Veterans Administration Hospital, Tucson, Arizona (Activity) and Nurses' Commission on Collective Bargaining, Arizona Nurses Association (Labor Organization/Petitioner)

 



[ v04 p122 ]
04:0122(21)CU
The decision of the Authority follows:


 4 FLRA No. 21
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL,
 TUSCON, ARIZONA
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NURSES' COMMISSION ON COLLECTIVE BARGAINING,
 ARIZONA NURSES ASSOCIATION
 Labor Organization/Petitioner
 
                                            Case No. 8-CU-14
 
                    DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNIT
 
    THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY PURSUANT TO THE REGIONAL
 DIRECTOR'S ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE TO THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2429.1 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS
 OF THE AUTHORITY.
 
    UPON THE ENTIRE RECORD IN THIS CASE, INCLUDING THE PARTIES'
 STIPULATIONS AND BRIEFS SUBMITTED BY THE PETITIONER AND THE ACTIVITY,
 THE AUTHORITY FINDS:  /1/ THE NURSES' COMMISSION ON COLLECTIVE
 BARGAINING, ARIZONA, NURSES ASSOCIATION (ANA) SEEKS TO CLARIFY AN
 EXISTING EXCLUSIVELY RECOGNIZED UNIT OF PROFESSIONAL REGISTERED NURSES
 AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER, TUCSON, ARIZONA, SO AS TO
 INCLUDE EMPLOYEES CLASSIFIED AS NURSING HOME CASE UNIT SUPERVISOR,
 NURSING CARE SUPERVISORS, OPERATING ROOM HEAD NURSE, AND WARD HEAD
 NURSES, CONTENDING THAT THESE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT SUPERVISORS WITHIN THE
 MEANING OF SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.  THE ACTIVITY CONTENDS
 THAT THE INCUMBENTS IN THE SUBJECT CLASSIFICATION ARE SUPERVISORS WITHIN
 THE MEANING OF SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE AND, ON THIS BASIS,
 OPPOSES THEIR INCLUSION IN THE CERTIFIED UNIT.  SECTION 7103(A)(10)
 DEFINES SUPERVISOR AS FOLLOWS:
 
    "SUPERVISOR" MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYED BY AN AGENCY HAVING
 AUTHORITY IN THE INTEREST OF
 
    THE AGENCY TO HIRE, DIRECT, ASSIGN, PROMOTE, REWARD, TRANSFER,
 FURLOUGH, LAYOFF, RECALL,
 
    SUSPEND, DISCIPLINE, OR REMOVE EMPLOYEES, TO ADJUST THEIR GRIEVANCES,
 OR TO EFFECTIVELY
 
    RECOMMEND SUCH ACTION, IF THE EXERCISE OF THE AUTHORITY IS NOT MERELY
 ROUTINE OR CLERICAL IN
 
    NATURE BUT REQUIRES THE CONSISTENT EXERCISE OF INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT,
 EXCEPT THAT, WITH RESPECT
 
    TO ANY UNIT WHICH INCLUDES ONLY THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO DEVOTE A
 PREPONDERANCE OF THEIR
 
    EMPLOYMENT TIME TO EXERCISING SUCH AUTHORITY;
 
    THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTER, TUSCON, IS A GENERAL
 MEDICAL AND SURGICAL FACILITY EMPLOYING APPROXIMATELY 950 FULL AND
 PART-TIME EMPLOYEES.  NURSING SERVICE, ITSELF, ENCOMPASSES 20
 OPERATIONAL AREAS, EMPLOYING 144 REGISTERED NURSES AND 97 VOCATIONAL
 NURSES, NURSING ASSISTANTS, AND SECRETARIES.  INCLUDED IN THE 144
 REGISTERED NURSES ARE 13 HEAD NURSES, ONE NURSING HOME CASE UNIT
 SUPERVISOR, THREE NURSING CASE SUPERVISORS (DAY, EVENING, AND NIGHT) AND
 ONE HEAD NURSE-OPERATING AND RECOVERY ROOM.  /2/
 
    NURSING HOME CARE UNIT SUPERVISOR
 
    THE NURSING HOME CARE UNIT SUPERVISOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE
 ADMINISTRATION OF THE NURSING HOME CARE UNIT.  THE UNIT PROVIDES NURSING
 CASE FOR LONG TERM PATIENTS, RATHER THAN MEDICAL TREATMENT.  THE RECORD
 REVEALS THAT THE NURSING HOME CARE UNIT SUPERVISOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
 THE TOTAL ADMINISTRATION OF THE UNIT, AND IS AUTHORIZED TO ASSIGN STAFF
 NURSES IN THE UNIT TO THEIR SPECIFIC TOURS OF DUTY AND OVERSEE AND
 DIRECT THE NURSES IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR ASSIGNMENTS.  THIS
 EMPLOYEE IS ALSO THE PRIMARY RATING OFFICIAL IN THE PREPARATION OF
 PROFICIENCY REPORTS ON THE STAFF WORKING IN THE NURSING HOME CARE UNIT,
 AND HAS THE AUTHORITY TO GRANT OR DENY LEAVE, TO INITIATE DISCIPLINARY
 ACTIONS, AND TO SETTLE GRIEVANCES.
 
    THE RECORD REVEALS THAT MOST OF THE NURSING HOME CARE UNIT
 SUPERVISOR'S TIME IS DEVOTED TO ADMINISTERING THE UNIT, I.E., ASSIGNING,
 OVERSEEING, AND DIRECTING THE NURSING STAFF WORKING IN THE HOME CARE
 UNIT, RATHER THAN PERSONALLY PARTICIPATING IN DIRECT PATIENT CARE.
 
    UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT THE EMPLOYEE
 CLASSIFIED AS NURSING HOME CARE UNIT SUPERVISOR IS A SUPERVISOR WITHIN
 THE MEANING OF SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.  IN THIS REGARD, THE
 RECORD DISCLOSES THAT SUCH EMPLOYEE CONSISTENTLY EXERCISES SUPERVISORY
 AUTHORITY UTILIZING INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT, AND DEVOTES A PREPONDERANCE OF
 EMPLOYMENT TIME TO SUPERVISORY FUNCTIONS.  ACCORDINGLY, THE AUTHORITY
 FINDS THE NURSING HOME CARE UNIT SUPERVISOR TO BE A SUPERVISOR WITHIN
 THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE, AND WILL EXCLUDE THIS CLASSIFICATION FROM
 THE BARGAINING UNIT.
 
    NURSING CARE SUPERVISOR
 
    THE RECORD REVEALS THAT THE DAY NURSING CARE SUPERVISOR IS AUTHORIZED
 TO PERFORM THE FOLLOWING FUNCTIONS:  APPROVE PROFICIENCY REPORTS MADE
 OUT ON ALL STAFF NURSES UNDER HER SUPERVISION;  RATE HEAD NURSES;
 APPROVE TIME SCHEDULING;  REASSIGN NURSING PERSONNEL TO DIFFERENT UNITS;
  INITIATE DISCIPLINE AND RESOLVE GRIEVANCES AT THE SECOND LEVEL OF
 PROCESSING;  INITIATE PROMOTION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEAD NURSES, AND
 CONCURS IN PROMOTION DECISIONS FOR STAFF NURSES;  AUTHORIZES LEAVE
 REQUESTS FROM HEAD NURSES.  IN ADDITION, THE DAY NURSING CARE SUPERVISOR
 CONDUCTS MONTHLY GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS WITH HEAD NURSES AND HAS
 AT LEAST ONE DAILY CONTACT WITH EVERY HEAD NURSE.  THESE MEETINGS ARE
 TWOFOLD;  (1) TO COMMUNICATE CHANGES IN MANAGEMENT POLICIES AND
 PRACTICES AND/OR (2) TO DISCUSS PROBLEM SOLVING METHODS REGARDING
 PATIENT CARE.  THE PARTIES HAVE STIPULATED THAT THE EVENING AND NIGHT
 NURSING CASE SUPERVISORS POSSESS AND EXERCISE THE SAME AUTHORITY AS THE
 DAY NURSING CARE SUPERVISOR.
 
    IT IS APPARENT FROM THE RECORD THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ALLOTMENT OF THE
 NURSING CARE SUPERVISOR'S TIME IS SPENT IN A SUPERVISORY AND MANAGERIAL
 CAPACITY.  THE NURSING CARE SUPERVISOR'S PRIMARY CONTACT WITH PATIENTS
 IS CONFINED TO HER SUPERVISORY DUTIES, IN THAT SHE SCRUTINIZES THE
 PERFORMANCE OF THE NURSING STAFF IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES.
 OTHERWISE, THE NURSING CARE SUPERVISOR IS REQUIRED TO PERFORM DIRECT
 PATIENT CARE ONLY IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.
 
    BASED ON THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT THE DAY,
 EVENING, AND NIGHT NURSING CARE SUPERVISORS ARE SUPERVISORS WITHIN THE
 MEANING OF SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.  THUS, AS NOTED ABOVE,
 THE NURSING CARE SUPERVISORS ARE AUTHORIZED AND DO PERFORM NUMEROUS
 DUTIES WHICH ARE INDICATIVE OF SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY, REQUIRING THE
 CONSISTENT UTILIZATION OF INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT, AND DEVOTE A
 PREPONDERANCE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT TIME TO PERFORMING THESE SUPERVISORY
 FUNCTIONS.  ACCORDINGLY, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT THE DAY AND EVENING
 AND NIGHT NURSING CARE SUPERVISORS AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
 MEDICAL CENTER, TUCSON, ARE SUPERVISORS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE
 STATUTE AND WILL EXCLUDE THESE POSITIONS FROM THE BARGAINING UNIT.
 
    HEAD NURSE-OPERATING AND RECOVERY ROOM
 
    THE RECORD REVEALS THAT THE HEAD NURSE IN CHARGE OF THE OPERATING AND
 RECOVERY ROOM OF THE MEDICAL CENTER HAS SIGNIFICANT SUPERVISORY
 AUTHORITY.  DUTIES INCLUDE:  ASSIGNMENT OF STAFF NURSES TO TOURS OF
 DUTY;  CONDUCTING PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS OF SUBORDINATE PERSONNEL;
 RECEIVING AND ADJUSTING GRIEVANCES;  INITIATING DISCIPLINE;  AUTHORIZING
 WITHIN-GRADE SALARY INCREASES;  INTERVIEWING AND EFFECTIVELY
 RECOMMENDING APPOINTMENT OF APPLICANTS;  REASSIGNMENT OF STAFF PERSONNEL
 FROM UNIT TO UNIT;  TRAINING STAFF;  APPROVING LEAVE AND VACATIONS.
 
    THE RECORD CLEARLY INDICATES THAT A VAST PORTION OF THE EMPLOYMENT
 TIME OF THE HEAD NURSE IN CHARGE OF THE OPERATING ROOM IS SPENT IN
 CARRYING OUT SUPERVISORY FUNCTIONS. THE HEAD NURSE, OPERATING ROOM AND
 RECOVERY ROOM, IS SELDOM INVOLVED IN DIRECT PATIENT CARE.  RATHER, THE
 HEAD NURSE SERVES A PRIMARILY MANAGERIAL/SUPERVISORY FUNCTION IN THE
 OPERATING AND RECOVERY ROOM.
 
    BASED ON ALL THE ABOVE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT THE
 HEAD NURSE-OPERATING AND RECOVERY ROOM IS A SUPERVISOR WITHIN THE
 MEANING OF SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.  THIS EMPLOYEE IS
 AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM, AND DOES PERFORM, SUPERVISORY DUTIES INVOLVING
 THE CONSISTENT USE OF INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT, AND THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE
 DUTIES OCCUPIES A PREPONDERANCE OF HER EMPLOYMENT TIME.  ACCORDINGLY,
 THE AUTHORITY WILL EXCLUDE THE POSITION OF HEAD NURSE-OPERATING AND
 RECOVERY ROOM FROM THE BARGAINING UNIT.
 
    HEAD NURSE-WARD
 
    THE RECORD REVEALS THAT HEAD NURSES IN CHARGE OF WORDS PERFORM
 SUPERVISORY FUNCTIONS FOR LIMITED PERIODS OF TIME.  WARD HEAD NURSES ARE
 RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ASSIGNMENT OF TEAM LEADERS ON THEIR WARDS.  THEY ARE
 ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR SUBMITTING PROFICIENCY EVALUATIONS, INITIATING
 DISCIPLINARY ACTION, AND RECOMMENDING PERFORMANCE AWARDS FOR NURSES
 WORKING ON THEIR WARDS.  WARD HEAD NURSES ALSO ARE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT
 TIME SCHEDULES AND ASSIGNMENTS FOR THEIR NURSES.  HOWEVER, THE RECORD
 CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THAT A PREPONDERANCE OF WARD HEAD NURSES' EMPLOYMENT
 TIME IS DEVOTED TO DIRECT PATIENT CARE, AND NOT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF
 SUPERVISORY FUNCTIONS.  IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE MAJOR PART
 OF A WARD HEAD NURSE'S EMPLOYMENT TIME IS UTILIZED IN DIRECTLY AIDING
 AND SERVICING PATIENTS.
 
    ACCORDINGLY, NOTING THE FACT THAT THE DEFINITION OF SUPERVISOR UNDER
 THE STATUTE PROVIDES THAT IN UNITS WHICH INCLUDE NURSES, A SUPERVISOR IS
 ONE WHO DEVOTES A PREPONDERANCE OF HIS OR HER TIME TO SUPERVISORY
 FUNCTIONS, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT WARD HEAD NURSES ARE NOT SUPERVISORS
 WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE, AND THEREFORE WILL INCLUDE EMPLOYEES
 IN THESE CLASSIFICATIONS WITHIN THE BARGAINING UNIT.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT THE UNIT SOUGHT TO BE CLARIFIED IN WHICH
 EXCLUSIVE RECOGNITION WAS GRANTED TO THE NURSES' COMMISSION ON
 COLLECTIVE