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U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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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
 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
    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
       Administrative Law Judge
                           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
          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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
          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
                       . . .
          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:
    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
    (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
    (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.