17:0239(36)CU - SSA and AFGE -- 1985 FLRAdec RP



[ v17 p239 ]
17:0239(36)CU
The decision of the Authority follows:


 17 FLRA No. 36
 
 SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
 Activity/Petitioner
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO
 Labor Organization
 
                                            Case No. 3-CU-30025
 
                    DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNIT
 
    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 careful consideration of the entire record, including the
 parties' contentions, the Authority finds:  The American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE) was certified as the exclusive
 representative for a nationwide consolidated unit of nonprofessional
 employees of the Social Security Administration.  Essentially, the
 Activity's petition seeks to exclude from the bargaining unit
 approximately 26 Program Analysts, GS-345-13 and below, located in the
 Office of Field Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Social
 Security Administration, on the grounds that they are confidential
 employees, management officials or employees engaged in Federal
 personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity.  /1/
 
    The Program Analysts (PA) are assigned to the Office of Field
 Administration (OFA), Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA), Social
 Security Administration (SSA), which is responsible for directing and
 coordinating the administration and management activities required to
 support the OHA field operations.  One of the major functions performed
 by the PAs is to visit the 135 field offices of the OHA which provide
 hearings on request concerning claims filed pursuant to the Social
 Security Act and appeal procedures for those individuals who receive an
 adverse decision at the hearing level, to determine whether the offices
 are functioning within the guidelines set by OFA.  The PAs are
 considered by the management of OFA to be their eyes and ears.  In the
 course of their field office visits, during which they are unsupervised
 and are solely responsible for their actions, the PAs perform such
 duties as:  interviewing the entire staff at the field office in an
 attempt to locate problems with morale or procedures;  checking the
 personnel structure at the field office to determine if it is
 functioning properly;  evaluating the performance of the staff;
 checking the effectiveness of the collective bargaining agreement which
 may be in effect;  evaluating the training procedures and evaluating the
 case flow of the field office.  After the evaluation is completed, the
 PAs meet with the field office management and present them with their
 findings and suggestions for improvement.  When the PAs return from a
 visit, they prepare a lengthy and detailed evaluation of the performance
 of the field office and include a list of suggestions for remedying
 problem areas.  These evaluations are examined by the PAs' supervisors
 but substantive changes are rarely made.  The record indicates that the
 suggestions found in their evaluations, such as the addition of new
 staff or supervisory positions, removal of employees from supervisory
 positions, and training to remedy problems, are routinely put into
 effect by management.  The PAs, when they are not on field office
 visits, are closely involved with duties as monitoring the case flow in
 the field;  developing and carrying out employee and supervisory
 training;  monitoring the performance of the field office personnel;
 evaluating special projects such as the National Treasury Employees
 Union Alternative Work Schedule and its impact on the SSA;  giving
 technical review to all requests for awards originating from the field
 offices;  and analyzing the effectiveness of the field office
 management.
 
    Based on the foregoing, the Authority finds that the PAs are directly
 involved in performing personnel work affecting the bargaining unit and
 making recommendati