FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION WASHINGTON, D.C. and CHAPTER 207, NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

 

In the Matter of

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE
  CORPORATION
WASHINGTON,  D.C.

 

and

CHAPTER 207, NATIONAL TREASURY
    EMPLOYEES UNION

Case No. 06 FSIP 37


DECISION AND ORDER

    Chapter 207, National Treasury Employees Union (Union or NTEU) 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 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Washington, D.C. (Employer or FDIC).

    After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the dispute, which concerns how the parties are to define "seniority" for the purpose of establishing priority in office selection, should be resolved through the issuance of an Order to Show Cause. In this regard, the parties were ordered to show cause why the Panel should not impose the following modified version of an outcome previously provided to the parties by a neutral fact-finder on the same issue:

For moves involving Headquarters facilities in Washington, D.C. and facilities in Virginia Square, the employees in each unit shall select their offices by grade. If there are two or more employees with the same grade in a unit, the tie shall be broken by length of time in grade (FDIC/RTC/FHLBB),1/ i.e., the employee with the longest time in grade will choose first and so on.2/

The parties also were advised that, after considering the entire record, the Panel would take whatever action it deems appropriate to resolve the impasse, including the issuance of a binding decision. Pursuant to the Panel’s determination, both parties submitted to the Panel written responses to the Order to Show Cause, including the Union’s different proposal for resolving the issue.3/ The Panel has now considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer’s primary mission is to ensure the safety and soundness of state-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System. The Union represents a consolidated bargaining unit consisting of approximately 3,700 professional and non-professional employees; of those, 831 are stationed at the Employer’s Headquarters facilities in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia. The parties have two collective-bargaining agreements (CBAs) in effect: (1) a master collective-bargaining agreement (MCBA), scheduled to expire in January 2008, that covers most terms and conditions of employment; and (2) a compensation agreement, in effect until December 2009, which addresses pay and other monetary benefits.

ISSUE

    The sole issue in dispute concerns the definition of "seniority" for purposes of office selection.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Union’s Position

    The Union proposes that the Panel adopt the following wording instead of the resolution set forth in the Order to Show Cause:

For moves involving Headquarters facilities in Washington, D.C. and facilities in Virginia Square, the employees in each unit shall select their offices by grade. If there are two or more employees with the same grade in a unit, the tie shall be broken by length of time in the unit, i.e., the employee with the longest time in the unit will choose first and so on.

Time in unit should be the tiebreaker for the office selection process because employees should be rewarded for their longevity in the unit served. Using a "time-in-unit" standard results in a "simple and transparent" selection method, given that every employee knows his or her place in the order of selection. There also is no need for the personnel office to generate lists showing how long each employee has been in the unit. In addition, its proposed wording would encourage and reward the retention of institutional knowledge by giving office selection preference to employees who stay in the unit longer. Retaining institutional knowledge is a valuable commodity in a time of declining numbers of staff. Furthermore, the proposal represents the democratic decision of employees who were polled by the Union. In this connection, the Chapter President has submitted an affidavit stating that when the parties applied the wording in the Order to Show Cause to the recent relocation of 500 employees from Washington, D.C., to Virginia Square, Virginia, and two other unrelated relocations, employees expressed dissatisfaction because the order of selection dramatically changed under that procedure, resulting in their movement from desirable to undesirable space. Finally, in a previous case involving the parties and the same issue, a Panel-designated arbitrator imposed a resolution that is similar to the Union’s current proposal.4/

2. The Employer’s Position

    The Panel should impose the seniority criteria set forth in its Order to Show Cause; that is, priority in office selection would be determined first by grade, and as a tiebreaker, by an employee’s length of service not only at FDIC, but also including employment at RTC and FHLBB. The provision is consistent with the seniority formula used to determine office selections in 1995, when the RTC ceased to exist and former FDIC employees who had been working at the RTC returned to p