Section 6

All timeframes under this article may be modified by mutual consent.

Appendix A

Ground Rules--Management Initiated Changes

I. Purpose

The following ground rules apply to all midterm bargaining entered into as a result of management-initiated changes and any corresponding obligation to bargain over such changes under 5 U.S.C. 71 of the statute.

These ground rules supplement the procedure set forth in this agreement, and apply to all levels of negotiations as delegated in Articles 4 and 30. Absent mutual consent, no other ground rules will be negotiated at any    level.

II. Briefing Sessions

Either party may request a briefing session to explore or explain the change and its impact on unit employees. This session may be scheduled in advance of the start of actual negotiations, or as a part of the time allotted for face-to-face consultations and/or bargaining.  Where the negotiators are geographically separated, the parties will normally use telephone capabilities.

III. Arrangements

A. Negotiations will be held in a suitable meeting room provided by the Employer at a site determined by the Employer.

B. For National SSA and national component (other than Local 1923) bargaining held at Headquarters, Baltimore, Maryland, the Employer will furnish the Union negotiating team a caucus room which is in close proximity to the negotiation room and which will provide privacy. At other levels, adequate space (a private office, where available) which will    ensure privacy will be provided.

The Employer will also provide the Union negotiating team with customary and routine services, i.e., office supplies, typewriter, telephone, tables and chairs, and access to photocopy equipment.  As needed, access to the FTS