Department of the Navy, Naval Weapons Station, Concord, California, A/SLMR No. 1115

 



[ v01 p133 ]
01:0133(13)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 1 FLRA No. 13
                                            APRIL 9, 1979
 
 MR. WILFRED J. SCOTT
 PRESIDENT, LOCAL 1931
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
 P.O. BOX 5548
 CONCORD, CALIFORNIA 94524
 
                       RE:  DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, NAVAL WEAPONS 
                            STATION, CONCORD, CALIFORNIA, A/SLMR No. 
                            1115, FLRC No. 78A-137
 
 DEAR MR. SCOTT:
 
    THE AUTHORITY HAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED YOUR PETITION FOR REVIEW OF
 THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION IN THE ABOVE-ENTITLED CASE.
 
    IN THIS CASE, THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL
 1931, AFL-CIO (THE UNION) FILED TWO UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE COMPLAINTS
 AGAINST THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, NAVAL WEAPONS STATION, CONCORD,
 CALIFORNIA (THE ACTIVITY).  THE COMPLAINTS ALLEGED, IN EFFECT, THAT THE
 ACTIVITY VIOLATED SECTION 19(A)(1) AND (6) OF THE ORDER BY FAILING TO
 CONSULT, CONFER OR NEGOTIATE BEFORE ISSUING A LETTER WHICH UNILATERALLY
 ALTERED A PAST PRACTICE WITH RESPECT TO THE AMOUNT OF OFFICIAL TIME
 PERMITTED THE UNION'S PRESIDENT IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS REPRESENTATIONAL
 RESPONSIBILITIES.  IT WAS FURTHER ALLEGED THAT THE AGENCY VIOLATED
 SECTION 19(A)(1) AND (2) OF THE ORDER BY CHARGING THE UNION'S PRESIDENT
 WITH ANNUAL LEAVE FOR PERIODS OF TIME USED IN EXCESS OF A SPECIFIED
 LIMITATION.
 
    AS FOUND BY THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, THE UNION AND THE ACTIVITY WERE
 PARTIES TO A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT WHICH PROVIDED THAT THE
 UNION PRESIDENT COULD USE A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF OFFICIAL TIME TO
 CONDUCT UNION-MANAGEMENT BUSINESS.  /1/ DURING THE TERM OF THAT
 AGREEMENT, THE ACTIVITY SENT A LETTER TO THE UNION PRESIDENT, AN
 EMPLOYEE AT THE ACTIVITY, STATING THAT "(I)T HAS BEEN PAST PRACTICE . .
 . TO ALLOW THE UNION PRESIDENT APPROXIMATELY 25% OF HIS TIME AS
 'REASONABLE' UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE BASIC AGREEMENT FOR CONDUCT OF
 AUTHORIZED UNION ACTIVITIES" AND REQUESTING THAT THE USE OF OFFICIAL
 TIME BE LIMITED TO 25% OF THE UNION PRESIDENT'S WORKWEEK THEREAFTER.  IT
 WAS FURTHER FOUND THAT THE ACTIVITY SUBSEQUENTLY CHARGED THE UNION
 PRESIDENT ANNUAL LEAVE FOR TIME SPENT ON UNION-MANAGEMENT BUSINESS IN
 EXCESS OF 25% OFFICIAL TIME.
 
    THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, IN AGREEMENT WITH THE ALJ'S CONCLUSION,
 FOUND THAT DISMISSAL OF THE UNION'S COMPLAINTS WAS WARRANTED.  IN SO
 CONCLUDING, HE STATED:
 
    ESSENTIALLY, WHAT IS INVOLVED HEREIN ARE THE CONFLICTING CONTENTIONS
 OF THE PARTIES AS TO
 
    THE PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE PROVISION OF THEIR NEGOTIATED
 AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING
 
    "REASONABLE" OFFICIAL TIME FOR THE (UNION'S) PRESIDENT OR HIS DULY
 AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE
 
    TO ENGAGE IN REPRESENTATIONAL ACTIVITIES.  IN THIS CONTEXT, I FIND
 THAT A RESOLUTION OF THE
 
    ISSUES PRESENTED HEREIN REQUIRES AN INTERPRETATION OF THE PARTIES'
 NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT IN
 
    RELATION TO THE USE OF OFFICIAL TIME.
 
    IT HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY HELD THAT WHERE A MATTER INVOLVES DIFFERING
 AND ARGUABLE
 
    INTERPRETATIONS OF A NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT, AS OPPOSED TO A CLEAR,
 UNILATERAL BREACH OF THE
 
    AGREEMENT, SUCH A MATTER IS A PROPER SUBJECT FOR RESOLUTION UNDER A
 CONTRACTUAL
 
    GRIEVANCE-ARBITRATION PROCEDURE, RATHER THAN THROUGH THE UNFAIR LABOR
 PRACTICE PROCEDURES OF
 
    THE EXECUTIVE ORDER.  /2/ ACCORDINGLY, AS I FIND THE DISPUTE HEREIN
 TO BE A MATTER OF
 
    CONTRACT INTERPRETATION, AND AS, IN MY VIEW, THE (ACTIVITY'S) CONDUCT
 DID NOT CONSTITUTE A
 
    CLEAR, UNILATERAL BREACH OF THE AGREEMENT, I SHALL ORDER THAT THE
 COMPLAINTS HEREIN BE
 
    DISMISSED.
 
    IN THE UNION'S PETITION FOR REVIEW, IT IS CONTENDED, IN ESSENCE, THAT
 THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION IS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS IN THAT
 IT DOES NOT ADDRESS THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE COMPLAINTS.  IN THIS
 REGARD, IT IS ASSERTED THAT THE ISSUES IN THIS CASE ARE THE AGENCY'S
 IMPLEMENTATION OF A UNILATERAL CHANGE IN PAST PRACTICES BY IMPOSING THE
 25% LIMITATION ON THE UNION PRESIDENT'S USE OF OFFICIAL TIME FOR
 LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS AND BY ASSESSING ANNUAL LEAVE FOR TIME USED
 IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT