DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
MARE ISLAND NAVAL SHIPYARD
Local No. 5, Planners, Estimators,
Progressmen, & Schedulers
Case No. 91 FSIP 252
Pursuant to a request from Local No. 5, Planners-Estimators, Progressmen & Schedulers Association, (Local No. 5 or Union) for Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) assistance in resolving a dispute involving the determination of the manner in which compensation would be allowed for days not worked as a result of a 4-day shutdown of the facility during the Christmas Holidays, the Panel directed that the matter should be resolved through a med-arb proceeding by a member of the Panel. The undersigned was assigned to carry out the decision of the Panel.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Mare Island Naval Shipyard (Employer) is an installation located at the outskirts of Vallejo, California, responsible for the repair and modification of Naval ships, primarily submarines. It employs some 4,000 civilian workers. The Union represents some 280 employees as planners, estimators, progressmen, and schedulers; some 3,500 others are represented by the Federal Employees Metal Trades Council. Still others are represented by (1) Local 25, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), 500 professional employees; (2) Local 11, IFPTE, 1,200 nonprofessional, General Schedule employees; and (3) Local 48, International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), 60 firefighters.
In April of 1991, a decision was made by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) (Emp. Br. 1, encl 1) to close this facility, along with 7 other shipyards under its command, for the Christmas season. The original plan was to close for 7 workdays, but after negotiations with the unions involved, the number of workdays of shutdown was reduced to 4. Agreement was reached with all except Local No. 5.1 While the provisions of the various contracts were not identical, they all provided, substantially, what the Employer has offered Local No. 5. The essentials of all agreements provide: a 4-day shutdown and those employees who wish to use accumulated annual leave or compensatory time may do so unless prohibited by law. Those who do not wish to do so may apply for and receive leave
without pay or Religious Compensatory Time; the latter means they could receive their pay and make up the lost time at a later day. A limit, March 31, 1992, was set as the time the employee would have to make up the time or lose the advance pay. The Employer has also proposed that those newer employees who have not earned sufficient leave would be permitted to work at whatever work the Employer could provide, if they wished to do so.
The demand of Local No. 5 was that the employees be required to use only 2 days of annual leave and that the other 2 days would be paid as Administrative Leave for which no make-up would be required. The Employer has rejected that proposal. The demand for the 2 days of Administrative Leave in lieu of other proposals offered by the Employer is the only issue unresolved.
The parties met with the undersigned as Mediator-Arbitrator at the base at 11:20 a.m., November 13, 1991. Every effort was made to determine whether or not there was any possibility of a compromise that could bring about a settlement. There seemed to be none. At the conclusion, the Union representative, in effect, stated that his Local had taken such a firm stand on the issue of the Administrative Leave that he could not agree to anything less. This seemed to confirm this conclusion that there was no basis for settlement. The Employer's representatives stated that they could not, in view of the agreements arrived at with all the other unions, grant this Local something that they had not given to the
1 Negotiations were unnecessary with IAFF because firefighters must continue to work due to their function (Emp. Br. 2).
others. I, therefore, advised the parties that I would exercise my responsibility as the Arbitrator and make a decision. I asked if the parties wanted to file briefs. The Union said it would, so I granted each party 1 week to present a brief. I have now read the briefs, considered the entire record, and have concluded that the issue which I must decide is: HAS LOCAL NO. 5, PRESENTED ANY EVIDENCE THAT WOULD JUSTIFY A DECISION BY THE ARBITRATOR THAT WOULD PROVIDE GREATER BENEFITS THAN THOSE WHICH HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED BY UNIONS REPRESENTING THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE BARGAINING-UNIT EMPLOYEES ON THE BASE?
The Union representatives argued that this is a separate bargaining unit, and therefore they are not in any way bound by what the other unions negotiated. They stated the other agreements were settled and locked in, and therefore the other unions were in no position to complain if the Employer decided to make a different agreement with Local No. 5. They presented no information that the impact of the shut-down was any different for the employees represented by their Union than for those in the other bargaining units. They accused the Employer of not acting in good faith because it would not agree to the additional conditions. Furthermore, the Union questioned the true reason for the shut-down inasmuch as the Employer had not provided documentation of potential energy savings (Un. Br. 2, encl b 3 and 4). They agreed, however, that the Employer was within its rights in making the shut-down. Neither did they question the Employer's charge that it could not grant the many requests for annual leave at Holiday time, and still maintain a feasible operation in terms of production. The Union representatives stood on the position that, because theirs was a separate bargaining unit, they were entitled to a different provision in their contract if they wanted it. The Union discounted completely the statement of the Employer that to grant better conditions to Local No. 5 would have an unfavorable impact on future labor relations at the base.
The Employer based its position on the fact that it could not grant different conditions for different unions unless there were basic differences in need or conditions that would make the provisions of the agreements with the other unions more harsh on the members of Local No. 5 than on the members of other unions. It
answered the charge of the Union that it was not acting in good faith by stating that it had met with the Union to give it a chance to justify its demand, but that it had failed to do so.
It is the conclusion of the Arbitrator that the Employer's position is an equitable one. It has gone as far as it reasonably can, under the circumstances, in trying to provide options for the differing conditions of individual employees, to the end that the employees could receive their 4 days without seriously affecting their pay check. The views expressed by Local No. 5 were not in any way work-related, but arose from a difference of opinion as to the proper approach to accommodating the individual 'employees' needs. Thus, the Employer is justified in treating the problem on an overall basis by giving all employees a wide range of options to meet their own situations. As for those employees of various religious persuasions, they may request Religious Compensatory Time rather than use other forms of leave for such appropriate observances. This would permit them to conserve annual leave for the end-of-year shut-down if they wish to remain in a pay status.
I will therefore decide as follows:
The Union will accept the Employer's proposal. This will include the Employer's commitment that any options granted other unions in their agreements will be available to Local No. 5. The Union will withdraw its proposal.
November 27, 1991