Case No. 93-IR-01
                                      Issued:  March 18, 1993
LOCAL 1989, SEIU,                   )
                  Petitioner,       )
                                    )        ORDER DECLINING
               and                  )      INTERPRETIVE RULING
RELATIONS,                          )
                  Public Employer.  )

     On February 17, 1993, the Maine State Employees Association
filed a request for interpretive ruling with the Maine Labor
Relations Board (Board), pursuant to Board General Provisions
Rule 7.09, requesting that the Board declare whether 26 M.R.S.A.
 979 through 979-Q (1989 & Supp. 1992) "prohibit arbitration,
subject to review by the Executive Director and the Maine Labor
Relations Board under established deferral standards, of disputes
concerning the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements
containing a bargaining unit description, recognition clause, and
otherwise applicable provisions[s] mandating arbitration of
contractual disputes?"  The MSEA's request also asks the Board to
declare whether "[i]f such disputes are arbitrable under SELRA,
may an arbitrator decide representational issues incidental to
such contractual disputes?"  The MSEA seeks a determination of
whether alleged unilateral modifications of a unit description
contained in the parties' collective bargaining agreement are
remediable through the parties' contractual grievance-arbitration

     The request arises out of the parties' disagreement over the
arbitrability of an issue of change in the unit placement of
Jeffrey Gammon, an employee in the Presque Isle office of the


Department of Environmental Protection.  The MSEA alleges that
Gammon, whose position was included in the MSEA supervisory
services collective bargaining unit, was unilaterally and without
significant change in job duties given a new job title, a higher
pay grade and removed from the supervisory unit.  On February 12,
1992, the MSEA filed a grievance over removal of Gammon's
position from the supervisory unit.  The grievance was
subsequently submitted to arbitration by the MSEA.  The
Arbitrator's January 12, 1993, preliminary award finds the matter
to be arbitrable.  On March 1, 1993, the State filed a Motion to
Vacate the Arbitrator's Award in the Superior Court.  The State
contends in its Motion to Vacate that the Arbitrator exceeded his
authority by assuming jurisdiction over unit clarification
matters prescribed by public law to be exclusively within the
province of the Board's Executive Director.

     On February 24, 1993, AFSCME, Council 93 filed a request to
participate in the interpretive ruling proceedings.  On March 1,
1993, the State filed a Motion to Dismiss the MSEA's request for
interpretive ruling and a Motion for Additional Time to respond
to the merits of the request.  The State's Motion to Dismiss
contends that the Board's authority to issue interpretive rules
is limited to interpreting provisions of the Municipal Public
Employees Labor Relations Act (MPELRL), and does not extend to
the State Employees Labor Relations Act (SELRA).  The State also
avers in its motion that the MSEA's request for interpretive
ruling "alleges facts in dispute between adversaries in pending
grievance arbitration and court proceedings, as well as matters
which are the subject of a pending Prohibited Practice
Complaint,"[fn]1 and that these allegations "preclude a finding that

     1 The MSEA filed a Prohibited Practice Complaint on
February 5, 1991, alleging that by creating new excluded
classifications and assigning existing bargaining unit members,
inter alia, to excluded classifications the State has unlawfully
refused to bargain, and unlawfully removed unit work.


the Petition has been filed in conformity with the requirements
of MLRB . . . Rule 7.09."

     On March 8, 1993, the MSEA submitted a request to amend its
Petition for interpretive ruling which asks that the Board also
determine whether "representational disputes are prohibited
subjects of bargaining?"  In answer to the requested amendment,
the State reasserts the bases of its earlier Motion to Dismiss
and alleges further that the Board has previously held, in State
v. MSEA, Nos. 83-UC-15, 83-UC-35, 83-UC-37, 83-UC-48, slip op. at
15 (Me.L.R.B. Executive Director's Interim Order, May 16, 1990),
"that matters of change in unit composition are prescribed and
controlled by the SELRA and therefore fall outside of the
statutory obligation to bargain."

     We reject the State's first argument.  Even if the statutes
which we administer read together or the specific statute
applicable to the parties here alone did not provide for the
rendition of interpretive rulings, and we think they do, the
provisions of the Maine Administrative Procedures Act, 5 M.R.S.A.
 8051 and 9001 (1989 & Supp. 1992), clearly permit the Board to
provide interpretive or "advisory" rulings on request and require
that the Board prescribe rules governing them.

     Accordingly, we conclude that we would be statutorily
empowered to render an interpretive ruling in this matter were we
so disposed.  We decline to render the requested interpretive
ruling because the issues propounded are presently pending
resolution in the Superior Court, in accordance with 26 M.R.S.A.
 979-M (1988).  To do otherwise would permit a substitution
clearly prohibited by Rule 7.09.

     Therefore, we hereby decline to render the interpretive
ruling requested by the MSEA.

Issued at Augusta, Maine, this 18th day of March, 1993.
                                 MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
                                 Peter T. Dawson
                                 Howard Reiche, Jr.
                                 Employer Representative
                                 George W. Lambertson
                                 Employee Representative