DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE LOS ANGELES DISTRICT OFFICE LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA AND CHAPTERS 15, 107, 198, AND 233, NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

 

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

LOS ANGELES DISTRICT OFFICE

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

AND

CHAPTERS 15, 107, 198, AND 233,

NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION

 

DECISION AND ORDER

    Chapters 15, 107, 198, and 233, National Treasury Employees Union (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 Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Los Angeles District Office, Los Angeles, California (Employer).

    After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel determined that the impasse, concerning steward time forms, should be resolved on the basis of written submissions from the parties, with the Panel to take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse. Written submissions were made pursuant to this procedure and the Panel has considered the entire record.

BACKGROUND

    The Employer's mission is to administer the Nation's tax laws. The Union represents approximately 2,400 employees in a nationwide consolidated unit of about 35,000. They hold positions such as attorney, clerk, secretary, revenue agent and revenue officer. The parties are covered by a collective-bargaining agreement that will expire on June 30, 1994.

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

    The parties basically disagree over what form stewards should fill out when reporting use of official and bank time.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

1. The Employer's Position

    In essence, the Employer proposes to maintain the status quo, which is to use the form labeled "Steward Time", as incorporated in its proposed memorandum of agreement. This form requires stewards "to furnish the time they will be away from the work area, state where they will be and give a telephone number where they can be located. When they have completed their Union duties, the steward checks in and indicates to the manager the actual amount of time used and whether it is bank or official time." This has been used successfully for the last 4 years. Requiring stewards to provide information in writing in advance avoids unnecessary confusion and disputes over accuracy of time reporting. Use of current form also effectuates compliance with master agreement. By making stewards report use of official time in writing, less likely a mistake will occur. It will discourage abuse of official time. Same form is used in the Sacremento office without a problem. This supports its position that problem regarding the accountability of stewards in their use of bank time would be prevented.

2. The Union's Position

    Essentially, the Union proposes that Form #6583, "Monthly Report of Steward's/Official Use of Bank and Official Time," be used to account for official and bank time, instead of the current form. The Union maintains that Form #6583 is used in most other IRS District Offices and should be used in the Los Angeles District Offices. The current form being used is burdensome and a waste of Government resources, while Form #6583 is not. Union survey indicates that local management many times is not even requiring use of the Steward Time forms for check-in/check-out purposes. Most supervisors only require the steward to put down amount of official time used anyway. Also, its proposal may be more consistent with the parties' master agreement since it does not state that stewards should account for the use of official time in writing.

CONCLUSIONS

    Having considered the evidence and arguments on the merits of the respective positions, we shall order the Union to withdraw its proposal. In this regard, we are persuaded that any time savings and enhanced productivity of individual employees which would occur under its proposals are likely to be minimal. In our view, the Union has failed to demonstrate a need to change the current practice. The current method of recording official and bank time appears to be working adequately. While the form the Union wishes to use may reduce the amount spent on the task of recording time, we believe that it is a less accurate system. Although the Union has noted that other groups of employees are not required to fill out the forms completely, we believe that under the circumstances of this case, no change is warranted. Furthermore, we have are sensitive to the Employer's concerns over the accountability of the use of official time. Finding no basis for adopting the Union's proposals, we shall order that the status quo be maintained.

ORDER

    Pursuant to the authority vested in it by, 5 U.S.C. § 7119, the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and because of the failure of the parties to resolve their dispute during the course of proceedings instituted pursuant to 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.

Linda A. Lafferty

Executive Director