54:1302(110)NG - - NAGE Local R14-23 and DOD, Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Lee, Virginia - - 1998 FLRAdec NG - - v54 p1302



[ v54 p1302 ]
54:1302(110)NG
The decision of the Authority follows:


54 FLRA No. 110

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL R14-23

(Union)

and

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DEFENSE COMMISSARY AGENCY

FORT LEE, VIRGINIA

(Agency)

0-NG-2370

_____

DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES

October 16, 1998

_____

Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Donald S. Wasserman and Dale Cabaniss, 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), and concerns the negotiability of two proposals. For the reasons that follow, we find that:

Proposal 1, which requires the Agency to maintain a specific number of positions at each of three commissary locations, is negotiable at the election of the Agency under section 7106(b)(1) of the Statute.

Proposal 2, which requires the Agency to establish job titles and grades 6 months after the Agency reorganization, and maintain current job titles and grades during the interim period, is outside the duty to bargain because it concerns a "classification" matter within the meaning of section 7103(a)(14)(B) of the Statute.

II. Proposal 1

The Union maintains a minimum of 4 positions at both the Holloman and WSMR stores and 7 at the Ft. Bliss store.

A. Positions of the Parties

1. Agency

The Agency argues that Proposal 1 is outside the duty to bargain because it affects management's right to determine its organization under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute.(2) The Agency contends that this proposal would require the Agency to add additional positions at each commissary store and would "dictate[] the number of positions to be retained at the commissary store not the number of . . . positions assigned to an organization[al] subdivision (department) within the store." Statement of Position at 2.

The Agency further argues, based on American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1336 and Social Security Administration, Mid-America Program Service Center, 52 FLRA 794 (1996) (SSA, Mid-America) (Member Armendariz concurring), that a proposal that concerns matters under both sections 7106(a) and (b)(1) is not negotiable at the election of the agency where the "dominant requirement" of the proposal involves a 7106(a) right. The Agency asserts that the dominant requirement of this proposal is "to establish the commissary store[s] as the organizational subdivision and to staff the store[s] with specific numbers of employees[,]" which affects the Agency's right to determine its organization. Statement of Position at 2.

2. Union

The Union asserts that this proposal does not interfere with the Agency's right to determine its organization within the meaning of section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute. The Union also asserts that Proposal 1 addresses the number of employees assigned by the Agency in each commissary store and, as a result, it concerns the "numbers, types and grades" of employees within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1). Finally, the Union argues that the Agency is required to bargain over the proposal pursuant to Executive Order 12871.(3)

B. Analysis and Conclusions

1. Meaning of the Proposal

In interpreting a 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 plain wording, the Authority adopts that explanation for the purpose of construing what the proposal means and, based thereon, resolving the petition for review. See National Education Association, Overseas Education Association, Laurel Bay Teachers Association and U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Defense Domestic Schools, Laurel Bay Dependents Schools, Elementary and Secondary Schools, Laurel Bay, South Carolina, 51 FLRA 733, 741-42 (1996) (Laurel Bay).(4)

There is no dispute in this case that, as plainly worded and consistent with the Union's statement of intent, Proposal 1 would require the Agency to maintain specific numbers of positions at the designated locations. The proposal does not specify the positions to which it refers. However, there also is no dispute that those "positions" are intended by the Union to be "accounting technician" positions. Response at 3-4. Accordingly, we so construe the proposal. See Laurel Bay, 51 FLRA at 737 (where a proposal is silent as to a particular matter, a union's statement clarifying the matter will be adopted if it is otherwise consistent with the wording of the proposal).

2. The proposal affects management's right to determine its organization under section 7106(a)

The parties disagree over both whether this proposal affects management's right to determine its organization under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute and whether it is bargainable at the Agency's election under section 7106(b)(1). In this circumstance, the Authority will address and resolve first whether the proposal affects management's right under section 7106(a). See American Federation of Government Employees, HUD Council of Locals 222, Local 2910 and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 54 FLRA 171, 177-178 (1998) (HUD).

The right to determine its organization under section 7106(a)(1) "encompasses an agency's determination as to how it will structure itself to accomplish its mission and functions, including such matters as the geographic locations in which an agency will provide services or otherwise conduct its operations." See National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 7 and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Rural Development, Portland, Oregon, 53 FLRA 1435, 1438 (1998). In this case, the Agency decided to reorganize and downsize the Management Support Centers (MSCs) by moving accounting technician positions to a central location. As construed above, the Union's proposal would require the Agency to maintain specific numbers of accounting technician positions at specific locations, rather than moving them to a central location. Therefore, the proposal would interfere with the Agency's determination as to the geographic locations in which the Agency services would be performed by accounting technicians. Thus, we conclude that the proposal affects management's right to determine its organization.

The Union does not claim that the proposal constitutes a procedure or an appropriate arrangement, within the meaning of section 7106(b)(2) and (3), respectively. Accordingly, as the proposal affects the Agency's right to determine its organization, it is outside the duty to bargain.

3. The proposal concerns management's right to determine the numbers, types and grades of employees under section 7106(b)(1)

Section 7106(b)(1) is an exception to section 7106(a). See National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, 51 FLRA 386, 392 (1995). If the Union is correct that the proposal concerns a section 7106(b)(1) matter, then the Authority will find that the proposal is bargainable at the election of the Agency.

Section 7106(b)(1) makes bargainable at the election of the agency proposals that concern the "numbers, types, and grades of employees or positions assigned to any organizational subdivision, work project or tour of duty." The Authority has defined this phrase to mean "the establishment of staffing patterns, or allocation of staff, for the purpose of an agency's organization and the accomplishment of its work." National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, 52 FLRA 1024, 1030-31 (1997)(NAGE). An agency's staffing pattern or "job pattern" is defined, in part, as "the number of workers in each job." Id. at 1030.

As the proposal in this case requires the Agency to maintain a specified number of accounting technician positions at each of three different locations, the proposal concerns the Agency's staffing pattern. Accordingly, the proposal concerns the numbers, types and grades of employees under section 7106(b)(1).

The Agency provides no support for its assertion that the proposal does not relate to an "organizational subdivision," because the proposal applies only to a "department" and not a "store." Statement of Position at 2. The Authority has held that proposals involving centralization and decentralization within an agency concern positions assigned to an organizational subdivision. For example, in SSA, Mid-America, the Authority held that proposals establishing the staffing of "proposed organizational configurations" concerned organizational subdivisions, within the meaning of section 7106(b)(1). 52 FLRA at 796. Like the disputed proposals in SSA, Mid-America, Proposal 1 concerns which sections of the Agency will perform a specific agency function, and where employees performing that function will be assigned. The proposal thus concerns assignment to an organizational subdivision.

We reject as misplaced the Agency's reliance on SSA, Mid-America to argue that Proposal 1 is not bargainable at its election because the "dominant requirement" of the proposal involves a section 7106(a) right. The "dominant requirement" test has been applied to resolve disputes involving proposals that impose two or more distinguishable but inseparable requirements. See id., 52 FLRA at 798-800. Proposal 1 imposes only one requirement: that the Agency maintain the specified number of positions at the designated locations. Thus, the "dominant requirement" test is not implicated.(5)

As the proposal concerns the numbers, types and grades of employees assigned to an organizational subdivision, the proposal is negotiable at the election of the Agency. Accordingly, we dismiss the petition for review as to Proposal 1.(6) See HUD, 54 FLRA at 177.

III. Proposal 2

The actual job titles and grades will be established 6 months following the reorganization (equipment installed and training completed on the Cannon Scanner Fax 380) as a result of a desk audit to be conducted on the Accounting Technician GS-525-5 to determine the grades and titles assigned are appropriate and commensurate with the actual duties being performed. The desk audits will be conducted at either Ft. Bliss, Holloman, or WSMR commissaries with the union present. In the interim, the status quo of GS-525-5 Accounting Technician will be maintained.

A. Positions of the Parties

1. Agency

The Agency argues that Proposal 2 is outside the duty to bargain because it affects management's right to determine its organization under section 7106(a)(1) of the Statute. Statement of Position at 3. The Agency further argues that the last sentence of the proposal is outside the duty to bargain because it concerns a matter relating to the classification of positions, which is not a condition of employment within the meaning of section 7103(a)(14)(B) of the Statute.

2. Union

The Union explains that Proposal 2 is intended "to maintain the current title, series and grade . . . of the MSC employees for at least . . . 6 months after implementing the reorganization." Petition at 2. According to the Union, maintaining the current title, series and grade for commissary employees for 6 months would prevent the Agency from downgrading the employees during that interim period.

The Union argues that Proposal 2 concerns the numbers, types, and grades of employees under section 7106(b)(1), is a procedure under section 7106(b)(2), and is an appropriate arrangement under section 7106(b)(3). The Union does not specifically address the Agency's argument that the last sentence of Proposal 2 is outside the duty to bargain because it concerns a matter relating to classification.

B. Analysis and Conclusions

1. Meaning of the Proposal

The Union explains that the first sentence of the proposal requires the Agency to wait 6 months before conducting a desk audit of certain Accounting Technician positions, and that the last sentence of the proposal requires the Agency to maintain current job titles and grades in the interim. As these explanations are consistent with the plain wording of Proposal 2, we adopt them. Thus, both sentences of the proposal would maintain the status quo with respect to the grade and job series of these positions for six months.

2. The Last Sentence of This Proposal is Outside the Duty to Bargain Because it Relates to "Classification" Under Section 7103(a)(14)(B)

The obligation of agencies and unions to engage in "collective bargaining" requires that they bargain "with respect to the conditions of employment" of employees. 5 U.S.C. 7103(a)(12). Section 7103(a)(14) defines "conditions of employment" as "personnel policies, practices and matters, whether established by rule, regulation, or otherwise, affecting working conditions. . . ." Section 7103(a)(14)(B) expressly excludes from this definition of "conditions of employment" matters "relating to the classification of any position." As classification matters are not considered to be conditions of employment, they are outside the duty to bargain. See National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1482 and U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Mapping Agency, Hydrographic/Topographic Production Center, Louisville, Kentucky, 45 FLRA 1199, 1203 (1992).

In determining whether matters relate to classification within the meaning of 7103(a)(14)(B), it is well established that, "the Authority relies on the definitions of the terms classification and position that appear in 5 C.F.R. § 511.101." See 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, 667 (1996); March Air Force Base, Riverside, California and American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 1953, 13 FLRA 255, 257 (1983). As defined by that regulation, "classification" is: "the analysis and identification of a position and placing it in a class under the position-classification plan established by OPM under chapter 51 of title 5, United States Code." 5 C.F.R. § 510.101(c). More specifically, classification entails the identification of the appropriate title, series, grade, and pay system of a position. See 5 C.F.R. § 511.701(a) (defining "agency classification action" as the determination to establish or change the title, series, grade or pay system of a position).

Pursuant to this definition, the last sentence of the proposal relates to classification.

According to the Union, both of the proposals in this case were made in response to the Agency's decision to "reorganize and downsize" certain offices. Union's Reply Brief at 1. Also according to the Union, the Agency's proposed reorganization would "result in . . . a reduction in the employee's grades." Id. The last sentence of Proposal 2 requires the Agency to maintain the classification of the affected employees as GS-525-5 Accounting Technicians until desk audits are performed 6 months after implementation of the reorganization. By preventing the Agency from identifying the appropriate title, series, grade, and pay system of the reorganized positions, the sentence effectively requires the Agency to classify the employees' positions in a particular way -- as GS-525-5 Accounting Technician positions -- for a particular time period, without regard to whether the positions warrant that classification and grade and even though, according to the Union, the reorganization will result in employee downgrades. For a period of 6 months, the proposal directly identifies the title, series, grade, and pay system of the affected employees, satisfying the standard the Authority has set out for this exclusion from the definition of conditions of employment.(7) By requiring that the Agency maintain a particular classification for a certain period of time, this case is distinguishable from the cases relied on in the dissenting opinion.(8)

As the last sentence of the proposal relates to classification, it is outside the duty to bargain. The Union's contentions regarding section 7106(b)(1), (2), and (3) would not affect this conclusion. In this regard, section 7106(b) applies to negotiations affecting the exercise of management's rights only. Section 7106(b) is not an exception to the definition of conditions of employment or the exclusions from that section. Cf. International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local No. 1 and U.S. Department of the Navy, Nuclear Business Office, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia, 52 FLRA 1341, 1346 (1997). As such, the conclusion that Proposal 1, establishing the number of these positions to be maintained by the Agency, is bargainable at the Agency's election under section 7106(b)(1) does not change the conclusion that the second sentence in Proposal 2, which requires that the positions to be classified as "GS-525-5 Accounting Technician," concerns a classification matter.

3. The Remainder of This Proposal is Outside the Duty to Bargain Because it Cannot be Severed From the Last Sentence

Because the last sentence of Proposal 2 is outside the duty to bargain, we conclude that the entire proposal is outside the duty to bargain. We find no basis to render a separate negotiability determination concerning the first sentence of the proposal, and therefore do not address the parties' contentions concerning section 7106 of the Statute. The Authority grants a union's request to sever and it separately examines parts of a proposal, where, among other things, the parts are able to stand independently. See, e.g., DOJ, El Reno, 52 FLRA at 1506; American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3172 and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Modesto, California, 48 FLRA 489, 497 n.4 (1993). The Authority declines to sever parts of a proposal where the proposal, "presents an integrally related package." See 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 813, 819-20 (1996).

Here, the Union did not request that the last sentence of the proposal be severed from the remainder or argue that parts of the proposal could stand independently. Accordingly, we find that the first sentence of the proposal is not severable from the last sentence of the proposal. Therefore, we conclude that Proposal 2 in its entirety is outside the duty to bargain.

IV. Order

Pursuant to 5 C.F.R. § 2424.10(b), we dismiss the Union's petition for review as to Proposals 1 and 2.

Opinion of Member Wasserman, concurring in part and dissenting in part

I concur with the majority that Proposal 1 is electively negotiable, for the reasons stated in Part II.B. of the decision, and I join in the decision dismissing the petition for review. However, I disagree that Proposal 2 is outside the duty to bargain because it concerns a classification matter. Instead, I would find that Proposal 2 is within the duty to bargain.

The Agency has two objections to the proposal. One centers on management rights and relates to the entire proposal. The other concerns classification and relates only to the last sentence of the proposal. Neither argument is persuasive.

First, contrary to the Agency's position, Proposal 2 does not affect either the right to determine organization under section 7106(a)(1) or the right to layoff under section 7106(a)(2) of the Statute. Nothing in the proposal imposes any particular administrative and functional structure. Likewise, nothing in the proposal prescribes where, organizationally, certain functions will be established and where the duty stations of the positions providing those functions will be maintained. See, e.g., National Association of Government Employees, Local R1-109 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Newington, Connecticut, 53 FLRA 526, 531-32 (1997) (defining the right to determine organization). Furthermore, nothing in the proposal would prevent the Agency from laying off any employees either during the reorganization or after the reorganization has been completed, if the Agency chooses to do so. See, e.g., American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 12 and Department of Labor, 18 FLRA 418, 426 (1985).

I see the issues raised here as distinguishable from those in National Treasury Employees Union and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 31 FLRA 566 (1988), enforced, in part, and denied, in part, as to other matters sub nom. Nuclear Regulatory Commission v. FLRA, 895 F.2d 152 (4th Cir. 1990), on which the Agency relies for support. In that case, Proposal 38.32 would have prevented the agency from implementing a reduction-in-force (RIF) until any reorganization resulting from the RIF were finally determined. The Authority found that the proposal was outside the duty to bargain because of its effect on the rights to determine organization and layoff employees. See id. In contrast, Proposal 2 would not, as the Agency states, "require the Agency to determine the final shape of its post-RIF organizational structure and prescribe the manner in which management will exercise its right to determine its organization." In particular, Proposal 2 would not prevent the Agency from reorganizing its commissary stores or dictate how the stores will be organized. Also, unlike Proposal 38.32, there is nothing in Proposal 2 that would impermissibly "condition[] the exercise of management's right to lay off employees . . . on its right . . . to determine its organization." Id. at 615.

Contrary to my colleagues' view, Proposal 2 does not involve the classification of positions so as to remove it from the scope of bargaining. Under well established Authority precedent, "not all matters related to classification are excluded from the scope of bargaining." March Air Force Base, Riverside, California, 13 FLRA 255, 258 (1983). Proposal 2 would simply require the Agency to retain the existing classifications, that it has already designated, for a period of six months after the reorganization.(1) During that time, the Agency would conduct desk audits to determine the appropriate job titles, series and grades. It is this latter activity that relates to the classification of positions under 5 C.F.R. § 511.101(c). Nothing in the proposal suggests that the Union is seeking to bargain over such matters.

OPM has defined classification as "the analysis and identification of a position and placing it in a class..." 5 C.F.R. § 511.101(c) (emphasis added). In this case, the Agency had previously performed these steps to identify the GS-5 Accounting Technicians, and the last sentence of Proposal 2 merely calls for maintenance of the status quo for a six-month period. The proposal does not require the Agency to take the three actions stated in the definition of classification. While the Majority views the maintenance of the status quo as "effectively" requiring a classification of the positions, slip. op. at 8, I do not view that to be the case. Read in its entirety, Proposal 2 calls for maintenance of the status quo so that the Agency can get an accurate assessment of the "actual duties being performed." Maintenance of the GS-5 Accounting Technician jobs, previously analyzed and placed in a class under OPM's definitions, does not require an effective reclassification at that level. Instead, Proposal 2 provides a prescription and time line for the Agency's next classification review.

Furthermore, nothing in Proposal 2 would prevent the Agency from conducting a classification review and reclassifying positions as a result of the reorganization. The proposal would simply allow "the dust to settle" before the Agency determines the appropriate title, series, grade and pay system for the positions following the reorganization. Especially in view of the Union's statement that the reorganization would result in a reduction in employees' grades, it seems only logical that the Agency would wait until a final picture emerges of the post-reorganization duties so that accurate classification decisions, including appropriate grade levels, can be made.

My view that Proposal 2 does not relate to a classification matter is also in line with the requirements governing the effective date of position classification actions. As described in 5 C.F.R. § 511.701, the effective date of a position classification "may be extended" when a position is changed to a lower grade and the employee occupying the position is eligible for retained grade or pay. See § 511.701(a). Although the parties have not addressed the applicability of these regulations, and I do not rely on them in this case, they illustrate that agency classification actions can be taken separate and apart from, and later than, the actual classification decisions.(2)

I see little practical difference between this proposal and a provision at issue in National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 14 FLRA 243, 249-50 (1984). In that case, the Authority found that a provision that would have prevented the agency from reassigning work "for the purpose of avoiding reclassification during a classification appeal," was a negotiable procedure. See id.(3) I believe that same result should be reached with respect to Proposal 2. Also, I do not see where the present case is distinguishable from cases in which proposals that required agencies to fill positions, classified by the agencies, in a particular manner, did not relate to classification. See, e.g., National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 2015 and U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 53 FLRA 967 (1997). See also National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-184 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky, 52 FLRA 1024, 1031 (1997) (finding that dental hygienists are in a separate classification series). All of the proposals in these cases broadly involved some aspect of "classification." They simply did not involve the establishment of job titles, series and grades as contemplated by OPM's regulations.

Furthermore, having found that Proposal 1 is electively negotiable because it "requires the Agency to maintain a specified number of accounting technician positions at each of three different locations," I question how Proposal 2 concerns a classification matter. The accounting technician positions referenced in Proposal 1 are clearly those referenced in Proposal 2. In other words, the Union is attempting to maintain a certain number and kind of position at various commissary locations. The "kind" of positions would be maintained for a limited period of time until after the reorganization.

Finally, I would distinguish this case from 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1778, 54 FLRA 1243 (1998). There, we found that a reduction in an employee's grade constituted a classification matter because the agency's decision to downgrade the employee was based on a change in the employee's grade-controlling duties that had occurred when the employee changed from a night shift to a day shift. See id. Here, in contrast, there has been no determination that an employee's duties have changed. As a practical matter, not until the reorganization is complete does an accurate picture emerge of what the actual duties of a position will be and, therefore, what the appropriate classification should be.

Because I would find that Proposal 2 does not involve a classification matter, and for the reasons more fully set forth above, I would find that it is within the duty to bargain.




FOOTNOTES:


Authority's Footnotes Follow:

1. Member Wasserman's opinion, dissenting in part, is set forth at the end of this decision.

2. The Agency also states in the caption of its argument that the proposal affects its right to determine the personnel by which its operations are conducted. However, as the Agency's entire argument relates only to the right to determine its organization under section 7106(a)(1), we consider the Agency's claim to be limited to that right.

3. Executive Order 12871 provides, in relevant part:

Sec. 2. Implementation of Labor-Management Partnerships Through The Executive Branch. The head of each agency subject to the provisions of chapter 71 of title 5, United States Code shall:

. . . .

(d) negotiate over subjects set forth in 5 U.S.C. 7106(b)(1), and instruct subordinate officials to do the same[.]

4. The meaning the Authority adopts for a proposal in deciding a negotiability appeal would apply in resolving other disputes, such as arbitration proceedings, where construction of the proposal is at issue. See Laurel Bay, 51 FLRA at 742 n.8.

5. Member Cabaniss expresses no view as to whether the "dominant requirement" test is consistent with the Statute, in light of the fact that the test is not implicated in this case.

6. "Where the Authority finds that a proposal is negotiable at the election of the agency under section 7106(b)(1), the Authority dismisses the petition for review and does not address claims that there has been an election to bargain." American Federation of Government Employees, Council of Prison Locals, Local 171 and U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno, Oklahoma, 52 FLRA 1484, 1495 (1997) (DOJ, El Reno). Accordingly, we do not address further the Union's argument regarding Executive Order 12871.

7. The last sentence in Proposal 2 prohibits the Agency from reclassifying the affected positions. We do not understand that there is any dispute that the sentence would have this effect. Surely, prohibiting the Agency from reclassifying a position relates just as clearly to "classification," within the meaning of section 7103(a)(14)(B), as requiring that the position be classified in a particular way to begin with. Thus, the proposal's requirement that the Agency not reclassify the affected positions is, in itself, an effective classification of the positions, regardless of whether, on the merits, the proposal provides a logical method for determining such classification.

8. Our dissenting colleague relies on three cases: National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 2015 and U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C., 53 FLRA 967 (1997) (NFFE); NAGE, 52 FLRA at 1031; and National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 14 FLRA 243, 249-50 (1984) (NTEU). The proposal in NFFE, 53 FLRA at 971, required that "two existing same graded individuals . . . be assigned" to particular positions; the proposal in NAGE required the agency to use a "dental hygienist to provide coverage of the dental assistant's duties." 52 FLRA at 1028 (brackets omitted). Neither of these proposals, as plainly worded or as interpreted by the unions, required the agencies to establish or maintain any particular classifications or grades with respect to any positions. The proposal in NTEU prohibited the agency from reassigning work "for the purpose of avoiding reclassification during a classification appeal." 14 FLRA at 249. Thus, like the proposals in NFFE and NAGE, this proposal did not require the agency to do anything with regard to the classification of the positions. The propo