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U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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United States of America BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL In the Matter of DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SERVICE NORTHEAST REGION BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS and LOCAL 3432, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Case No. 08 FSIP 67 DECISION AND ORDER Local 3432, 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 (Statute), 5 U.S.C. ' 7119, between it and the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Northeast Region, Boston, Massachusetts (Employer or NPS). After investigation of the request for assistance, which arose from negotiations over a reopener provision in the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement (CBA), the Panel determined that the parties should resume negotiations during a 45-day period with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). If a complete settlement were not reached during this period, any remaining issues would be resolved through single written submissions.1/ The parties were informed that after considering the entire record, the Panel would take whatever action it deems appropriate to settle the impasse, which may include the issuance of a Decision and Order. When the parties’ resumed negotiations failed to result in a 1/ The request for assistance initially included Article 15, Arbitration, and Article 4, Union Representation, as articles at impasse. Article 15 has been withdrawn by the Union leaving only Article 4 remains in dispute. 2 complete settlement of the dispute, final offers with supporting statements of position were submitted pursuant to this procedure and the Panel has now considered the entire record. BACKGROUND The Employer’s mission is to preserve, unimpaired, the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. It also cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. The Union represents approximately 500 non-professional, nonsupervisory employees who mainly work as Park Rangers and maintenance workers. The CBA covering these parties expires in 2008; however, its terms will remain in effect until a new agreement is effectuated. ISSUES AT IMPASSE The parties disagree over various issues in Article 4 including the number of Union representatives within the Northeast Region and the amount of official time for the Local Union President. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES 1. The Union’s Position On the key issues, the Union proposes that each of the 15 National Parks in the Northeast Region have one representative on-site, that these representatives be granted reasonable and necessary official time,2/ and that the Local President be granted 100-percent official time. It also proposes numerous other changes to Article 4, including recognizing an EEO meeting as a formal discussion, eliminating the process to request official time, and allowing official time for the following purposes: lobbying state and Federal government officials and 2/ See Attachment A for the complete text of the Union’s final offer. While it does not specifically mention the number of representatives it wishes to have, its offer requires the Employer to recognize all Local representatives it identifies. In its supporting statement, the Union states that it represents employees at 15 National Parks in the Northeast Region and that it wants an on-site representative at each park. 3 preparation for and presentation of grievances, EEO complaints under the negotiated grievance procedure, arbitration hearings (as witnesses, litigators and technical representatives), FMCS sessions, and unfair labor practice complaints.3/ The Union believes it is necessary to have an on-site representative at each Park because that individual would have first-hand knowledge of the Park’s workplace culture and labormanagement history and be able to resolve more issues informally. The current practice of having 7 representatives for 15 Parks no longer works because it is difficult to secure a representative in a timely manner, especially in the case of an emergency. The Union also states there is a concern regarding the distance between the Parks within the Northeast Region, which in some locations is approximately 250 miles. In addition, the traveling time among the three New York City sites can be at least 2 hours in each direction. These considerable distances and travel times, along with the uncertainty of traffic conditions, leads to a disproportionate use of time for commuting as compared to actual meeting time. Thus, according to the Union, having on-site representatives would reduce the use of official time. 2. The Employer’s Position The Employer proposes to maintain the current wording in Article 4 of the CBA which establishes one Union representative for each of the seven Organizational Groups within the Northeast Region. In addition, all representatives, including the Local Union President, would continue to be authorized a reasonable amount of official time for the purpose of engaging in representational activity.4/ The Employer says the current system is sufficient as the Organizational Groups within the Northeast Region are in close geographical proximity. Moreover, there is a procedure in place under the CBA to increase the number of stewards when new Parks are added to the Northeast Region, and on two occasions additional stewards have be added when new Parks came on line. During the past 3 years, the Union has used a total of approximately 400 hours of official time throughout the 3/ 4/ The Union has not addressed the reasons for many of these proposed changes. See Attachment B for the complete text of the Employer’s final offer. 4 Northeast Region. The official time used by the Union does not justify an increase in the number of stewards nor does it support granting the Local Union President 100-percent official time. Finally, no bargaining-unit employees or Union representatives have been denied the use of official time under Article 4, nor have any grievances been filed relating to the failure of the Union to properly represent its bargaining unit. CONCLUSION After carefully considering the record established by the parties in this case, we conclude that the Union has failed to demonstrate a need for the changes it has proposed to Article 4. However, a union may designate its representatives without reference to organizational levels and segments when dealing with agency management in the performance of its representational functions.5/ Accordingly, we order the parties to adopt the Employer’s final offer modified by the Employer only to the extent necessary to make it consistent with statutory requirements. ORDER 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 by 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: 5/ See, for example, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and U.S. Air Force, Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 4 FLRA 272. In addition, 5 U.S.C. § 7102 states, among other things, that “each employee” has the right “to act for a labor organization in the capacity of a representative.” 5 The parties shall adopt the Employer’s final offer on Article 4, modified by the Employer only to the extent necessary to make it consistent with statutory requirements regarding the number and location of Union representatives in the Northeast Region. By direction of the Panel. H. Joseph Schimansky Executive Director November 26, 2008 Washington, D.C. ATTACHMENT A .. Union Counter Proposal 2 (07/15/08) ARTICLE 4 UNION REPRESENTATION Section I The Employer will recognizerepresentatives designatedby AFGE Local 3432 as the exclusive as representative all employeesincluded in the writ for which jt holds certificati0ll. The Union shall of supply the Labor and Employee Relations Specialistin the NortheastRegional Office" on written request,a list of aU Local repreSClltatives. S~ction 1 The rcpresentalivcsof the Ul1ionwill be grantedofficial time to han41e Union Jpresentational duties in the fo11owing manner: -1 President ~ 100% official time All other representatives -rea.~onableand necessary fficial time 0 The duties of a union representative include thefollowing: ~ (1) Meet with ~UE to discussthe contract,personnelpolicie~ and practices"or ~er matters concerning conditions of employmentrelated to a grievanceor potential grievance; I (2) Meet with BUE and management officials to resolve or presenta formal or Jronnal grievance; (3) Attend my formal discussionbetweenthe Employer and employee(s)concermnspersonnelpolicies, practices,or other matters concerningconditionsof employment; (4) Represent employeesin connectionwith an investigatjon, if the employee~nably believes the investigationmay reslllt in disciplinary action againstthem. and the employeeT4qllests representation (WeingartenRights). (5) Preparation and presentationof informal grievances. (6) Preparation and presentation Fonnal grievances; of (7) Preparation and presentationof EEO complaints under the negotiatedgrievanceprocedure. (8) Arbitration preparationand presentationaswitness.1itigator. OT l'echnical Repre~entative; (9) Participation at Arbitration hearings; I (10) Participationat FederalMediation and Conciliation mediation sessions; I (11) Preparation and presentationof Unfair Labor Practice complaint.'); l (12) Preparation and presentation and communication with the Employer on roarers covered by this Agreement; I (13) Preparationand presentation of representational activities rel~ted to proposed discipl inary:o adverse actiun. or performance-based actions; (14) Preparation, presentation communicationwith the Employer on mattersnot coveredby this and Agreement. -" (15) Lobbying Stateand Federalgovernment officials. -I (16) Attend management-initiated conferences, seminars,or meetings. (17) Participate committeesasagreedon (not to include work group assignments a non-union on in capacity)~ and (18) Participatein proceedingsbeforethe FederalLabor RelationsAutltority (FLRA)) Merit Systems ProtectionBoard (MSPB). or EEO whenhandledunder the negotiatedgrievance procedure, or foInlal meetingsunderthe EEOC Statute,in accordance with the EEOC, FLRA and MSPB rules and regulations. Official time includestime spenton the telephone, email. or other existing communicationtechnology. Official time for collective bargainingagreement negotiationswill benegotiatedseparately is not and coveredabove. Official time is not authorizedfor thoseactivities concernedwith organi2ingefforts and the internal management the labor organization. Any activities perfonned by an employee of relating to the internal business a labor organization(including solicitation of membership,electionsoflaboT organization of ~fficials, and a collection of dues)shall be performedduring the time the employeeis in a non-duty status. Section3 The Union is authorized to visit other work areas. Prior to his/her discussionwith an employee in anomershop, office, or work ~ the Union representativewill notify the employee'ssupervisorby telephoneor in person.The supervisorwill makethe employeeavailableat a mutually agreedon time. In suchcircumstances, Union representative the will be infom1edVi"hen ernp1oyee be available the will for discussion. This activity will be conductedwithout loss of payor benefitsto the employeeand The representative. Section 1: lne Employer agrees to notify the Union of any forms] meetings with u~it employees, including any EEO meetings under the EEOC Statute. I Section 5 The Unionshall have the opportunityto berepresented any eXaminatiOnf an employeein the unit by at ~ a representativcof the Employer, in connection with an investigation, if the employee reasonably believes the examination may result in disciplinary action against the mployee and the employee requestsrepresentation(Weingarten Rights). Through an annual posting requirement, the Employer agrees infoID1 to employees their Weingartenrights. The Employer shall allow up tD 24 ho1ll'S the of for employeeto obtain an available Union representative. T~lcphonic representation may be allowed if necessary. addjtion, the Employer shall advise the Unjon of any inv~gative meetingsheld with a In BUE underthe EEOC Statute. 2 , Section6 Subject operationalrequirements, to Union o.tJjcers Stewards and who canreasonably spared be will be grantedreasonable amountsof official time to attend AFGE or other labor-management sponsored training of mutual benefitto the parti~ available at no cost to the Employer)either for tuition or for travel and per diem. Suchtrroning may take the fonD of semin~" conferences~ collegesponsored coursesand other stateand local government offerings. The Employer agrees to authorize two days (2) days official time to one (1) Union Representative once every three yearsto attend dIe Union convention. The Employer and the Unionrecognizethat training provided at such eventsis in the interestof bothparties. The Union will provide management a copy of the training agenda prior to the approval of official time. d. The employer agrees to pay all expenses for Union Representatives to perform oftlcial duties while attending Employer-sponsored meetings at locations other than the duty station of the Union Representative. Expenses will be paid in accordance with government-wide trave] rules and regulations. ~_e£tion 7 The Union Treasurershall be grantedreasonable official time to attendtraining and for completing mandatory U.S. Department Labor/IntemalRevenueServicereports/audits. of 3 c. b. a. ATTACHMENT B ARTICLE 4 UNION REPRESENTATION Section !: The Employer recognizes AFGE Loca13432 as the exclusive reprcsfntative of an employeesincluded in the unit for which it holds certificatjon. The $mpJoyer further recognizesthe duly elected or appointedofficers and stewards as re ~ rescntatjves ortbeasl of Union. The Union shall ~upply the Chief of Labor Relations for the Region, the in writing, and maintain on a current basis, a list of all its representativ $. Scction 2. F~;~~rposes of official time, thc Employer agrces to recognize J even (7) stewards desigDated by the Un;on to represent bargaining unit employees. T~e list shown below identifies the organizatioDal group to which stewards will be assignqd. The Union shalJ provide ~tewards. the In Employer the a event the written Union list finds showing it necessary the names to of replace the unio a ste ~ , S ard authorized currently listed, the appointment of the replacement shall not become effective until Ive (5) days after the reccipt of written notice of the change to the Employer. Notwithst ding this five day notification requirement, in the event of an emcrgency. the Union m y replace a steward on a tero,porary basis (up to ten (10) days) by notifying the Labor R lations Specialist, NER. Only those Union stewards who are currently identified and ppointed by the President of the Union wjll be recognized by the Employer. A stew rd will represent only lhose cmpJoyees in the same organi7;ational group as that of lhd steward. Only stewards designated on an emergency basis may represent employeqs from outside their organizat,ional group. ORGANJZA TJONAL GROUPS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. If a new park Statue of Liberty NM/EJ..1i~ Island 1M, Manhattan Sites Edison NHS, Morristown NHP Gateway NRA; Sandy Hook Unit, New JerseyCoastal H ritage Trail SaratogaNHP, Martin Van BlIren NHS, and Roosevelt- anderbilt NHS SagamoreHill NHS, Fire Island National Seashore Gateway NRA; Staten115land Unit, Brooklyn Unit Women's Rights NHP, Ft. Stanwix NHM. is added located to the organizational bargaining group unit, and they will will be fall repre:sented within th geographically : nearest y the steward for that group. lfthe new park is 19cated more than oue hundred (100) iles from any organizational group, or in the event two (2) new parks join the barg/iining unit, the Union will be authorized one (1) additional steward. I Stewards will be authorized a reasonableamount of official time for the purpoo':'e of eugagiDgjIi representationalactiv,ity. The Union will designateone teward to be granted official time by the Employer from each of the seven (7) organizatio g1:OUp8. duties The of a steward include the following: a. to mcet with bargaining unit employeesto discuss the co tract, personnel b. c. d. policie$ and practices, and othcr matters co[1cemingcond,tions of employment related to a gricvance or potential gricva[1ces; i to ,meetwith employecs and managementofficiaJ.sto rcso~veor presenta grievance; to be present during any fornIal discussion betwecn the .E~ployer and cmpJ.oyees concerning personnel policies, practices or ot~er matters affecting conditions of employment; and ! to repre...ent cmpJ.oyees connection with an investigatio if the employee in rea.~onably believes that the examination may result in di cipJinary action against them and the employee requestsrepresentation. f In additjon, stcward~,officers, or employees £1.5 appropriate, will bc autb.orizeda reasonableamount of official timc fo.1: purpose of the followi~g activities: the to attend managementinitiated conferenceg,scminars, or meetings; b. to participatein a committees as agreedand (not to include ork group assignm,ents on non-union capacity); upon ~ c to participate in proceedingsbefore the Fedcral Labor Relati us At\thority (FJ...RA) and Mcrit Systems Protcctj,onBoard (MSPB) in acc rdance with the FLRA's aDdMSPB's roles and regulations. ' Union officers, other than the Presjdent, ~hall not perform the du1iesof steward unless they are officially desi.gnated stewards by the Union or they ar"F as representing a stcward in his/her personal gr.ievance. i Section 3. Official time fOT representational purpose5 5ball be scheduled ir advance with the representativc'ssupe.r:vi50r.Union representatives will complete th~ attached form when requestingofficial time. Section4. Before leaving the worksire, the Union representative will first btain approval from hi~/hersupcrvisor. The representativeneed~to tell the supervisor the general nature of the busiIJess,e.g., negotiations, grievance meetings, committee meet .ng, etc. Sjnce the contract indicatcs that what constitutes reasonable time takes in 0 con~ideration the amount of time that is necessary to accomplish the $pecific tas for which time is requested.he/she needs to tell~the supervisor approximately how 10 g he/she expectsthe task to take. When the union officials return to their work-site, the oeed to advj~e their supervisor of thejr return. Section 5. Official time wiU be granted when necessary to bring about pro~pt disposition of a complaint or grievance. The union is i.illthorized to vi~it other work ~rea5.Prjor to his/hcr a. discussion with an employee in another shop, office, or work area, the Union representative will notify the employee'& ~upervisor by telepbone or in person. The supervisor will make the employee available at a mutually agreed upon time. In such circumstances, the Union repre...entativewill be infOmJed when the employee will be available for discussion. This activity will be conducted without 10s5 payor benefits to of the employee and the representative. Section 6. The Employer agreesto notify the Union of any formal mcetiI1g5with unit employees. ~ection7. The Union ~hall have the opportunity to bc repre~ented at any examination of an employee in the unit by a representative of the Employer, jn connection with an investigation. if the employee reasonably believes the examination may result in disciplinary action against the employee and the employee requests I:epresentation. Through an annual posting rcquirement, the Employcr agrees to infonn cmployees of their Weingarten rights- The Employer shall allow up to 24 hoursl for the employee to obtain an nvailable Union repl:esentative. Telephonic representation may be allowed if necessary. Section 8. a. The Union is entitled to data and information required to perform it~ representationalduties as provided in Section 711.4(b)(4) of the Statute. Managementwill provide accessto all publications and proposed new agency regulations or proposed changesthereto, to the Local Presiden~. b. Section 9. Existing emp1oyeelmanagement past practices and rclationships, as 'they affect the terms and conditions of employment, will not be altered or superceded Iwithout negotiations exceptas specifically provided in this Agrecmcnt. I Scction 1Q. Official time is 1)otauthorized for those ac[ivities conceroed with organizing efforts and the internal managementof tbe labor organization. Any activitie5 perfOnT:Ied an by employee relating to the internr:ubu~inessof a labor organization (intluding sol..icj.tation of member5hip,elect;otlS the employee is jn a non-duty status. be performed during the timeof labor organization officials. and collection of dues) 5haJ.1 I Section 11. a. Union officers and stewards who can reasonably be spared will be granted reasonable amount~ of official time to attend AFGE or other labor-management sponsored trainjng of mutual benefit to the parties, available at no cost to the .Employer, either for tuition or for travel and per diem., subject to operational requircments. Such training roar take the form of seminars, conferences, college sponsoredcou-rges and other state and local government offerings. b. The Employer agrees to authorize two (2) days official time to one (1) Union Representative oncc every thrce years to attend the Union convelJtion. The Employer and the Union recognize that training provjded at'such event~ is in the interest of both parties. i c The Union will provide management a copy of the training agenda prior to the approval of official time. Section12. a) The Union Prcsidcnt may perfofnl the duties of a steward at any park in the bargaining unit, at no additional travcl or per diem costs [0 the Employer. Tn accordance with the provisions of this Article and upon request to the Labor Relatious Specialist (Northeast Region), official time for other stcward~ or officers may be permitted OJ)an as nccded basis at no additjonal travel or per diem cO5t~ the Employer. to In the interest of ~aving timc and money, the Employcr and the Unjou agree that the use of other media (e.g., conference calls, e'-mail) will be used whenever possible. I b) c) Section13. The Union Treasurer shall bc granted l"easonablc official for compJeting mandatory U.S. Department of Labor repons/audits. !