15:0899(169)CU - HHS, SSA and AFGE -- 1984 FLRAdec RP
[ v15 p899 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
15 FLRA No. 169 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Activity/Petitioner and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Labor Organization Case no. 3-CU-30007 DECISION AND ORDER Upon a petition 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 the entire record in this case, including the parties' contentions, the Authority finds: American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (the Union), was certified in 1979 as the exclusive representative of a nationwide consolidated unit consisting of approximately 60,000 Social Security Administration employees, including employees at 29 of its 33 teleservice centers (TSCs). Included in the consolidated unit was a previously certified unit described as "all nonsupervisory General Schedule employees of the District Office Operations, Social Security Administration employed in any of the Washington Metropolitan Area Social Security offices." The TSC at Laurel, Maryland, was included in this latter unit description. Following the consolidation, in 1982, a reorganization caused the Laurel TSC to be closed and its employees relocated to two separate new TSCs, in Westminster, Maryland and Manassas, Virginia. At that time, 27 unit employees moved to Westminster which was established with a total complement of 32, and 23 unit employees moved to Manassas which had a total complement of 31. These two TSCs each service portions of the geographic area previously in the Laurel TSC area of responsibility. The Petitioner, The Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration (SSA), contends that as a result of the reorganization, a question of representation exists concerning the employees at the Westminster and Manassas TSCs and therefore it has no obligation to continue to recognize the Union as the exclusive representative of these employees. The Petitioner contends that these employees no longer share a community of interest with other employees within the existing bargaining unit, /1/ and, in addition, that the employees sought to be excluded herein do not fall within the description of the existing unit represented by the Union. On the other hand, the Union contends that these employees continue to be within the unit as the reorganization constituted merely a relocation of the Agency's operations and a transfer of certain unit employees and thus the only significant change was in physical location. It is concluded that the reorganization did not render inappropriate the continued inclusion of the former Laurel TSC bargaining unit employees in the consolidated unit. Thus, they have been reassigned to the Westminster and Manassas TSCs but service the same area as prior to the reorganization, divided geographically between the two TSCs, and these employees continue to perform the same functions under the same overall supervision. Also, they are subject to the same personnel policies, practices and working conditions as the rest of the unit employees. Based upon the foregoing, the Authority finds that the geographical relocation of bargaining unit employees from the Laurel TSC to the Westminster and Manassas TSCs, respectively, did not remove them from the consolidated unit, and, at all times, they remained within the unit description as nonsupervisory General Schedule employees "employer in any of the Washington Metropolitan Area Social Security offices." Accordingly, the Authority shall dismiss the petition in its entirety. ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the petition in Case No. 3-CU-30007 be, and it hereby is, dismissed in its entirety. Issued, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1984 Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member Henry B. Frazier III, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Section 7112(a)(1) provides, in pertinent part: Sec. 7112. Determination of appropriate units for labor organization representation (a)(1) The Authority shall determine . . . any unit to be an appropriate unit only if the determination will ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among the employees in the unit and will promote effective dealings with, and efficiency of the operations of, the agency involved.