15:0250(48)CU - Tick Eradication Program, Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agriculture and AFGE Local Union 3106 -- 1984 FLRAdec RP
[ v15 p250 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
15 FLRA No. 48 TICK ERADICATION PROGRAM, VETERINARY SERVICES ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE /1/ Petitioner and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES LOCAL UNION 3106, AFL-CIO Labor Organization Case No. 6-CU-30005 DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNIT Upon a petition duly filed with the Authority 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 careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority finds: The American Federation of Government Employees, Local Union 3106, AFL-CIO (AFGE) was certified as the exclusive bargaining representative for a unit of all nonsupervisory Animal Health Technicians and Clerical Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Services, Tick Eradication Program, Laredo, Texas. Essentially, the petition seeks to clarify the bargaining unit status of Tom Deats, Animal Health Technician (Instruction), GS-704-09 who the Petitioner contends should be excluded from the unit based on the fact that he is either a management official, confidential employee, or an employee engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity. Thus, the Petitioner concluded that Deats does not have a clear and identifiable community of interest with the other bargaining unit employees and that his duties would result in a conflict of interest. Deats as the Activity's Safety and Training Officer reports directly to the Director of the Tick Eradication Program. He is responsible for conducting various training courses such as Tick Identification, Defensive Driving, First Aid, Pesticides and Equipment, and Dipping Tank Maintenance for GS-07 Tick Inspectors. In determining which courses to teach, Deats is advised by the Director of the Tick Eradication Program, the Director of Field Operations, and the Tick Inspectors' Supervisors as to the particular educational needs of the employees. While he does have some leeway in developing the courses to be taught, the subject matter of the courses is normally determined by his superiors or comes from established overseeing the Occupational Health and Safety of the Activity's employees. In this regard, he follows the procedures outlined in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Safety Manual in investigating problem areas and submits his reports to the Director with recommendations of what might be done to alleviate the problems. These recommendations are reviewed by the Director and others and may or may not be followed. He also is a member of several safety committees and councils which deal with safety matters on a state-wide level. The Authority finds that Deats is not a management official within the meaning of section 7103(a)(11) of the Statute. /2/ In the lead case of Department of the Navy, Automatic Data Processing Selection Office, 7 FLRA 172 (1981), the Authority interpreted the statutory definition of "management official" to include those individuals who: (1) create, establish or prescribe general principles, plans, or courses of action for an agency; (2) decide upon or settle upon general principles, plans or courses of action for an agency; or (3) bring about or obtain a result as to the adoption of general principles, plans or courses of action for an agency. Applying these criteria to the instant case, the Authority finds that Deats is a highly trained individual whose actions assist in implementing, as opposed to shaping, the Activity's policies. Thus, while the incumbent as the Activity's Training Officer does have some leeway in developing the courses to be taught, the courses and subject matter are determined by his superiors. Further, as the Activity's Safety Officer, while he is responsible for investigating safety problem areas, he does so within established procedures and his recommendations must be reviewed and approved by several levels of authority. It follows that Deats currently does not exercise duties or responsibilities which require or authorize him to formulate, determine, or influence the policies of the Activity within the meaning of section 7103(a)(11) of the Statute as interpreted by the Authority. Accordingly, the Authority finds that Deats is not a management official. Nor does the Authority find that Deats is either a confidential employee within the meaning of section 7103(a)(13) of the Statute, /3/ or an employee engaged in personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity within the meaning of section 7112(b)(3) of the Statute. In this regard, while the record establishes that Deats' supervisor, the Director of the Tick Eradication Program is engaged in Labor-Management Relations, there is no evidence to indicate that Deats serves in a confidential capacity to him. /4/ Further, the record indicates that although Deats is classified as the Activity's Training Officer, he actually functions as a training instructor with only superficial involvement in course development and no authority to perform formal employee evaluations. The record also indicates that Deats is not involved in any other manner with personnel work. Accordingly, the Authority finds that Deats is neither a confidential employee nor an employee engaged in personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity. Based on the above, the Authority finds that as Deats is neither a management official, confidential employee nor an employee engaged in personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity, his inclusion in the unit would not create a conflict of interest with his official duties. Further, relying on record evidence the Authority finds that Deats, with minor exceptions shares the same working conditions and is governed by the same personnel policies as other unit employees. Consequently, the Authority shall order that Deats be included in the certified bargaining unit. ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the unit sought to be clarified be, and it hereby is, clarified by including in said unit Tom Deats, Animal Health Technician (Instruction), GS-704-09. Issued, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1984 Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member Henry B. Frazier III, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ The name of the Petitioner appears as amended at the hearing. /2/ Section 7103(a)(11) of the Statute defines a "management official" as: . . . an individual employed by an agency in a position the duties and responsibilities of which require or authorize the individual to formulate, determine, or influence the policies of the agency(.) /3/ Section 7103(a)(13) of the Statute defines a "confidential employee" as: . . . an employee who acts in a confidential capacity with respect to an individual who formulates or effectuates management policies in the field of labor-management relations(.) /4/ Headquarters, 1947th Administrative Support Group, U.S. Air Force Washington, D.C., 14 FLRA No. 43, at p. 6 (1984) and Pennsylvania Army National Guard, 8 FLRA 691 (1982).