United States of America
BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL
|In the Matter of
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE
11TH CIVIL ENGINEERING SQUADRON
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, ALASKA
LOCAL 1668, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
Case No. 93 FSIP 223
DECISION AND ORDER
Local 1668, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), 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 Air Force, Elmendorf Air Force Base, 11th Civil Engineering Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska (Employer).
After investigation of the request for assistance concerning a 4-10 compressed work schedule (CWS), the Panel directed the parties to participate in an informal conference with Panel Member John R. Van de Water for the purpose of resolving the outstanding issue in dispute. The parties were advised that if no settlement were reached, Member Van de Water would notify the Panel of the status of the dispute, including the final offers of the parties and his recommendations for resolving the issue. Following consideration of this information, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse, including the issuance of a binding decision.
Accordingly, Mr. Van de Water met with the parties on November 10, 1993, at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. During the informal conference, the parties were unable to resolve the issue. He has reported to the Panel, and it has now considered the entire record.
The 11th Civil Engineering Squadron's mission is to perform maintenance work and environmental clean-up throughout Alaska and the Pacific Rim. The Union represents a bargaining unit of approximately 1,000 General Schedule (GS) and Wage Grade (WG) employees. Most are WG employees who hold positions such as carpenter, electrician, laborer, and plumber. The dispute centers on 29 WG employees who, pursuant to a survey, responded that they would prefer to be on a 4-10 CWS. But the dispute mainly affects those employees who are not required to travel as part of their job. The parties' collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) was to expire on December 31, 1986, but due to an automatic annual renewal clause, remains in effect until a successor is implemented.
ISSUE AT IMPASSE
The issue concerns whether the option of a 4-10 CWS should be substituted for the 5-4/9 plan or the status quo be maintained.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
1. The Union's Position
A 4-10 compressed work schedule should be implemented for a 6-month trial period. In its view, significant cost savings and increased productivity would occur if employees worked an extra hour per day. Furthermore, other units at Elmendorf AFB have a 4-10, and customers from different time zones would benefit from increased service. Additionally, air pollution and traffic congestion would be reduced because employees would drive their cars 1 less day to work. Also, the employee survey indicates that 29 out of 39 bargaining-unit members want such a schedule, thus morale would be strengthened with its implementation. Lastly, the Employer's cost analysis is "arbitrary and fictitious" and should not be used to deny employees a 4-10.
2. The Employer's Position
The Employer proposes that the status quo be maintained; that is, the 5-4/9 schedule be retained.
The Employer opposes establishing a 4-10 contending that extensive studies indicate that such a schedule would increase costs and decrease productivity. In this regard, increased supervision would be required to operate a 4-10. Furthermore, their scope of work takes employees throughout Alaska and the Pacific Rim, subjecting them to different time zones and seriously hampers communications as it is. An extra hour would increase problems and thus customer dissatisfaction. Also, increasing normal work hours even an additional hour would increase fatigue and potential accidents. Finally, although retention of the 5-4/9 plan subjects it to increased indirect costs over a standard 8-hour schedule, it is willing to provide it for its employees, rather than implement a 4-10, which its statistics indicate would more than double the organization's added indirect costs.
Having considered the evidence and arguments presented, we shall order the Union to withdraw its proposal. In this regard, we find that it is likely that a substantial negative impact would arise from a 4-10 schedule in the instant case. Further, the arguments presented by the Union concerning the benefits which it contends would accrue from a 4-10 are insufficient to warrant a change from the status quo. Although we are mindful that a majority of the bargaining unit prefers such a schedule, the retention of the present 5-4/9 plan should alleviate some of these concerns, and is a meaningful accommodation in the circumstances of this case. Moreover, this should serve to contain costs at a time when Congress is further reducing the Department of Defense budget.
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 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
December 17, 1993