15:0855(161)CU - HHS, Region VI, Dallas, TX and NTEU and NTEU Chapter 219; HHS, Region VI, Dallas, TX and NTEU and NTEU Chapter 219 -- 1984 FLRAdec RP



[ v15 p855 ]
15:0855(161)CU
The decision of the Authority follows:


 15 FLRA No. 161
 
 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
 AND HUMAN SERVICES, REGION VI
 DALLAS, TEXAS
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION AND
 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION, CHAPTER 219
 Petitioner
 
                                            Case No. 6-CU-30002
 
 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
 AND HUMAN SERVICES, REGION VI
 DALLAS, TEXAS
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION AND
 NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION, CHAPTER 219
 Petitioner
 
                                            Case No. 6-CU-30003
 
                    DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNIT
 
    Upon petitions duly filed with the Federal Labor Relations 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 National Treasury
 Employees Union (NTEU) was certified as the exclusive bargaining
 representative for separate units of all General Schedule (GS) and Wage
 Grade (WG) employees and of all professional employees assigned to the
 Regional Office, Region VI, Department of Health and Human Services with
 duty station in Dallas, Texas.  /1/ Essentially, the petition seeks to
 clarify the bargaining unit status of the professional and
 nonprofessional employees of the newly formed Region VI, Office of
 Inspector General, Office of Health Financing Integrity (HFI).  Many of
 these employees had previously been included in the bargaining units
 represented by NTEU.  The Activity contends that the above employees
 shall be excluded from their previous bargaining units on the grounds
 that:  Office of Inspector General employees have been traditionally
 excluded from certified bargaining units;  the employees involved herein
 will be engaged in internal security functions within the meaning of
 section 7112(b)(7) of the Statute;  and there is no longer a community
 of interest between the employees of the HFI and the rest of the
 bargaining units.
 
    On January 9, 1983, pursuant to a national reorganization in the
 Department of Health and Human Services, 12 nonprofessional employees,
 nine of whom were included in the bargaining unit represented by NTEU
 and assigned to the Region VI Health Care Financing Administration
 (HCFA), Division of Quality Control, were transferred to the HFI.  On
 March 1, 1983, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and
 Human Services, following precedent established by the Secretary of
 Health, Education and Welfare on December 5, 1977, stated that it was
 his position that Office of Inspector General employees were excluded
 from participation in collective bargaining activities by provisions of
 the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.  At the time of the hearing, there
 were no Office of Inspector General employees in bargaining units
 anywhere in the country.
 
    This transfer resulted in a major change in the focus of the mission
 and function of the employees involved herein.  As employees of the
 Division of Quality Control, they functioned in support of the HCFA by
 monitoring health care contractors and subcontractors dealing with HCFA
 to prevent any mismanagement or fraud;  however, under the HFI, these
 same employees, as agents of the Inspector General, oversee whether the
 HCFA is properly performing its job, which would include participation
 in internal investigations of wrongdoing and fraud.  /2/ As the transfer
 occurred only nine months prior to the hearing, these employees were
 involved in cleaning up their old work as well as assuming their new
 duties and several employees as yet have not begun to perform their new
 functions.  The transfer resulted in the establishment of a new chain of
 command, whereupon the Regional Director, HFI, reports directly to the
 head of HFI in the Inspector General Central Office structure in
 Washington, rather than the head of the Division of Quality Control
 reporting to the Regional Administrator for HCFA.  Further, the
 employees involved herein are now included in the Inspector General's
 separate areas of competition for job promotion as well as
 reduction-in-force.  Although these employees were previously serviced
 by the Regional Personnel Office, as were the other employees in Region
 VI, as of October 1, 1983, all employees of the Inspector General are
 serviced by the Office of Secretary of Personnel.  Pursuant to the
 record, on September 23, 1983, HFI employees were to be moved from their
 present work station into a new building along with the other components
 of the Office of Inspector General.
 
    Under the circumstances outlined above, the Authority finds that the
 employees of HFI, following the reorganization, no longer share a
 community of interest with the other employees of the two bargaining
 units involved herein which are represented by NTEU.  In this regard,
 noted particularly is the fact that the HFI employees are now a part of
 a new organization with a separate and distinct mission;  they are under
 separate overall supervision and authority;  and they share an area of
 competition for promotion and reduction-in-force separate from that of
 the employees in the existing bargaining units.  Based on the foregoing,
 the Authority finds that the HFI employees constitute a functionally
 distinct group of employees who share a community of interest separate
 and distinct from the employees in the existing bargaining units and
 their continued inclusion in the existing units would not promote
 effective dealing or efficiency of agency operations.  Accordingly, the
 Authority shall order that the certifications for the NTEU bargaining
 units involved herein be clarified to exclude the HFI employees.  /3/
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS ORDERED that the units sought to be clarified in Case Nos.
 6-CU-30002 and 6-CU-30003 be, and they are, clarified by excluding from
 said units the employees of the Region VI Office of Inspector General,
 Office of Health Financing Integrity.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., August 30, 1984
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Member
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ The National Treasury Employee