DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA and LOCAL 1570, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

United States of America

BEFORE THE FEDERAL SERVICE IMPASSES PANEL

 

In the Matter of

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS

FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA

and

LOCAL 1570, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO

Case No. 90 FSIP 28

 

DECISION AND ORDER

Local, 1570 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 section 7119 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute) between it and the Department of Justice, Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahassee, Florida (Employer).

After investigation of the request for assistance, the Panel directed the parties to meet informally with Staff Associate Namsoo M. Dunbar for the purpose of assisting them in resolving any outstanding issues. If no settlement were reached, he was to notify the Panel of the status of the dispute, including the parties' final offers and his recommendations for resolving the issues. Following consideration of this information, the Panel would take whatever action it deemed appropriate to resolve the impasse.

During negotiations, the parties reached a tentative agreement; however, it was not ratified by a quorum of the Union membership. On February 7, 1990, Mr. Dunbar met with the parties at the Employer's facility at Tallahassee, Florida. A second tentative agreement was reached during the meeting which also was subject to ratification. Subsequently, it too was not ratified and, therefore, the issue remains unresolved. Thereafter, Mr. Dunbar reported to the Panel, and it has now considered the entire record

 

BACKGROUND

The Employer's mission is to incarcerate persons convicted of Federal offenses. There are approximately 215 bargaining-unit employees at the Tallahassee institution. The majority are General Schedule employees holding positions such as correctional officer, counselor, teacher, treatment specialist, and clerical support personnel; there are also Wage Board employees who work as cooks, electricians, welders, and plumbers. All are part of a nationwide consolidated bargaining unit of approximately 10,000 employees covered by a master collective-bargaining agreement between the American Federation of Government Employees' Council of Prison Locals and the Federal Bureau of Prisons which expires on August 31, 1991. At the local level, the parties continue to operate under the terms and conditions of a supplemental agreement which was to expire on September 1, 1989.

The dispute herein arose as a result of negotiations over a new supplemental agreement. The parties were successful in reaching agreement on all provisions contained therein with the exception of the scheduling of annual leave. Although the impasse resulted from a dispute over how the approximately 95 correctional officers should schedule their annual leave, all bargaining-unit employees located at this facility would be covered by the scheduling procedure. Currently, all employees, by departments, schedule their earned and projected annual leave based strictly on their seniority status.(1)

ISSUE AT IMPASSE

The issue concerns the extent to which seniority should control the scheduling of earned and projected annual leave.

1. The Union's Position

The Union proposes that the current longstanding practice or selecting annual leave based strictly on seniority should be maintained. Under this procedure, the senior employee could select all of his or her earned and projected leave for the year, followed by the next most senior employee, in descending order to the junior employee. Normally, leave could not be taken in durations exceeding 2 consecutive weeks.

The Union contends that seniority is gained by all employees in an objective manner; as such, it alone should serve as the basis for determining which employees should have priority in selecting annual leave. Furthermore, the Union asserts that selecting when to use annual leave is one of the few conditions of employment where employees "enjoy a significant degree of control." All employees over time would enjoy enhanced scheduling-of-annual-leave rights by virtue of their increased seniority.

 

2. The Employer's Position

Under the Employer's proposal, annual leave would be selected in three rounds according to seniority. During the first round of selection, the senior employee could choose any 2 weeks, with the next most senior employee making the next selection. Selections would proceed by seniority in descending order to the junior employee. A second round then would progress starting again with the senior employee in which another 2 weeks of leave could be chosen