15:0899(169)CU - HHS, SSA and AFGE -- 1984 FLRAdec RP



[ v15 p899 ]
15:0899(169)CU
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