52:1024(106)NG - - NAGE, Local R5-184 and VA Medical Center, Lexington, KY [ Veterans ] - - 1997 FLRAdec NG - - v52 p1024



[ v52 p1024 ]
52:1024(106)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


52 FLRA No. 106

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL R5-184

(Union)

and

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

MEDICAL CENTER

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

(Agency)

0-NG-2224.01

_____

DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES

February 28, 1997

_____

Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Donald S. Wasserman, Members.(1)

I. Statement of the Case

This case is before the Authority on a negotiability appeal filed by the Union under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute). The petition in this case originally concerned six proposals. In an earlier decision, the Authority concluded that three of the proposals were negotiable at the election of the Agency and severed the remaining three for further consideration. National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, 51 FLRA 386 (1995) (VAMC, Lexington). Subsequent to that decision, the Authority issued an order to the parties directing them to respond to questions concerning the severed proposals. Both parties filed supplemental submissions responding to the order. This decision addresses the three remaining proposals.

For the reasons that follow, we find that all three proposals, which prescribe alternatives for covering dental assistant duties, are negotiable at the election of the Agency under section 7106(b)(1) because they concern numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to an organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty. Accordingly, we dismiss the petition pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Regulations.

II. Background

In response to an increased demand for the services of dental assistants in its Dental Service, the Agency proposed assigning dental assistant duties to dental laboratory technicians on a rotating basis. For the stated purpose of avoiding the assignment of the dental laboratory technicians to dental assistant duties, the Union proposed alternatives for addressing the increased demand for the services of dental assistants.

III. Proposal 1

Hire additional staff to provide coverage of the Dental Assistant[']s duties.

A. Positions of the Parties

The Agency contends that the term "hire" in this proposal can refer only to hiring from outside the Agency, as contrasted with using currently employed personnel. The Agency asserts that this proposal interferes with management's rights to hire and direct employees, "assign,"(2) and determine the personnel by which agency operations shall be conducted under section 7106(a)(2)(A) and (B) and does not concern the number of employees under section 7106(b)(1).(3)

The Union explains this proposal as permitting the Agency to "hire" from either within or outside the Agency at its option. The Union asserts that this proposal concerns numbers, types and grades of employees assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty under section 7106(b)(1).(4)

B. Analysis and Conclusions

1. Meaning of the Proposal

In interpreting a disputed proposal, the Authority looks to its plain wording and any union statement of intent. If the union's statement of intent is consistent with the proposal's plain wording, the Authority adopts that statement for the purpose of construing what the proposal means and, based on its meaning, deciding whether the proposal is within the duty to bargain. E.g., American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1900 and U.S. Department of the Army, Headquarters, Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia, 51 FLRA 133, 138-39 (1995).

As written, the proposal requires the Agency to hire additional staff to perform dental assistant duties. Unlike our dissenting colleague, we are not persuaded that the term "hire" is a term of art. In this regard, the dictionary yields more than one definition of the term. For example, Webster's Third New International Dictionary 1072 (1986) (Webster's) defines "hire," in relevant part, as: "to engage the personal services of for a fixed sum[;] employ for wages[.]" "Employ" is defined, in relevant part, as: "to use or engage the services of . . . also[,] to provide with a job that pays wages or a salary or with a means of earning a living . . . ." Id. at 743.

Precisely because there is no single or common definition of the term "hire," the Authority requested the Union to file a supplemental submission explaining the meaning of the proposal. In response, the Union stated that the term "hire" does not intend any restriction on the source of the additional staff and leaves the Agency free to "hire" from either outside or within the Agency. We find that the Union's explanation of "hire" comes within the range of acceptable meanings of the term. That is, we find that the term "hire" is flexible enough to refer to the action of one Agency organizational subdivision giving a job to someone currently employed in another organizational subdivision.(5) Therefore, we will construe this proposal, as explained by the Union, to impose only one requirement on the Agency: obtain additional staff to cover the dental assistant duties.(6)

2. This Proposal Concerns the Numbers of Employees or Positions Assigned to an Organizational Subdivision

The parties make conflicting claims as to whether this proposal concerns management rights under section 7106(a) or section 7106(b)(1). In accordance with the principles stated in VAMC, Lexington, we first examine the Union's contention that the proposal is electively negotiable under section 7106(b)(1). In this case, the question presented is whether the proposal relates to the first category in section 7106(b)(1); that is, (i) the numbers, types, and grades;(7) (ii) of employees or positions; (iii) assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project, or tour of duty. VAMC, Lexington, 51 FLRA at 394. If the proposal concerns section 7106(b)(1), the Authority does not address contentions that it also affects the exercise of management authorities under section 7106(a). Id.

The requirement that the Agency add staff to perform dental assistant duties concerns the number of employees or positions assigned to the Dental Service. As determined in VAMC, Lexington, the Dental Service constitutes an organizational subdivision within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1). 51 FLRA at 395. Consequently, the proposal, as we have construed it above, relates to the number of employees or positions assigned to an organizational subdivision within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1). Under the principles articulated in VAMC, Lexington, we do not address whether this proposal also affects the exercise of management's rights under section 7106(a), as claimed by the Agency. Accordingly, this proposal is negotiable at the election of the Agency.

IV. Proposal 4

Use Dental Hygienist to provide coverage of the Dental Assistant[']s duties.

A. Positions of the Parties

The Agency asserts that while the dental assistant's chair-side duties could constitute a work project under Authority precedent, this proposal must be read in context with the other proposals. The Agency claims that the avowed purpose of the proposals as a whole is to deny it the discretion to determine which employees will perform the dental assistant duties. Thus, the Agency contends that this proposal violates the right to assign work "irrespective of any effect on 'work project' assignments." Second supplemental submission at 4.

The Union contends that the dental assistant's duties constitute a work project within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) and that the dental hygienist is a type of employee within the meaning of that section. In claiming that this proposal comes within the first category of section 7106(b)(1), the Union contends not only that the dental hygienist is a type of employee but also that the particular dental hygienists and laboratory technicians who are involved in this dispute are at the GS-8 level while the dental assistants are GS-5 employees.

B. Analysis and Conclusions

1. Meaning of the Proposal

Under this proposal, dental assistant duties would be assigned to a dental hygienist.

2. This Proposal Concerns the Types of Employees or Positions Assigned to an Organizational Subdivision

Like Proposal 1, there are conflicting claims as to whether this proposal concerns management's rights under section 7106(a) or section 7106(b)(1). Consequently, we first determine whether, as claimed by the Union, this proposal is electively negotiable under section 7106(b)(1).

The Authority has not clearly defined the term "type" in the context of section 7106(b)(1).(8) Because such lack of clarity promotes litigation rather than the settlement of disputes, we take this opportunity to clarify our approach to determining when proposals relate to types within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) in this decision.

Neither the Statute nor its legislative history define the term "types." However, that term is included in a phrase--the numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to an organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty--the meaning of which is addressed in the legislative history. We will first consider the phrase in which the term "types" appears in interpreting the term.

The Report of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, equated a phrase substantively identical to the "numbers, types and grades" phrase contained in the Statute with "the agency's staffing patterns." S. Rep. No. 95-969, 95th Cong. 2d Sess. 105 (1978), reprinted in Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives, 96th Cong. 1st Sess., Legislative History of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (Comm. Print 1979) at 765 (Legislative History). In addition, interpreting the phrase "numbers, types and grades" in section 7106(b)(1) as meaning "staffing patterns" is consistent with the interpretation by the Federal Labor Relations Council (FLRC) of a substantially identical phrase that defined one of the permissive areas of bargaining under Executive Order 11491, as amended. See, e.g., National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service, Region VII, 5 FLRC 250, 258-59 (1977). The FLRC interpretation, in turn, was consistent with the explanation of "numbers, types and grades" offered at the time E.O. 11491 was first issued. See "Study Committee Report and Recommendations, August 1969, Which Led to the Issuance of Executive Order 11491" reprinted in Legislative History at 1218, 1233-34 ("numbers, types and grades of positions, or employees assigned to an organizational unit, work project or tour of duty" applies to an agency's right to establish "staffing patterns for its organization and the accomplishment of its work").

The Senate Report, viewed in the context of the Executive Order practice, persuades us that Congress intended the phrase "numbers, types and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty" to mean "staffing patterns." Although the Senate Report does not elaborate on the phrase "staffing patterns," the FLRC and Study Committee Report treated it as referring to the allocation of staff. See, e.g., International Association of Fire Fighters, Local F-111 and Griffiss Air Force Base, Rome, N.Y., 1 FLRC 323, 331 (1973) (staffing patterns referred to "organizational allocations of positions and people"); Legislative History at 1233 (the Study Committee equated the establishment of staffing patterns for agency organization and accomplishment of work with the agency's assignment of its personnel). Such construction is consistent with the manner in which the term is defined in Roberts' Dictionary of Industrial Relations, which equates "staffing pattern" to "job pattern." Roberts' Dictionary of Industrial Relations 730 (4th ed. 1994) (Roberts'). "Job pattern" refers to a list of jobs with the number of workers in each job. Id. at 367.

Based on the foregoing, we will interpret the "numbers, types and grades" phrase in section 7106(b)(1) as applying to the establishment of staffing patterns, or allocation of staff, for the purpose of an agency's organization and the accomplishment of its work. In addition, in the absence of any clear definition of the term "types" in either the Statute or the legislative history, we will follow the Authority's practice of interpreting terms and phrases based on the ordinary meaning of the words used. E.g., International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, Marine Division, Panama Canal Pilots Branch and Panama Canal Commission, 51 FLRA 333, 341 (1995). Webster's defines the term "type" in relevant part as:

qualities common to a number of individuals that serve to distinguish them as an identifiable class or kind . . .[;] an individual exhibiting distinguishable qualities of its kind[;] a typical and often superior specimen . . .[;] a group or category exhibiting such type[;] a particular kind, class, or group . . .[;] something felt to be distinguishable as a variety or kind[;] sort . . . .

Webster's at 2476.

In sum, in construing section 7106(b)(1), we will interpret "types" as referring to distinguishable classes, kinds, groups or categories of employees or positions that are relevant to the establishment of staffing patterns.(9) The party claiming that a particular proposal concerns "types" within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) bears the burden of establishing a relationship between the claimed type and staffing patterns. Cf. American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3062 and U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Boulder City, Nevada, 51 FLRA 229, 232 (1995) (parties bear the burden of creating a factual record on which the Authority can make a negotiability determination; agency must provide record support and demonstrate its assertion that a proposal is nonnegotiable).

Applying this definition to Proposal 4, we find that it concerns types of employees or positions. Dental hygienists are in a separate classification series.(10) It follows that dental hygienists constitute a distinguishable class, kind, group or category of employee or position and fall within the ordinary meaning of type. As the differentiation of dental hygienists as a group or category is based on specialized line of work and qualifications requirements, we find that their identification as a type relates to the establishment of staffing patterns. Consequently, dental hygienists constitute a type of employee or position within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute.

The parties do not dispute that the dental assistant's duties constitute a work project under Authority precedent. The Authority has construed the term "work project" in section 7106(b)(1) to mean "particular job" or "task." E.g., American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3302 and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Dunbar Branch Office, Baltimore, Maryland, 37 FLRA 350, 355 (1990). We find that the dental assistant's duties constitute a work project.

Proposal 4 requires that the Agency assign a type of employee or position (dental hygienist) to a work project (dental assistant's duties). As such, Proposal 4 concerns a matter within section 7106(b)(1).(11) Therefore, we find that Proposal 4 is negotiable at the election of the Agency and we do not reach the Agency's contentions as to section 7106(a).

V. Proposal 5

Use temporary employee(s) to provide coverage of the Dental Assistant[']s duties.

A. Positions of the Parties

The Agency states that there are no temporary employees in the Dental Service. The Agency asserts that under this proposal, it would have to hire additional temporary employees because the temporaries currently employed in the Agency are not qualified to perform dental assistant duties. Citing VAMC, Newington, the Agency asserts that temporaries are not a type of employee within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1).

The Union asserts that this particular proposal relates to a matter encompassed under section 7106(b)(1) for the additional reason that it concerns the technology, methods and means of performing work. The Union asserts that this proposal leaves the Agency the option of either hiring employees with the qualifications necessary to perform dental assistant duties from outside the Agency or training currently employed temporaries to perform those duties.

B. Analysis and Conclusions

1. Meaning of the Proposal

Under this proposal, dental assistant duties would be assigned to temporary employees. Neither party claims that there are temporary employees currently assigned to the dental assistant duties.(12) Thus, this proposal requires the Agency to augment the staff assigned to dental assistant duties with temporary employee(s).

2. This Proposal Concerns the Numbers and Types of Employees or Positions Assigned to a Work Project

We find that this proposal concerns the number and type of employees assigned to a work project. As discussed in conjunction with Proposal 4, it is uncontroverted that dental assistant duties constitute a work project. It follows that the proposal concerns the assignment of employees or positions to a work project.

In the circumstances of this case, temporary employees constitute a type within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1). A temporary employee is one hired for a limited time to meet temporary employment needs. See, e.g., 5 C.F.R. § 316.401; Roberts' at 766-67. The characteristic of limited tenure identifies temporary employees as a distinguishable class, kind, group or category. Thus, we find that temporary employees are a type within the ordinary meaning of that term. Additionally, in the circumstances of this case, we find that identification of temporaries as a distinct class, kind, group or category, and, hence, type, relates to the Agency's staffing patterns. In this case, the Union states that its proposals are intended to fulfill the Agency's need for an additional dental assistant until the number of dentists decreases. Response at seventh (unnumbered) page. That is, the Union proposes temporary staffing to meet a temporary need. Thus, the choice of temporary employees to perform the dental assistant duties is connected to the allocation of staff.

In addition, a proposal requiring bilateral agreement concerning the number of employees or positions to be assigned to an organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty comes within the scope of section 7106(b)(1) regardless of whether the proposal would increase, decrease or maintain the number that the Agency proposes to assign or has assigned. Proposal 5 would not necessarily result in a change in the number of employees assigned to perform dental assistant duties as compared to the Agency's plan. However, it nonetheless requires the Agency to negotiate on the number assigned to that work project. This proposal requires the Agency to add an unspecified number of temporary employees to the staff assigned to dental assistant duties. That the proposal corresponds to the Agency's plan to increase the number of employees performing those duties by assigning the laboratory technicians to them does not nullify the fact that the proposal itself concerns the number of employees assigned to a work project.

Proposal 5 concerns the numbers (unspecified) and types (temporaries) of employees assigned to a work project (dental assistant duties) and, thus, the first category of subjects set forth in section 7106(b)(1). As it would make no difference to the outcome of this case, it is unnecessary to address the Union's claim that Proposal 5 also concerns the technology, methods and means of performing work. We find that Proposal 4 is negotiable at the election of the Agency and we do not reach the Agency's contentions as to section 7106(a).

VI. Order

Proposals 1, 4 and 5 are negotiable at the election of the Agency under section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute. Accordingly, under section 2424.10(b) of the Authority's Regulations, the petition is dismissed as to those proposals.

Member Armendariz, dissenting in part:

I agree with my colleagues that Proposals 4 and 5 concern the types of employees assigned to an organizational subdivision within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) so as to be negotiable at the election of the Agency. I write separately because I do not agree with their conclusions as to Proposal 1.

I do not agree, first of all, with my colleagues' interpretation of the meaning of the proposal. The proposal expressly states that the Agency will "hire" additional staff to provide coverage of the Dental Assistant's duties. The dictionary defines the term "hire" as "to engage the personal services of for a fixed sum; employ for wages." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 1072 (1986).(1) That is, the term "hire" commonly refers to the action that creates an employment relationship, a specific process for obtaining additional services. Interpreted consistent with this definition, I agree with the Agency that Proposal 1 requires it to employ someone who is not now employed by the Agency to provide the necessary coverage of the Dental Assistant's duties.

Based on the Union's statement of intent, my colleagues conclude that Proposal 1 is not limited to that one method of obtaining additional staff. Rather, they conclude that Proposal 1 also extends to "the action of one Agency organizational subdivision giving a job to someone currently employed in another organizational subdivision." However, I cannot conclude that the Union's statement of intent, as construed by my colleagues, is consistent with the plain meaning of the proposal. While I agree that words have a certain elasticity of meaning, that elasticity is not without its limits. The Union's statement as to the meaning of the proposal does not fall within the normal limits of the meaning of the term "hire" that is used in the proposal.(2) That term concerns a specific personnel action: employing a person to work for the Agency. The Union's interpretation of the term, as construed by my colleagues, would mean that the proposal embraces, among other actions, promotions, reassignments, and transfers. Because the term is commonly understood as relating to the specific process that results in the establishment of the employment relationship, it cannot be said to encompass processes, such as those just enumerated, that concern persons already employed by the Agency.(3) Contrary to the implication of my colleagues, I do not believe that being guided by the normal meaning of the term "hire" in interpreting the proposal is the equivalent of treating it as a "term of art."

Because the parties dispute whether Proposal 1 constitutes a section 7106(a) matter or a section 7106(b)(1) matter, I turn to question of whether, under VAMC, Lexington, the proposal constitutes a section 7106(b)(1) matter. I conclude that it does not. Section 7106(b)(1) concerns the "numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project, or tour of duty . . . ." (Emphasis added.) That is, section 7106(b)(1) concerns the assignment of personnel to an organizational subdivision once they are employees. The right to hire, as noted above, concerns the establishment of the employment relationship.(4) In the context of this case, therefore, an individual must be hired as an employee before there can be an additional employee to assign to the Dental Section, even if it has already been determined to add a position to that section. Consequently, I conclude that the right to hire under section 7106(a)(2)(A) and the right to determine the numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions assigned to an organizational subdivision are separate and distinct matters. Because Proposal 1 requires the Agency to hire an additional person for coverage of the Dental Assistant's duties, I conclude that the proposal does not concern a matter that is negotiable at the election of the Agency within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute.

Turning to the question of whether Proposal 1 violates management's right to hire under section 7106(a)(2)(A), I find that, because the proposal requires the Agency to hire someone for the purposes specified, it directly interferes with, and thus impermissibly affects, that right. See, e.g., VAMC, Newington, 26 FLRA at 534. Moreover, because the Union does not contend that the proposal constitutes a procedure under section 7106(b)(2) or an appropriate arrangement under section 7106(b)(3), I conclude that the proposal is outside the duty to bargain.




FOOTNOTES:
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)


Authority's Footnotes Follow:

1. Member Armendariz' dissenting opinion as to Proposal 1 appears at the end of this decision.

2. In VAMC, Lexington, the Authority construed the Agency's assertion concerning "assign" as referring to the right to assign work under section 7106(a)(2)(B). 51 FLRA at 388 n.4.

3. These contentions also apply to Proposals 4 and 5 and will not be repeated in conjunction with the other proposals.

4. This contention also applies to Proposals 4 and 5 and will not be repeated in conjunction with those proposals.

5. We emphasize that we are not defining the right to hire under section 7106(a)(2)(A) but are only construing a collective bargaining proposal submitted by the Union. Our construction of that proposal is limited to determining whether the Union's explanation of a word used in its proposal is within the range of the acceptable meanings of the word and is otherwise consistent with the proposal, as written. As our dissenting colleague notes, the Authority has not previously defined management's right to hire under section 7106(a)(2)(A) and we will not be bound in future cases by the meaning that the Union attaches to the word "hire" in the context of this proposal.

Additionally, it should be emphasized that although we disagree with our colleague about the interpretation of this proposal, the consequences flowing from this disagreement are virtually nonexistent. We do not decide today whether a proposal with the more limited meaning that our colleague attributes to this proposal is within the duty to bargain under the Statute. We decide only that the proposal, with the meaning ascribed to it by the authoring party, is within the duty to bargain. We trust that the parties will carefully craft the terms of any agreement reached on this, or any other, proposal so that the provisions of their collective bargaining agreement are not susceptible to the ambiguity that has created such difficulty here.

6. That this interpretation may render redundant some of the Union's other proposals, as suggested by our dissenting colleague, is of no consequence in view of the Union's characterization of the proposals as alternatives. Where a union has presented a group of alternative proposals, it is not unreasonable that there may be some overlap, repetition, or even contradiction within the group.

7. Although this phrase is written in the conjunctive, the Authority has interpreted it to mean that a matter is included within section 7106(b)(1) if it relates to numbers, types, or grades of employees or positions. VAMC, Lexington, 51 FLRA at 394 n.11.

8. The Authority has held that a proposal concerns "types" of employees if it relates to the assignment of employees with different job-related characteristics and if it implicates management's right to determine the necessary qualifications and experience for those assignments. E.g., National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Newington, Connecticut, 38 FLRA 211, 216-20 (1990) (VAMC, Newington).

9. To the extent that this definition varies from the approach applied in VAMC, Newington, that decision will no longer be followed.

10. A classification "series" consists of a grouping of positions that are "similar as to specialized line of work and qualification requirements." E.g., International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 49 and U.S. Department of the Army, Army Corps of Engineers, South Pacific Division, San Francisco, California, 52 FLRA 665, 666 n.1 (1996) (quoting U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Introduction to the Position Classification Standards 4 (1991)). The position classification series for the three positions involved in this decision are as follows:

Dental assistant series--GS-681
Dental hygiene series--GS-682
Dental laboratory aid and technician series--GS-683

E.g., U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Operating Manual: Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions, IV-B-120-23 (August 1994); see also Attachments to Union supplemental submission dated June 2, 1995: Position descriptions for Dental Hygienist (Instruction), GS-682-8; Dental Assistant, GS-681-5; and Dental Laboratory Technician, GS-683-8.

11. We also find that this proposal concerns numbers and grades within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1). The proposal is concerned with the number of employees to whom dental assistant duties are assigned--that is, the Union is seeking to negotiate over the number of employees or positions to be assigned these duties. Additionally, because the positions of dental assistant, dental hygienist and dental laboratory technician that are involved in this proposal have specific grades attached, this proposal concerns the grades of employees or positions to be assigned dental assistant duties.

12. It is not clear from the Union's various submissions whether it is claiming that there are temporary employees currently assigned to the Dental Service who could be assigned to dental assistant duties. Specifically, in a submission prior to the issuance of VAMC, Lexington, the Union asserted that there were three temporary employees assigned to the Dental Service--all performing clerical duties. In its second supplemental submission, the Union does not state whether those or other temporaries continue to be employed in the Dental Service; however, it does state that it doesn't know whether any of the temporaries employed by the Agency are qualified to perform the dental assistant's duties.


Dissenting Opinion Footnotes Follow:

1. Roberts' Dictionary of Industrial Relations,(4th ed. 1994), does not contain a definition of the term "hire," but defines the term "hiring" as "[t]he act of taking on an employee for a designated or stated period of time." Id. at 309. The term "employ" is defined as "[t]o hire or make use of someone's service. It implies an offer of employment for compensation in return for services." Id. at 202. Similarly, Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and Labor Relations, 1980, defines the term "employ" as "hire the services of an individual . . . ." Id. at 86.

2. As to my colleagues' further reference to the definition of the term "employ," I note, first of all, that that is not the term that the Union used in Proposal 1. Secondly, in my view, the fact that the term "employ" may be defined both as "to hire" and "to use" does not mean that the term "hire" must also be defined as "to use."

3. I note, moreover, that my colleagues' interpretation of Proposal 1, based on the Union's statement of intent, would render Proposals 2 and 5 redundant because each of those proposals could involve giving a job in the Dental Service to someone employed in another organizational subdivision of the Medical Center. To the extent that Proposal 6 contemplates that Proposals 1-5 constitute separate options which may be used in combination to provide additional staff, for the reasons just stated, I believe that my colleagues' interpretation of Proposal 1 also renders Proposal 6 at least partially meaningless. See Proposal 5, infra, and Proposals 2 and 6 in National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, 51 FLRA 386 (1995) (VAMC, Lexington). Contrary to my colleagues, the fact that Proposal 6 explicitly contemplates that Proposals 1-5 may be used in "combination" suggests that the Union originally intended the proposals each to concern different actions, rather than overlapping alternatives. It doesn't seem to me that the Union would have provided in Proposal 6 that Proposals 1, 2, and 5 could be used in "combination" if the same result could be obtained under Proposal 1 alone. In my view, the Union's subsequent "clarification" of the meaning of Proposal 1 was intended to avoid precisely the result reached in this dissent.

4. The Authority has not previously defined the rig