D.R. No. 80-13
The Director of Representation, adopting a Hearing Officer's Report and Recommendations substantially for the reasons set forth therein, determines that the most appropriate unit for the representation of technical assistants is a unit comprised of all instructional and noninstructional technical assistants. Inasmuch as neither petitioner seeks to represent the employees in the appropriate unit their petitions are dismissed. In view of the dismissal of the petitions, the Director need not consider the identification of certin disputed titles.
D.R. No. 80-13, 5 NJPER 507 (¶10262 1979)
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D.R. NO. 80-13 1.
D.R. NO. 80-13
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION
BEFORE THE DIRECTOR OF REPRESENTATION
In the Matter of
MERCER COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE,
-and- Docket No. RO-77-12
MERCER COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
FEDERATION OF SECRETARIAL, CLERICAL
AND TECHNICAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 2319, AFT,
MERCER COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE,
-and- Docket No. RO-77-14
MERCER COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
For the Public Employer
Smith, Stratton, Wise & Heher, Esqs.
(Garrett M. Heher, of Counsel)
For the Petitioner Federation
John Fallon, Staff Representative
For the Petitioner Association
Sterns, Herbert & Weinroth, Esqs.
(Michael J. Herbert, of Counsel)
Pursuant to a Notice of Hearing to resolve a question concerning the representation of certain employees, hearings were held on March 1, April 1, May 3, September 19, 20, and 21, 1977, before Hearing Officer Charles Tadduni at which all parties were afforded an opportunity to present evidence, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to argue orally. Post-hearing briefs were filed by the parties by February 3, 1978.
Thereafter, on July 26, 1979, the Hearing Officer issued his Report and Recommendations [H.O. No. 80-3], a copy of which is attached hereto and made a part hereof. On August 8, 1979, the public employer filed exceptions to certain findings and recommendations of the Hearing Officer. Neither employee organization involved in the proceeding filed exceptions to the Hearing Officer = s Report, nor have they filed any answers to the public employer = s exceptions.
The undersigned has carefully considered the entire record in the proceeding, including the Hearing Officer = s Report and Recommendations, the transcript and exceptions, and based upon the facts in this matter finds and determines as follows:
1. Mercer County Community College (the A College @ ) is a public employer within the meaning of the New Jersey Employer- Employee Relations Act, N.J.S.A. 34:13A-1 et seq. (the A Act @ ), is the employer of the employees who are the subject of this proceeding and is subject to the provisions of the Act.
2. Mercer County Community College Federation of Secretarial, Clerical and Technical Employees, Local 2319, AFT (the A Federation @ ) and Mercer County Community College Faculty Association (the A Association @ ), are employee representatives within the meaning of the Act and subject to its provisions.
3. The Federation, in Docket No. RO-77-12, seeks to add noninstructional technical assistants and senior technical assistants to a collective negotiations unit of clerical/ supportive staff personnel which it currently represents. The Association, in Docket No. RO-77-14, seeks to add instructional technical assistants and senior technical assistants to a collective negotiations unit of faculty and certain other professional personnel with academic rank which it currently represents.
4. The College asserts that the addition of these personnel to the respective units represented by the Federation and the Association is inappropriate and submits that the most appropriate collective negotiations unit would be a unit comprised of all instructional and noninstructional technical assistants and senior technical assistants.
5. A secondary issue raised in the proceeding relates to the identification of three positions as either includable or nonincludable in the Federation = s proposed unit. These positions are publication specialist, research assistant in the office of instructional research, and coordinator of scheduling and records. Lastly, the College asserts that the senior technical assistant position within the office of personnel services is a confidential position and should be excluded from any collective negotiations unit.
6. The Hearing Officer recommended that the Federation = s Petition and the Association = s Petition be dismissed and that the most appropriate unit for the representation of instructional and noninstructional technical assistants and senior technical assistants would be one overall unit comprised of these personnel. Additionally, the Hearing Officer made recommendations as to the specific titles in dispute.
7. The Hearing Officer based his recommendations as to the appropriate unit upon factual findings from which he concluded that all technical assistants share a close community of interest and were employed under similar terms and conditions of employment.
8. Technical assistants function as A assistants @ or A resource people @ to faculty and administrators and effectuate projects conceived by the latter personnel. Many instructional and noninstructional technical assistants work together in the performance of their responsibilities. They are employed in what might be generally termed as a paraprofessional relationship and they share common benefits. Technical assistants are employed within the same salary ranges which are less than those of faculty personnel and higher than support personnel. Technical assistants are granted 20 vacation days a year which is equal to faculty vacations and more than clerical vacation benefits. Technical assistants, clerical/support personnel and non-teaching faculty work a 35 hour week. However, technical assistants receive compensatory time for overtime work while clerical/support personnel receive monetary benefits. Faculty members receive monetary compensation for A overload teaching @ based upon contact hours. Technical assistants have common supervisory lines within their assigned department. The instructional and noninstructional technical assistants generally have common skill levels and educational background. While technical assistants may participate in department meetings, they are not permitted to vote along with faculty members. However, technical assistants are full participants in the College senate with faculty, administrators and students. Clerical/support personnel do not participate in the faculty senate.
9. Apart from the unit placement of technical assistants as proposed by the parties, the Hearing Officer also considered the merits and disadvantages of the placement of all technical assistants in either the faculty unit, the support unit, or the existing administrators unit. The Hearing Officer concluded that although there are common interests that College employees in these various groupings share, significant differences exist in their working conditions and responsibilities which mitigate against the finding that any of these possible unit structures is more desirable than a unit limited to all technical assistants. The Hearing Officer recommended that the possible creation of an additional negotiations unit of all technical assistants would not result in the deleterious effects of unit proliferation and fragmentation within the College, given the existing structure of negotiations units and the extent of representation among all College employees.
10. None of the parties has excepted to the Hearing Officer = s conclusion that the most appropriate unit herein is a unit comprised of all technical assistants. The undersigned, having reviewed the entire record, agrees with the Hearing Officer = s factual findings and adopts his recommendation as to the appropriate unit for technical assistants, substantially for the reasons cited by him in his Report. The Hearing Officer properly considered the arguments advanced by the parties and additionally considered the various other unit structure possibilities. The Hearing Officer correctly concluded that the community of interest among all technical assistants was so substantial that the appropriate unit must contain all technical assistants. As the Hearing Officer correctly concluded, the placement of technical assistants in different units would result in the unfavorable effects of whipsawing among employees who share substantially common benefits and would be antithetical to appropriate unit placement and stable labor relations. Accordingly, the undersigned determines that the most appropriate unit for the representation of technical assistants is a unit comprised of all instructional and noninstructional technical assistants and senior technical assistants.
11. Since the Petitions filed by the Federation and the Association are dismissed and since no employee representative, at this time, seeks to represent the employees in the appropriate unit, the undersigned need not consider the identification of the specific disputed titles as either professional or paraprofessional positions or confidential positions. The number of employees in dispute is limited to four employees. The undersigned notes that if a Petition is filed seeking to represent the appropriate unit, any disputes as to these employees may be resolved in that proceeding with the benefit of the factual record developed in the hearing in these proceedings and with the addition of any further factual material relevant to such proceeding. Therefore, the determination herein shall not effect current unit placement, if any, of the disputed personnel.
Accordingly, for the above reasons, the undersigned determines that the most appropriate unit for the representation of technical assistants is a unit comprised of all instructional and noninstructional technical assistants and senior technical assistants. The Federation = s Petition and the Association = s Petition are hereby dismissed.
BY ORDER OF THE DIRECTOR
Carl Kurtzman, Director
DATED: October 29, 1979
Trenton, New Jersey
***** End of DR 80-13 *****