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D.R. No. 80-9

Synopsis:

The Director of Representation, in affirming the recommendations of the Hearing Officer, determines that employees of the Medical Center holding the title of Community Mental Health Worker-Emergency Room, are professional employees, and employees holding the titles of Counselors and Team Leaders are not professional employees, as that term is defined by N.J.A.C. 19:10-1.1. The Director clarifies the unit of all full-time and regular part-time professional employees represented by District 1199-J as including the title of Community Mental Health Worker-Emergency Room and clarifies the unit of all blue and white collar employees represented by AFSCME as including the titles of Counselors and Team Leaders.

PERC Citation:

D.R. No. 80-9, 5 NJPER 456 (10230 1979)

Appellate History:



Additional:



Miscellaneous:



NJPER Index:

1.126 33.335 34.43 34.44

Issues:


DecisionsWordPerfectPDF
NJ PERC:.DR 80-009.wpdDR 80-009.pdf - DR 80-009.pdf

Appellate Division:

Supreme Court:



D.R. NO. 80-9 1.
D.R. NO. 80-9
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION
BEFORE THE DIRECTOR OF REPRESENTATION

In the Matter of

JERSEY CITY MEDICAL CENTER,

Public Employer-Petitioner,

-and- Docket No. CU-79-4

DISTRICT 1199-J, NATIONAL UNION
OF HOSPITAL AND HEALTH CARE
EMPLOYEES, RWDSU, AFL-CIO,

Employee Organization,

-and-

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY,
AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO,
LOCAL 2254, COUNCIL 52,

Employee Organization.

Appearances:

For the Public Employer-Petitioner
Lamb, Hutchinson, Chappel, Ryan & Hartung, Esqs.
(Joseph T. Ryan, of Counsel)

For District 1199-J
Greenberg, Margolis & Ziegler, P.A.
(Philip Freedman & Arthur S. Kramer, of Counsel)

For AFSCME, Local 2254, Council 52
Mr. Vincent Griesi, Representative
DECISION

On August 7, 1978, a Clarification of Unit Petition was filed with the Public Employment Relations Commission (the A Commission @ ) by the Jersey City Medical Center (the A Center @ ) raising a question concerning the composition of collective negotiations units of professional and nonprofessional employees of the Center represented by District 1199-J, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, RWDSU, AFL-CIO ( A District 1199-J @ ) and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2254, Council 52 ( A AFSCME @ ), respectively. The Center seeks a determination as to the appropriate unit identification of three employee titles: (1) Community Mental Health Worker-Emergency Room; (2) Counselor- adult partial hospitalization unit; (3) Team Leader-children = s partial hospitalization unit.
Pursuant to a Notice of Hearing, a hearing was held before Commission Hearing Officer Bruce D. Leder on December 11, 1978, at which all parties were afforded an opportunity to present evidence, to examine and to cross-examine witnesses, and to argue orally. The Center and District 1199-J filed post-hearing briefs on February 20, 1979 and February 22, 1979, respectively. AFSCME did not file a brief. On May 30, 1979, the Hearing Officer issued his Report and Recommendations, a copy of which is attached hereto and made a part hereof. The Center and District 1199-J filed exceptions to the Report on June 25, 1979 and June 28, 1979, respectively. AFSCME has not excepted to the Report. Neither the Center nor District 1199-J has filed answering briefs with respect to the other = s exceptions.
The undersigned has considered the entire record, including the Hearing Officer = s Report and Recommendations, the transcript and exceptions, and on the basis thereof finds and determines as follows:
1. The Jersey City Medical Center 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 involved herein, and is subject to the provisions of the Act.
2. District 1199-J, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, RWDSU, AFL-CIO, and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2254, Council 52, are employee representatives within the meaning of the Act and are subject to its provisions.
3. On November 13, 1974, AFSCME was certified as exclusive representative of a unit of all blue and white collar employees employed by the Center.
4. On March 15, 1978, District 1199-J was certified as the exclusive representative of a unit of all full-time and regular part-time professional employees employed by the Center.
5. The instant Petition arises from challenges by the Center to certain voters at the election which preceded the March 15, 1978 certification by the Commission.
6. The titles in question are: Community Mental Health Worker-Emergency Room, Counselor-adult partial hospitalization unit, and Team Leader-children = s partial hospitalization unit. The parties have stipulated that the issue placed before the Commission is: whether the employees of the Medical Center holding these titles are A professional employees, @ as that term is defined in N.J.A.C. 19:10-1.1 and, therefore, included in the professional unit represented by District 1199-J, or whether they are nonprofessional employees and included in the blue and white collar unit represented by AFSCME.
Accordingly, There is a question concerning the composition of collective negotiations units, a dispute exists, and the matter is properly before the undersigned for determination.
7. N.J.A.C. 19:10-1.1, in defining a A Professional employee, @ states as follows:
A Professional employee @ means any employee whose work is predominantly intellectual and varied in character, involves the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, and requires knowledge of an advanced nature in the field of physical, biological, or social sciences, or in the field of learning. The commission will also consider whether the work is of such a character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time. The term shall also include any employee who has acquired knowledge of an advanced nature in one of the fields described above, and who is performing related work under the supervision of a professional person to qualify to become a professional employee as defined herein. The term shall include, but not be limited to, attorneys, physicians, nurses, engineers, architects, teachers and the various types of physical, chemical and biological scientists.

The Hearing Officer found that a Community Mental Health Worker interviews certain patients who enter the center through the Emergency Room. The Worker evaluates the patient and makes independent judgments and referrals as to the type of hospital service or outside agency service required. Since the function is performed in the Emergency Room, the Community Mental Health Worker is confronted by patients with a wide variety of problems. This work is performed virtually without supervision, and other clearly professional medical employees of the Center rely on the Worker = s recommendations. All but one of the workers have achieved either bachelor or masters degrees is psychology. The remaining Worker is matriculating toward a bachelors degree is psychology. The Center provides an eighty hour training session for all Workers.
In In re Somerset County Guidance Center, D.R. No. 77-4, 2 NJPER 358 (1976), the undersigned determined that certain Aides were professional employees. The Hearing Officer, at page 7, described the Aides = duties:
In connection with the intake interviews, which in part, involve assisting the patient with the completion of forms, the Aide takes a case history and submits a recommendation (made in writing and discussed at regular staff meetings) as to whether the patient should enter the program and what type of treatment may prove beneficial. The Aides = recommendations require acceptance or acquiescence by the PH Coordinator and/or Medical Director before they are implemented, but the interview and recommendations are conducted and formulated independently by the Aide.

While in Somerset, the Mental Health Aides did perform additional professional functions, the undersigned finds that the duties of Community Mental Health Workers are substantially similar to the above cited duties of Aides which were found to be professional in nature. Moreover, the Somerset Mental Health Aides, as the community Mental Health Workers herein, were not required to have bachelor degrees in psychology or social work and could substitute equivalent combinations of education and experience.
The duties of Community Mental Health Workers are predominantly intellectual in character, involve the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment and require knowledge of an advanced nature in the field of social sciences. The undersigned, therefore, agrees with the Hearing Officer and dopts his recommendations that Community Mental Health Workers are A professional employees @ and, thus, included in the professional unit represented by District 1199-J.
The Counselor = s primary function is to help patients adjust to normal living situations by teaching them cooking, sewing, arts, crafts, and how to deal with banks, supermarkets and other experiences of everyday life. Similarly, Team Leaders help child patients to live a normal childhood by teaching them carpentry, arts, crafts or acting. While the opinions of Counselors and Team Leaders are sought, it is apparent that other clearly professional employees exercise discretionary judgment in determining further treatment.
Accordingly, the undersigned finds, in agreement with the Hearing Officer, that while these employees do deal with patients in a variety of situations, they do not exercise their discretionary judgment concerning the treatment of patients, their duties are not sufficiently intellectual in nature, and do not require the type of advanced knowledge necessary to bring them within the definition of A professional employees. @
The undersigned, therefore, adopts the Hearing Officer = s recommendation that Counselors and Team Leaders are not professional employees and are, thus, included in the blue and white collar unit represented by AFSCME.
For the reasons set forth above, the professional unit represented by District 1199-J is clarified as including the title of Community Mental Health Worker and the blue and white collar unit represented by AFSCME is clarified as including the titles of Counselor and Team Leader.1/ These clarifications are effective immediately.
BY ORDER OF THE DIRECTOR
OF REPRESENTATION

Carl Kurtzman, Director

DATED: September 28, 1979
Trenton, New Jersey

1/ The parties have stipulated that employees who are determined by the Commission to be professional employees are included in the professional unit represented by District 1199-J and that employees determined by the Commission to be nonprofessional employees are included in the blue and white collar unit represented by AFSCME.
***** End of DR 80-9 *****