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 ]
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 Employees Union, Chapter 219, serves as the agent of NTEU for the two units involved herein. /2/ The record indicates that HFI will be performing investigation of employee wrongdoing within HCFA. At the time of the hearing, however, no such investigations had been performed primarily because the HFI employees had not received the required training for this task. The record further indicates that such training was scheduled for the very near future. /3/ See United States Department of the Navy, Navy Avionics Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, 11 FLRA No. 98 (1983) and Department of the Navy, Navy Regional Data Automation Center, Jacksonville, Florida, 4 FLRA 107 (1980).