that significant change at that time. Finally, the Panel should not "penalize" the bargaining unit by viewing the Employer's current proposal "as making up for a shortened workday in the past." It was GPO, and not the Union or unit employees, that controlled the length of the workday, and "the parties' past wage negotiations have always been with the 8-hour, vice 8½-hour, workday in mind."
Having carefully considered the arguments and evidence presented in this case, we conclude that the Employer's final offer provides the better basis for resolving the parties' dispute. It is clear from the record that increasing the length of the workday by one-half hour would enhance GPO's internal security and is consistent with the work hours of its other employees and those of the police forces it works with most closely. It is also clear from the record that the parties' 2004 wage negotiations will result in employees receiving a 40- percent increase in salary over the 4-year term of the agreement, an agreement that does not contain a reopener provision. The Union does not oppose the change on its merits, but argues that it is unfair to increase actual work time (eliminating a 30-minute paid lunch period) without providing an opportunity to negotiate a corresponding increase in pay. In our view, whatever the merits of its equity argument, the Union should await its next wage bargaining opportunity to address a change that both sides agree would enhance GPO's internal security. Accordingly, we shall order the adoption of the Employer's final offer.
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 5 C.F.R. § 2471.11(a) of its regulations, hereby orders the following:
The parties shall adopt the Employer's final offer on Article 13, "Hours of Work and Basic Workweek."
By direction of the Panel.
H. Joseph Schimansky
April 7, 2006
Article 4, "Tours of Duty and Transfers," Article 5, "Post Assignments," and Article 35, "Changes in Working Conditions."
Article 13, Section 1, of the current CBA states: "The work week will be 40 hours per week."
Among the cases it cites to support its contentions are Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Washington, D.C., 60 FLRA 367 (2004) and Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Services, Honolulu, Hawaii, 57 FLRA 424 (2001).