11:0615(104)RA Document Number -- 1983 FLRAdec RA
[ v11 p615 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
11 FLRA NO. 104
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SERVICE MID-ATLANTIC REGIONAL OFFICE PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA Activity/Petitioner and LOCAL 2058, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Labor Organization Case No. 2-RA-3
Upon a petition duly filed under section 7111(b)(2) of the Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the Statute), a hearing was held before a hearing officer of the Authority. The hearing officer's rulings made at the hearing are free from prejudicial error and are hereby affirmed.
Upon the entire record in this case, including the parties' contentions, the Authority finds: As the result of a reorganization effective on May 31, 1981, the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS), an independent entity within the Department of the Interior, was abolished and its functions were transferred to the Petitioner, National Park Service (NPS). As a result of the transfer, the employees of the HCRS' Northeast Region were merged with the employees of the NPS, whose nonprofessional employees have been exclusively represented by Local 2058, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL - CIO (the Union) since July 29, 1970. The parties stipulated that the employees who were merged into the NPS share a community of interest with the employees in the unit exclusively represented by the Union, and that a single unit of the Petitioner's employees, including those formerly employed by the HCRS, would promote effective dealings with, and the efficiency of, the Petitioner's operations. The Petitioner asserts, however, that the merger and integration of the former HCRS employees into the NPS operation has had a substantial impact on the unit exclusively represented by the Union, and that it would therefore be inappropriate to conclude that the former HCRS employees have merely accreted into the Unit represented by the Union. Rather, the Petitioner suggests that the substantial impact of the reorganization on the NPS unit has resulted in the creation of a new unit with a different character, and that the employees therein should be given the option of determining [ v11 p615 ] whether they wish to be represented by the Union. Conversely, the Union contends that the NPS unit has remained substantially intact subsequent to the reorganization, and that the former HCRS employees have accreted thereto.
Given the parties' stipulation that a unit of all NPS nonprofessional employees is appropriate, the question before the Authority is whether or not there has been such a substantial change in the scope and character of the unit exclusively represented by the Union that a new unit has been created in which employees should vote on whether they wish to be represented by the Union. In support of its contention that the 1981 reorganization resulted in an entirely new organization with major personnel changes, the Petitioner points out that the Mid-Atlantic Region of the NPS is responsible only for NPS activities within a five state area (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware), while the functions acquired from HCRS encompass responsibility for a 13 state area (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, as well as the five states already under the NPS Mid-Atlantic Region). Within the five state area, the NPS is primarily responsible for the administration and management of facilities operated by the NPS. The functions of the former HCRS, which have been assigned to the new position of Associate Regional Director for External Affairs within NPS, are primarily concerned with assisting states, localities and private groups with planning for and managing recreational and historical facilities within their jurisdiction. The absorption of the former HCRS responsibilities resulted in the Petitioner's having far greater funds to administer (usually in grants), additional travel, and a large group of new employees (about half of those transferred) who are more policy oriented and less concerned as to how a specific piece of land is managed. These new employees acquired from the HCRS have a higher average General Schedule grade than the employees in the NPS.
The record establishes that all personnel policies and practices of NPS are centrally established by its Regional Director, and that all NPS employees (including those formerly employed by HCRS) now share the same conditions of employment, including areas of consideration for merit promotion and reduction-in-force (RIF) purposes. All of the Petitioner's employees are serviced by a common personnel office, and the Petitioner's labor relations office handles all necessary functions in that area. The record further indicates that there has been transfer and interchange between employees of the former HCRS and the Petitioner, and that the former HCRS employees have been thoroughly integrated into the operations of the NPS. While the reorganization may have had a significant impact on the scope of the responsibilities of the Petitioner's management officials, the evidence does not establish that the nature of the unit represented by the Union has been significantly altered. [ v11 p616 ]
Based upon the foregoing, the Authority concludes, in agreement with the Union, that the former HCRS employees have accreted to the unit represented by the Union, that all of the nonprofessional employees of the Petitioner share a clear and identifiable community of interest and that, following the reorganization to consolidate the functions of the former HCRS under the Petitioner, the unit exclusively represented by the Union continues to promote effective dealings and efficiency of agency operations. Therefore, the unit is appropriate for the purpose of exclusive recognition. Accordingly, the Authority shall clarify the unit of nonprofessional NPS employees represented exclusively by the Union to include therein all eligible employees transferred to the Petitioner from the HCRS. See Department of the Navy, Naval Supply Center, Oakland, California, 5 FLRA No. 103 (1981), and Department of the Navy, Navy Civilian Personnel