17:0239(36)CU - SSA and AFGE -- 1985 FLRAdec RP
[ v17 p239 ]
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 recommendations to management concerning such personnel actions. Further, these personnel functions are more than routine and clerical in nature. Accordingly, the Authority finds that the Program Analysts, GS-345-13 and below, are employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity within the meaning of section 7112(b)(3) of the Statute and should be excluded from the unit. /2/ ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the unit sought to be clarified be, and it hereby is, clarified by excluding from said unit the employees in the job classification Program Analyst, GS-345-13 and below. Issued, Washington, D.C., March 20, 1985 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Section 7112(b)(3) of the Statute provides in pertinent part: (b) A unit shall not be determined to be appropriate . . . if it includes-- (3) An employee engaged in personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity . . . . /2/ Department of Health and Human Services, Region X, Seattle, Washington, 9 FLRA 518, 524 (1982). In view of the above, the Authority finds it unnecessary to rule on whether the Program Analysts are also confidential employees or management officials.