26:0040(5)CA - Air Force, HQ, AFLC, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH and AFGE Council 214 -- 1987 FLRAdec CA
[ v26 p40 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
26 FLRA No. 5 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE HEADQUARTERS, AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 214, AFL-CIO Charging Party Case No. 5-CA-60103 DECISION AND ORDER The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached Decision in the above-entitled proceeding, finding that the Respondent had not engaged in the unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint, and recommending that the complaint be dismissed in its entirety. Thereafter, the General Counsel filed exceptions to the Judge's Decision and a supporting brief. The Respondent filed an opposition to the exceptions of the General Counsel. Pursuant to Section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), we have reviewed the rulings of the Judge made at the hearing and find that no prejudicial error was committed. The rulings are hereby affirmed. Upon consideration of the Judge's Decision, the exceptions to that Decision, and the entire record, we adopt the Judge's findings, conclusions, and recommended Order that the complaint be dismissed. The complaint in Case No. 5-CA-60103 is dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., March 5, 1987. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS -------------------- Case No.: 5-CA-60103 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, HEADQUARTERS, AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 214, AFL-CIO Charging Party C. R. Swint, Jr., Esquire For the Respondent Mr. Paul Palacio For the Charging Party Judith A. Ramey, Esquire For the General Counsel, FLRA Before: GARVIN LEE OLIVER Administrative Law Judge DECISION Statement of the Case This decision concerns an amended unfair labor practice complaint issued by the Regional Director, Region V, Federal Labor Relations Authority, Chicago, Illinois, against the Department of the Air Force, Headquarters, Air Force Logistics Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio (Respondent), based on an amended charge filed by the American Federation of Government Employees, Council 214, AFL-CIO (Charging Party, Council, or Union). The complaint alleged, in substance, that the Respondent violated Section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. Section 7101 et seq. (the Statute), by refusing to process a grievance and a request for dues withholding of employee Bernice Givhan on the basis that she is not in the bargaining unit. The Respondent's answer admitted that it had refused to process the grievance and dues checkoff authorization of Ms. Givhan on the basis that Ms. Givhan is not in the bargaining unit. Respondent denied any violation of the Statute. The essential issue presented for determination is whether Ms. Givhan is a member of the bargaining unit. A hearing was held at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The Respondent, Charging Party, and the General Counsel were represented and afforded full opportunity to be heard, adduce relevant evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and file post-hearing briefs. The Respondent and General Counsel filed helpful briefs, and the proposed findings have been adopted where found supported by the record as a whole. Based on the entire record, including my observation of the witnesses and their demeanor, I make the following findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations. Findings of Fact 1. Respondent maintains its Headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Respondent maintains several other facilities, one of which is Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia (Robins AFB or Warner Robins). Through Robins AFB Respondent maintains and operates a facility in St. Louis, Missouri known as the F-15 Logistics Support Cadre. 2. On February 28, 1966, Lodge 987 (now, Local 987), American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE) requested that an election be held "for a determination of exclusive jurisdiction base-wide at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia." This request was forwarded through channels on April 14, 1966, to Headquarters, United States Air Force. The forwarding letter from Robins AFB described the proposed unit as "encompassing all organizations on the installation in the same commuting area serviced by the Civilian Personnel Office" and listed certain excepted organizations not relevant herein. On April 15, 1966, the Air Force approved "a unit at Robins AFB, GA encompassing all organizations on the Installation" with certain exceptions. Lodge 987 was notified of the approval of the unit. Subsequently, on May 10, 1966, an agreement was reached between Lodge 987 and Robins AFB which detailed the procedures to be followed in conducting the representational election. This agreement specified that the unit "is Robins Air Force Base" with certain exceptions. Additionally, the agreement defined those eligible to vote as "all employees occupying permanent career positions at Robins AFB; are serviced by the Central Civilian Personnel Office of Robins Air Force Base; and are not excluded in Item 3 below." Among those excluded were, "i. Employees who have received official notice of reassignment or transfer outside Robins Air Force Base to another Air Force installation or another agency." On May 13, 1966, notices were issued to employees about the election. These notices advised "all employees at Robins AFB" of the unit as "all of Robins Air Force Base" with the exceptions. The election was held on May 26, 1966 resulting in a vote for exclusive recognition. Lodge 987 was afforded exclusive recognition on June 17, 1966 for the unit established for the election. Collective bargaining agreements were then consummated with Lodge 987 on December 22, 1967 and September 24, 1970. Both of these agreements described the unit as "all eligible employees at Robins Air Force Base paid from appropriated funds." 3. At the time of recognition of Lodge 987, AFGE in 1966, the St. Louis Support Cadre had not yet been established. It was established in 1970. Subsequently, two other agreements were reached with Local 987 on November 16, 1973 and on May 20, 1976. These agreements were multi-unit agreements which included "all eligible employees" in the "Basewide Bargaining Unit, WRAMA, Robins Air Force Base." Employees of the Directorate of Materiel Management were included in this Basewide Bargaining Unit. 4. On January 13, 1978, the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE) was certified as the exclusive bargaining representative of a consolidated unit of Respondent's employees at its several facilities around the country. That consolidated unit is described, in part, as follows: Included: All non-supervisory, non-professional employees at the following Air Force Logistics Command Facilities paid from Appropriated Funds and who are serviced by AFLC Civilian Personnel Offices: Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, California Newark Air Force Station, Newark, Ohio Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio Detachment 21, AFCMC, AFPRO, Boeing, Wichita, Kansas Cataloguing and Standardization Office, Battle Creek, Michigan 5. The certification of the consolidated unit followed a "Stipulation of Unit Recognition and Certification" between AFLC and AFGE wherein it was agreed, inter alia, that the Robins AFB unit was an appropriate unit for the purpose of unit consolidation. The consolidation of units in January 1978 was done without an all-employee election. 6. Subsequent to the consolidation, AFGE delegated to the Charging Party its authority to deal with Respondent on behalf of the consolidated unit. Some of that bargaining authority has been further delegated through the parties' Master Labor Agreement (MLA), in Article 33, to the local unions which comprise the Council. Article 33.03a. provides that activity-wide changes in local conditions of employment, not covered by the MLA nor covered by Command-wide negotiations, which are within the discretion of the subordinate activity commander, will be brought to the attention of Local Union officials. Section 33.03b. of the MLA provides that changes in local conditions of employment at echelons below the activity commander will be brought to the attention of the Union representative designated to be contacted by the supervisor or manager making the changes. At all times material, AFGE, Local 987 has been, and is now, an agent of the Council with respect to the employees of Respondent at Robins AFB. There are approximately 15,000-16,000 bargaining unit members at Robins AFB. 7. The currently effective MLA includes a grievance procedure, at Article 6, and a dues withholding provision, at Article 8. 8. The Robins AFB unit, which was consolidated into the greater AFLC unit, includes many employees who are not employed by the Respondent. Included in the Robins AFB unit are employees from Commands which are parallel and distinct from AFLC and, hence, have entirely different chains of command. An example of this are employees of Headquarters, Air Force Reserve, who are located at Robins AFB. The Robins unit includes widely varying types of employees. They vary in job skills, classifications, pay systems, chain of command, and work setting. 9. The overall mission of AFLC is to repair and service aircraft and aircraft engines, modify aircraft, and maintain aircraft parts world-wide for the U.S. Air Force. One of the aircraft maintained by AFLC is the F-15, which is built by the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri. The F-15 program is located, organizationally, within the Directorate of Material Management (MM), which is headquartered at Robins AFB. The MM Directorate includes the F-15 System Program Management Division (MMF). Within the MMF is the Requirements and Distribution Branch (MMFD) headed by Walter Wilson, also at Robins AFB. Under MMFD is the St. Louis F-15 Logistics Support Cadre (LSC) which has been headed, since January 1985, by Major Peter Inglis, who reports to Mr. Wilson. Major Inglis functions organizationally as a Section Chief and, operationally, as a Detachment Commander due to the LSC location. 10. The LSC was established in 1970 to carry out, on the site of the contractor, the paperwork associated with the initial provisioning (the acquisition of peculiar spare parts) for the F-15 aircraft. This function continues as new models of the aircraft continue to be developed. 11. At all times material herein, there were approximately nine employees working in the LSC. These included two GS-12 equipment specialists, one GS-12 item manager, one GS-11 item manager, two GS-5 procurement clerks, and one GS-5 secretary (Ms. Givhan). There is also a cataloguer, on loan from an AFLC facility in Battle Creek, Michigan. Major Inglis is the only supervisor at the LSC. 12. The Warner Robins Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) services all of the Warner Robins civilian personnel including those of the LSC at St. Louis. These services include position staffing and management, classification, employee relations, labor relations, and training. 13. The Warner Robins employees located in St. Louis are subject to the same personnel policies, Air Force regulations, and Air Force operations instructions as are other Warner Robins personnel, with the exception of those that are logically inapplicable due to the differing locations, e.g., parking, access to the base. St. Louis employees are subject to the same appraisal program, disciplinary procedures, awards, and suggestion programs as are the other Warner Robins employees. The Warner Robins Accounting and Finance Office maintains the payroll for, and issues paychecks to, the LSC employees. 14. The LSC is physically located on premises owned by McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis. The LSC office is separate from that of the McDonnell-Douglas employees; however, one representative of McDonnell-Douglas works in the LSC office on a continuous basis. McDonnell-Douglas provides utilities, parking, outer security, and eating facilities for the LSC office. The normal duty day at LSC is from 0730 until 1600 hours. The LSC tour of duty is not used in the Directorate of Material Management at Robins AFB where a flexitime agreement with Local 987 covering all bargaining unit employees is in effect. This agreement has never been applied to the LSC. The work schedule at LSC is not the same nor geared to McDonnell-Douglas work hours. LSC employees do not use time clocks, as do McDonnell-Douglas employees. The LSC employees observe the holidays for Federal employees which are sometimes different than those observed by McDonnell-Douglas. LSC can arrange access to its office space as necessary. 15. The higher graded employees at LSC, i.e., the item managers and equipment specialists, are all serving on temporary rotational assignments from Warner Robins. The basic term of assignment is three years. The employee may opt for additional years in St. Louis. The employee has a right to return to Warner Robins to a job at the same pay and grade. 16. The clerical employees at LSC, i.e., the two GS-5 procurement clerks and the GS-5 secretary (Ms. Givhan), are hired locally from Office of Personnel Management (OPM) registers for the St. Louis area. The Robins AFB Personnel Office secures the list and transmits the paperwork to the LSC where the St. Louis LSC manager is the selecting official. 17. Robin's AFB's clerical positions are filled either through promotion from Warner Robins promotion lists or, in the case of entry-level positions, local hires from OPM registers. Clerical positions physically located at Warner Robins are filled by both of these procedures. Clerical positions at Robins AFB are usually hired at the GS-2 level with internal promotion to higher grades. Occasionally a federal employee transfers in at a higher grade. 18. The clerical workers in the St. Louis LSC are maintained in the computerized promotion registers for positions at Robins AFB. Historically the clerical workers have not been interested in such positions for personal reasons. Ms. Givhan and other GS-5s have been offered promotions to positions at Robins AFB, but have declined. As a general rule, the GS-5s at LSC have not been interested in moving to Robins AFB and none has ever done so, although the situation could change. While no GS-5 has ever transferred to Robins AFB, several have transferred to other federal agencies in the St. Louis area. Ms. Givhan regards her promotion possibilities to be limited to other St. Louis agencies due to her desire to remain in the St. Louis area. 19. A reduction in force (RIF) occurred at the LSC in the mid-1970's. The RIF affected only the clerical employees. The competitive area for this RIF was St. Louis. The clerical employees were unable to exercise bumping rights. The clerical employees affected by the RIF were able to transfer to different federal agencies in the St. Louis area. McDonnell-Douglas initially replaced the clerical workers with their own workers in the LSC office, at no cost to the Government, in an effort to ensure the continuation of the LSC in St. Louis. The McDonnell-Douglas employees were removed shortly thereafter following a complaint concerning this practice. 20. Documents listing the F-15 spare parts requirements are initiated from McDonnell-Douglas and processed by the employees of the St. Louis LSC, subject to the ratification of the Warner Robins Procurement Officer. The chief document, the data accumulation and transmittal sheet, is processed at LSC first by the supply clerk, then the equipment specialists, item managers, cataloguer, then the procurement clerk, in a chain. The entire process is continually coordinated with Robins AFB. Robins must authorize the funds before any purchase can be made. 22. Functions and tasks similar to those carried out by the LSC employees, i.e. initial provisioning and provisioning of aircraft in St. Louis, are carried out by similarly titled employees at Robins AFB. However, at St. Louis, Employees with different specialties work side-by-side. At Robins AFB, they work in different branches of the Directorate or, in the case of procurement clerks, in another Directorate. 23. The St. Louis LSC employees are in daily telephone contact with Warner Robins personnel. Ninety-five percent of the incoming calls are from personnel at Robins AFB. The LSC purchasing functions cannot be completed without the involvement of Warner Robins management and personnel. 24. The primary duty of the LSC secretary (Bernice Givhan) is to support the office personnel and functions by doing general secretarial work. She performs typing, filing, word processing, answering the telephone, maintaining time and attendance records for forwarding to Robins AFB, ordering forms, supplies, and publications from Robins AFB, mailing correspondence, and seeing that the office machines are accounted for, maintained, and supplied. She is the security monitor and receives and follows security briefings sent from Robins AFB. 25. Marion Dyche, a 35-year Warner Robins employee, now retired, spent five years in St. Louis at the LSC on a rotational assignment. She was a member of Local 987 for about twenty years. Her Union dues were withheld from her salary during that entire period, including the five years she was in St. Louis. The dues withholding was initiated before she went to the LSC. There are about 2500 employees on dues withholding. No checking is done as to location. Thus, the continuation of Ms. Dyche on dues withholding at LSC was not a conscious decision by management to include LSC employees in the bargaining unit. At least two other employees from Robins AFB who have served at the LSC have also continued on dues deduction while at the LSC. 26. Periodically, the Directorate of Material Management at Robins AFB sends to the St. Louis LSC a "care package" containing various items of probable interest to the St. Louis employees. Included are management publications as well as the Local 987 newsletter. 27. On January 2, 1986, Bernice Givhan, the GS-5 secretary at the St. Louis LSC, filed a first step grievance under the negotiated grievance procedure of the MLA. On January 21, 1986, Ms. Givhan, through AFGE, Local 987, filed a step two grievance under the MLA grievance procedure. The Union determined that it should represent Ms. Givhan as a member of the bargaining unit since she was serviced by the Robins AFB Civilian Personnel Office and prior dues deductions had been received from employees of the LSC. 28. On January 6, 1986 and January 30, 1986, Respondent, by Major Peter R. Inglis, Chief, LSC, and Earl W. Briesch, Deputy Director, Material Management, respectively, returned Ms. Givhan's grievance without action, stating that Ms. Givhan is not in the bargaining unit, and refused to process Ms. Givhan's grievance under the negotiated grievance procedure of the MLA. Ms. Givhan was advised that she would have to use the Air Force grievance procedure under Air Force Regulation 40-771 and should contact the Robins AFB Civilian Personnel Office to obtain any desired assistance in doing so. 29. On or about December 20, 1985, Bernice Givhan executed a request and authorization for voluntary allotment for payment of employee organization dues, which was authorized by AFGE, Local 987. 30. On or about January 7, 1986, Respondent, by John W. Adkins, Labor Relations Officer, returned Bernice Givhan's request for dues withholding, and refused to process the request, stating that Ms. Givhan was not in the bargaining unit. 31. Val Buxton, Chief Labor Relations Officer, Headquarters, AFLC, was aware of and in agreement with the Robins AFB action to reject Ms. Givhan's negotiated grievance and dues withholding authorization. The Respondent has never considered the employees at the LSC to be in the bargaining unit because they do not physically work at Robins AFB and for that reason Ms. Givhan's dues withholding request and grievance were denied. Prior to this time, Respondent has never received any expression of interest from the Union concerning the LSC. When the Respondent has been required to make postings at its facilities as a result of an Authority case, such postings have never been sent to the LSC. 32. There is no evidence that the Union knew of the existence of the LSC in St. Louis prior to December 1985. As a result of Ms. Givhan's grievance, the Union has requested information from Respondent concerning the location of other AFLC employees in satellite offices serviced by AFLC Civilian Personnel Offices. The only proposals in the past by Local 987 concerning employees who work elsewhere than Robins AFB have involved personnel on temporary duty (TDY) at other locations. Employees can be placed on TDY for up to 179 days. The Local has sometimes designated a steward for a group of employees on TDY. Article 22 of the MLA also deals with TDY. Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations The complaint alleges that Respondent violated section 7116(a)(1), (5) and (8) of the Statute in January 1986 when it refused to process the grievance of Bernice Givhan under the negotiated grievance procedure, and/or when it rejected Bernice Givhan's request for voluntary allotment of dues to the Union. The General Counsel contends that Respondent acted at its peril in unilaterally determining that Bernice Givhan is not a member of the bargaining unit and that an unfair labor practice proceeding is an appropriate forum for the determination of the appropriateness of a particular unit of employees and whether an employee is a member of that unit. The General Counsel claims that the LSC employees share a community of interest with other Robins AFB employees, and a unit determination to include them would promote effective dealings with, and efficiency of the operations of, the agency. The General Counsel argues that distinctions based solely on the physical location of the Robins AFB employees located at Robins AFB and the Robins AFB employees located in St. Louis, or between the clerical employees, including Ms. Givhan, and non-clerical LSC employees, are not a sufficient reason to require a separate unit determination. Respondent defends on the basis that LSC employees at St. Louis historically and traditionally have never been considered within the Robins AFB bargaining unit. Respondent claims that neither a clarification of unit petition nor an unfair labor practice proceeding can be used as a vehicle to expand a bargaining unit beyond what the unit has been certified and traditionally considered to be. Respondent contends, in the alternative, that an appropriate unit would not include Ms. Givhan and the other GS-5 clerical employees in the LSC, and the status of the other higher graded members of the LSC staff are not relevant to the matter. Respondent asserts that the clerical employees do not realistically compete with other Robins AFB employees for promotion, retention, assignments, etc. and, in all other respects, they have nothing in common with other Robins AFB employees because they do not physically work on Robins AFB. Pursuant to section 7114(a)(1) of the Statute an exclusive representative "is entitled to act for, and negotiate collective bargaining agreements covering all employees in the unit." Section 7121(a) establishes the requirement that any collective bargaining agreement provide "procedures for the settlement of grievances" and, under section 7121(b)(3) any such procedures must, "(A) assure an exclusive representative the right, in its own behalf or on behalf of any employee in the unit represented by the exclusive representative, to present and process grievances; "(B) assure such an employee the right to present a grievance on the employee's own behalf, and assure the exclusive representative the right to be present during the grievance proceeding(.)" Any interference with the right of an employee in the unit represented by the exclusive representative to present a grievance under a negotiated agreement would constitute a violation of section 7116(a)(1). Section 7115(a) of the Statute provides for an allotment by "an employee in an appropriate unit" to an exclusive bargaining representative. /1/ Section 7115(b)(1) provides that such an allotment shall terminate when "the agreement between the agency and the exclusive representative involved ceases to be applicable to the employee." The failure of an agency to comply with the mandates of section 7115 would constitute a violation of section 7116(a)(1) and (8) of the Statute and, if the action results from or accompanies a withdrawal of union recognition, a violation of section 7116(a)(5) of the Statute. The critical issue to be determined in deciding whether Respondent violated any of these Statutory provisions, as alleged, is whether Ms. Givhan was, in fact, an employee in the unit represented by the exclusive representative (the establishing bargaining unit) when Respondent refused to process her grievance and to honor her dues deduction. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. (HHS, Washington, D.C.), 16 FLRA 586, 589-590 (1983); United States Air Force, 2750th Air Base Wing Headquarters (2750th ABW), 16 FLRA 872 (1984); Interpretation and Guidance, 4 FLRA 754, 757 (1980). As Judge William B. Devaney stated in HHS, Washington, D.C., supra, 16 FLRA at 589: This is not a representation case and the bargaining unit as certified may not be altered in an unfair labor practice proceeding, although unit determinations concerning particular employees as being included or excluded from bargaining units as certified may, and in this case must, be resolved in an unfair labor practice proceeding. See, Internal Revenue Service, Seattle District, et al., 12 FLRA No. 74, 12 FLRA 324 (1983); North Carolina Air National Guard, Charlotte, North Carolina, 4 FLRA No. 44, 4 FLRA 348 (1980); The Adjutant General -- Georgia, Georgia National Guard, Department of Defense, Atlanta, Georgia, 2 FLRA No. 92, 2 FLRA 712 (1980); U.S. Department of Energy, Western Area Power Administration, Golden, Colorado and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO, Locals 640, 1245, 1759, 1959 and 2159, Case No. 7-CA-1229, OALJ-82-119 (August 4, 1982) . . . . (Footnote omitted.) The certification dated January 13, 1978 continues under the Statute pursuant to section 7135(a)(1). This certification describes the involved unit as including All non-supervisory, non-professional employees at the following Air Force Logistics Command Facilities paid from Appropriated Funds and who are serviced by AFLC Civilian Personnel Offices: . . . Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia. It is conceded that Ms. Givhan is a non-supervisory, non-professional employee, is not otherwise exempt, is paid from appropriated funds, and is serviced by the AFLC Civilian Personnel Office at Robins AFB. However, Ms. Givhan is not "at" the AFLC facility at Robins AFB. Rather, she is an employee "of" the AFLC facility at Robins AFB working at the LSC office in St. Louis. In 2750th ABW, supra, the certification described the involved unit as including "employees of the Headquarters Air Force Logistics Command and 2750th AF Base Wing, and tenants physically located at the Wright-Patterson AF Base complex and serviced by the Civilian Personnel Office." The employer transferred several AFLC personnel to Gentile Air Force Base, eight miles away, and terminated their dues deductions. The Authority found that the involved AFLC employees continued to be part of the established unit and that this unit promoted effective dealings and efficiency of agency operations. In so concluding, the Authority found that the words "physically located" as used in the unit description, were intended to refer to tenants at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and not to the AFLC bargaining unit. 16 FLRA at 874, fn. 6. In the instant case the involved unit is not described as employees "of" the AFLC facility at Robins AFB, but employees (which includes non-AFLC employees) "at the following (AFLC) facilities (Robins AFB) . . . and who are serviced by the Civilian Personnel Office." Thus, the description here, although it does not use the more precise words "physically located at," is, in light of the common dictionary meaning of "at" to indicate a point, place, location, or position occupied in space, /2/ just as restrictive as that held by the Authority to apply only to the tenant organizations in 2750th ABW. Moreover, apart from employees on temporary duty for up to six months, there is no history of bargaining with regard to employees physically located elsewhere. Compare U.S. Department of Labor, Case No. 3-CA-30634, ALJDR 44 (1985). The LSC has been in existence for almost sixteen years. There is no evidence that historically or traditionally the LSC employees have ever been considered within the Robins AFB bargaining unit. Thus, it is concluded that since Bernice Givhan was not an employee physically located "at Robins AFB," she was not a member of the established bargaining unit when Respondent refused to process her grievance and to honor her dues deduction. Accordingly, Respondent did not violate section 7116(a)(1), (5), and (8), as alleged. As noted at the outset, the certification as it exists is controlling and may not be changed in an unfair labor practice proceeding. Whether a unit of Respondent's employees which includes the LSC is an appropriate unit for purposes of exclusive representation is a matter to be resolved under section 7112 of the Statute and Part 2422 (Representation Proceedings) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. /3/ HHS, Washington, D.C., supra, 16 FLRA at 597. For example, in Department of Defense, Defense Communications Agency Headquarters, 11 FLRA 582 (1983) a unit was described, in pertinent part, as "employees of (the agency) . . . physically located at 8th Street and South Courthouse Road, Arlington, Virginia." The Authority noted that questions had arisen concerning, in part, whether certain employees who were previously part of the unit should be excluded simply because their duty stations had been changed from that location. The Authority granted a joint petition to clarify the unit description. The clarification eliminated the "physically located at" description and changed it, in pertinent part, to "employees of (the agency) serviced by the Headquarters Civilian Personnel Division." Based on the foregoing findings and conclusions, it is recommended that the Authority issue the following Order: ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, that the Complaint in Case No. 5-CA-60103 be, and it hereby is, DISMISSED. /s/ GARVIN LEE OLIVER Administrative Law Judge Dated: August 29, 1986 Washington, D.C. --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- (1) Section 7115. Allotments to representatives (a) If an agency has received from an employee in an appropriate unit a written assignment which authorizes the agency to deduct from the pay of the employee amounts for the payment of regular and periodic dues of the exclusive representative of the unit, the agency shall honor the assignment and make an appropriate allotment pursuant to the assignment. Any such allotment shall be made at no cost to the exclusive representative or the employee. Except as provided under subsection (b) of this section, any such assignment may not be revoked for a period of 1 year. (2) The Random House College Dictionary defines "at" as follows: at' (at; unstressed at, it), prep. 1. (used to indicate a point or place occupied in space) in, on, or near: to stand at the door; at the bottom of the barrel. 2. (used to indicate a location or position, as in time, on a scale, or in order); at noon; at age 65. 3. (used to indicate presence or location); at home; at hand. 4. (used to indicate amount, degree, or rate): at great speed; at high altitudes. 5. (used to indicate a goal or objective) toward: Aim at the mark. Look at that. 6. (used to indicate occupation or involvement): at work; at play. 7. (used to indicate a state or condition): at ease; at peace. 8. (used to indicate a cause): She was annoyed at his stupidity. 9. (used to indicate a method or manner): He spoke at length. 10. (used to indicate relative quality or value): at one's best; at cost. (3) In the event the Authority should deem it necessary to make such a determination in this proceeding, the extensive findings of fact concerning the Robins AFB unit and the LSC employees would permit appropriate conclusions to be drawn pursuant to section 7112 of the Statute as to whether the LSC employees share a community of interest with the established unit and whether a unit determination to include them would promote effective dealings with, and efficiency of the operations of, the agency.