Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Dallas, Texas



[ v02 p900 ]
02:0900(111)AS
The decision of the Authority follows:


 2 flra No. 111
 
 MR. ROBERT E. EDWARDS
 ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL
 CHIEF, LABOR RELATIONS LAW BRANCH
 DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND THE AIR FORCE
 HEADQUARTERS, ARMY AND AIR FORCE
 EXCHANGE SERVICE
 DALLAS, TEXAS 75222
 
                                 RE:  ARMY AND AIR FORCE EXCHANGE
                                      SERVICE, DALLAS, TEXAS, A/SLMR
                                      No. 1163, FLRA No. 0-AS-11
 
    DEAR MR. EDWARDS:
 
    THE AUTHORITY HAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED YOUR PETITION FOR REVIEW AND
 REQUEST FOR A STAY OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION IN THE
 ABOVE-ENTITLED CASE.
 
    IN THIS CASE, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (THE
 UNION) FILED A PETITION SEEKING TO CONSOLIDATE 13 SEPARATE BARGAINING
 UNITS EXCLUSIVELY REPRESENTED BY CERTAIN OF ITS CONSTITUENT LOCALS AT
 ELEMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE EXCHANGE SERVICE (AAFES).  THE
 CONSOLIDATED UNIT SOUGHT WOULD CONSIST OF ALL NONPROFESSIONAL AAFES
 EMPLOYEES EXCLUSIVELY REPRESENTED BY THE UNION IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED
 STATES.
 
    THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, AFTER REVIEWING THE MISSION, FUNCTIONS,
 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS OF AAFES, FOUND THE PROPOSED
 CONSOLIDATED UNIT WAS APPROPRIATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXCLUSIVE
 RECOGNITION UNDER THE ORDER.  IN SO FINDING, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY
 REFERRED TO SEVERAL COUNCIL DECISIONS INVOLVING THE CONSOLIDATION OF
 BARGAINING UNITS IN WHICH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S ESTABLISHMENT OF A
 PRESUMPTION FAVORING CONSOLIDATIONS WAS CONSTRUED "* * * AS A
 RECOGNITION AND AFFIRMATION OF THE STRONG POLICY IN THE FEDERAL
 LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS PROGRAM OF FACILITATING CONSOLIDATION.  . . .
 " /1/ HE ALSO NOTED THE COUNCIL'S INDICATION, IN THOSE DECISIONS, THAT
 SUCH AFFIRMATION ACCURATELY REFLECTS THE POLICY SET FORTH IN THE
 COUNCIL'S 1975 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO FACILITATE THE
 CONSOLIDATION OF EXISTING UNITS WHICH CONFORM TO THE APPROPRIATE UNIT
 CRITERIA CONTAINED IN SECTION 10(B) OF THE ORDER.
 
    BASED UPON THE FOREGOING POLICY CONSIDERATIONS AND THE PARTICULAR
 FACTS OF THE INSTANT CASE, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY CONCLUDED THAT THE
 PROPOSED CONSOLIDATED UNIT WAS APPROPRIATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXCLUSIVE
 RECOGNITION UNDER THE ORDER.  IN THIS REGARD HE STATED:
 
    THUS, * * * THE UNIT SOUGHT ENCOMPASSES ALL THE EMPLOYEES WITHIN THE
 AAFES REPRESENTED BY
 
    THE (UNION) AND ALL OF THE VARIOUS UNITS ALONE, OR IN COMBINATION,
 CONTAIN ESSENTIALLY ALL THE
 
    NONPROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES AT THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES INVOLVED.
 ADDITIONALLY, IT IS NOTED THAT
 
    ALL THE EMPLOYEES WITHIN THE PETITIONED FOR CONSOLIDATED UNIT SHARE A
 COMMON MISSION, COMMON
 
    OVERALL SUPERVISION, ESSENTIALLY SIMILAR JOB CLASSIFICATIONS AND
 WORKING CONDITIONS, SIMILAR
 
    PERSONNEL AND LABOR RELATIONS POLICIES AND PRACTICES AS DELEGATED IN
 ACCORDANCE WITH THE
 
    AAFES' DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY.
 
    UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, I FIND THAT THE EMPLOYEES IN THE
 PETITIONED FOR UNIT SHARE A
 
    CLEAR AND IDENTIFIABLE COMMUNITY OF INTEREST.
 
    I FIND FURTHER THAT THE PETITIONED FOR CONSOLIDATED UNIT WILL PROMOTE
 EFFECTIVE DEALINGS
 
    AND EFFICIENCY OF AGENCY OPERATIONS.  THUS, THE RECORD REFLECTS THAT
 HEADQUARTERS, AAFES,
 
    THROUGH AAFES REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED BY THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY
 AND AIR FORCE, AND
 
    THROUGH THE PROMULGATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF ITS OWN EXCHANGE
 SERVICE MANUAL, EFFECTIVELY
 
    DEVELOPS AGENCY POLICY IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO AAFES PERSONNEL
 POLICIES AND PRACTICES,
 
    INCLUDING REDUCTION-IN-FORCE, HIRING, PROMOTIONS AND WAGE AND SALARY
 DETERMINATIONS, ETC.,
 
    WHICH ARE THEN DISSEMINATED TO THE FIELD FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THOSE
 POLICIES WITHIN THE LOCAL
 
    FRAMEWORK.  MOREOVER, ALTHOUGH THE RECORD REFLECTS THAT EACH REGION,
 WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE
 
    ALAMO REGION, HAS A LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST WHO HANDLES LABOR
 RELATIONS FOR THAT REGION,
 
    THE EVIDENCE ESTABLISHES THAT ALL AGREEMENTS MUST BE APPROVED BY THE
 GENERAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE
 
    LOCATED AT AAFES HEADQUARTERS.  IN ADDITION, THE GENERAL COUNSEL'S
 OFFICE ADVISES THE REGIONAL
 
    LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALISTS ON TECHNICAL MATTERS AND, IN THE CASE OF
 THE ALAMO REGION,
 
    REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL HANDLE THE ACTUAL NEGOTIATIONS
 FOR THAT REGION.  FIELD
 
    EXCHANGES MUST NOTIFY THE GENERAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE WHEN REQUESTS ARE
 MADE TO NEGOTIATE NEW
 
    AGREEMENTS OR TO MODIFY EXISTING AGREEMENTS, WHEN REQUESTS ARE MADE
 TO USE THE SERVICES OF THE
 
    FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE OR THE FEDERAL SERVICE
 IMPASSES PANEL, WHEN
 
    NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES ARE APPEALED TO THE COUNCIL, OR WHEN
 APPLICATIONS FOR A DECISION ON
 
    GRIEVABILITY OR ARBITRABILITY ARE FILED WITH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY.
 FURTHERMORE, WHEN
 
    NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS PROVIDE FOR AUTOMATIC RENEWAL UPON APPROPRIATE
 NOTICE, SUCH NOTICES MAY
 
    NOT ISSUE WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE.  THE
 RECORD SHOWS THAT THE
 
    AAFES AND THE (UNION) HAVE NEGOTIATED SIX SEPARATE AND TWO MULTI-UNIT
 AGREEMENTS COVERING 11
 
    OF THE UNITS AT THE INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITIES INVOLVED HEREIN, AND THAT
 THERE IS A HIGH DEGREE OF
 
    COMMONALITY BETWEEN THE AGREEMENTS IN THAT MANY OF THE INDIVIDUAL
 SUBJECTS ARE DEALT WITH
 
    UNIFORMLY.  THUS, ALTHOUGH THE AAFES CONTENDS THAT THE AUTHORITY TO
 NEGOTIATE AGREEMENTS HAS
 
    BEEN DELEGATED TO THE REGIONS IN ORDER TO TAILOR LOCAL AGREEMENTS TO
 THE PARTICULAR NEEDS OF
 
    THE REGION, AREA, BASE, OR POST EXCHANGE, THE RECORD SHOWS A PATTERN
 OF UNIFORMITY WITHIN THE
 
    NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS.
 
    UNDER ALL OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, I FIND THAT EFFECTIVE DEALINGS AND
 EFFICIENCY OF AGENCY
 
    OPERATIONS WOULD BE PROMOTED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PROPOSED
 CONSOLIDATED UNIT AND THAT
 
    AAFES LABOR RELATIONS POLICIES COULD REMAIN ESSENTIALLY THE SAME, AS
 EVIDENCED BY THE
 
    UNIFORMITY IN CURRENT CONTRACT PROVISIONS, AND MIGHT WELL BE ENHANCED
 IF THE PROPOSED
 
    CONSOLIDATED UNIT WERE EFFECTUATED.  IN THIS LATTER REGARD, REGIONAL
 LABOR RELATIONS
 
    SPECIALISTS AND OTHER FIELD PERSONNEL SPECIALISTS COULD CONTINUE TO
 PROVIDE INPUT INTO THE
 
    NEGOTIATING PROCESS AND THE PARTICULAR NEEDS OF INDIVIDUAL FIELD
 EXCHANGES COULD BE SATISFIED
 
    BY THE USE OF LOCAL SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENTS.  MOREOVER, I FIND THAT
 AS THE PROPOSED
 
    CONSOLIDATED UNIT, COVERING ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES REPRESENTED BY THE
 (UNION) IN THE AAFES WILL
 
    PROVIDE FOR BARGAINING IN A SINGLE UNIT, RATHER THAN IN THE EXISTING
 13 BARGAINING UNITS, IT
 
    WILL PROMOTE A MORE COMPREHENSIVE BARGAINING UNIT STRUCTURE AND IS
 CONSISTENT WITH THE POLICY
 
    OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER SET FORTH ABOVE. (FOOTNOTES OMITTED.)
 
    IN THE ACTIVITY'S PETITION FOR REVIEW IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION RAISES MAJOR POLICY ISSUES. SPECIFICALLY,
 REVIEW IS REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING FOUR GROUNDS:
 
    1.  THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION ERRS BECAUSE IT FAILS TO
 ACCORD PROPER WEIGHT TO
 
    APPROPRIATE UNIT CRITERIA AS REQUIRED BY CONTROLLING PRINCIPLES OF
 UNIT DETERMINATION.
 
    2.  THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION ERRS IN ITS APPLICATION OF
 UNIT CRITERIA BECAUSE IN
 
    ITS ANALYSIS OF "COMMUNITY OF INTEREST" THE ELEMENTS CHOSEN FOR
 EXAMINATION FAIL TO DELINEATE
 
    ANY "CLEAR AND IDENTIFIABLE" INTEREST OTHER THAN THOSE COMMON
 EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS
 
    SHARED BY ALL AAFES EMPLOYEES AND BECAUSE NEITHER "EFFECTIVE
 DEALINGS" (N)OR "EFFICIENCY OF
 
    AGENCY OPERATIONS" (IS) SERVED BY CONSOLIDATION.
 
    3.  THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION ERRS IN GIVING WEIGHT TO THE
 FACT THAT AGREEMENTS
 
    ARE APPROVED AT THE AAFES GENERAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE BECAUSE SUCH
 APPROVAL HAS NO MORE
 
    SIGNIFICANCE THAN PUTTING INTO PRACTICE THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 15
 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491.
 
    4.  THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION HERE RAISES THE IDENTICAL
 ISSUES THAT WERE RAISED IN
 
    (VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, A/SLMR NO. 1016,) FLRC NO. 78A-123 WHICH
 THE AUTHORITY CURRENTLY HAS
 
    UNDER REVIEW AS HAVING PRESENTED MAJOR POLICY ISSUES AND ON WHICH A
 STAY WAS ORDERED PENDING
 
    CONSIDERATION OF THE ISSUES RAISED.
 
    IN THE AUTHORITY'S OPINION, THE ACTIVITY'S PETITION FOR REVIEW OF THE
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION DOES NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION
 2400.2 OF THE AUTHORITY'S TRANSITION RULES AND REGULATIONS WHICH
 INCORPORATES BY REFERENCE SECTION 2411.12 OF THE COUNCIL'S RULES.  THAT
 IS, THE DECISION OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY DOES NOT PRESENT ANY MAJOR
 POLICY ISSUES AND IT IS NEITHER ALLEGED, NOR DOES IT OTHERWISE APPEAR,
 THAT HIS DECISION IS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS.
 
    WITH RESPECT TO THE FIRST ALLEGATION, THAT THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY
 FAILED TO ACCORD PROPER WEIGHT TO THE APPROPRIATE UNIT CRITERIA
 CONTAINED IN SECTION 10(B) OF THE ORDER, NO BASIS FOR AUTHORITY REVIEW
 IS THEREBY PRESENTED.  IN THIS REGARD, IT IS NOTED PARTICULARLY THAT THE
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY AFFIRMATIVELY FOUND, BASED ON THE ENTIRE RECORD,
 THAT THE PROPOSED CONSOLIDATED UNIT IN THE INSTANT CASE SATISFIES EACH
 OF THE CRITERIA SPECIFIED IN SECTION 10(B) AND WILL PROMOTE A MORE
 COMPREHENSIVE BARGAINING UNIT STRUCTURE CONSISTENT WITH THE POLICIES OF
 THE ORDER.  AS TO THE SECOND AND THIRD GROUNDS ASSERTED, IN EFFECT THAT
 THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY IMPROPERLY APPLIED THE APPROPRIATE UNIT CRITERIA
 TO THE FACTS IN THIS CASE, SUCH ASSERTION CONSTITUTES ESSENTIALLY
 NOTHING MORE THAN MERE DISAGREEMENT WITH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S
 FINDING, BASED UPON ALL OF THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES PRESENTED, THAT
 THE PROPOSED CONSOLIDATED UNIT IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF
 EXCLUSIVE RECOGNITION UNDER THE ORDER.  ACCORDINGLY, NO BASIS FOR REVIEW
 IS THEREBY PRESENTED.  FINALLY, NO MAJOR POLICY ISSUE IS RAISED HEREIN
 ON THE GROUND THAT THE AUTHORITY ACCEPTED FOR REVIEW THE ASSISTANT
 SECRETARY'S FINDING IN A PREVIOUS DECISION (A/SLMR NO. 1016) THAT THE
 PROPOSED CONSOLIDATED UNIT THEREIN WAS APPROPRIATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF
 EXCLUSIVE RECOGNITION UNDER THE ORDER.  IN SUSTAINING THE ASSISTANT
 SECRETARY'S FINDING IN THAT CASE, /2/ THE AUTHORITY NOTED THAT THE
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY HAD RELIED ON A SERIES OF DECISIONS, ALSO CITED AND
 RELIED ON BY THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY HEREIN (SEE NOTE 1, SUPRA), IN
 WHICH THE COUNCIL DENIED REVIEW OF FINDINGS THAT PROPOSED CONSOLIDATED
 UNITS SIMILAR TO THE ONE INVOLVED HEREIN SATISFIED THE THREE CRITERIA OF
 SECTION 10(B) AND WERE CONSISTENT WITH THE PURPOSES AND POLICIES OF THE
 ORDER.  THE AUTHORITY FURTHER CITED AND QUOTED FROM ITS OWN RECENT
 DECISION IN VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., ASSISTANT
 SECRETARY, CASE NO. 22-08518(UC), 1 FLRA NO. 55 (JUNE 12, 1979), REPORT
 NO. 8, WHICH WAS ALSO ISSUED UNDER THE ORDER, IN CONCLUDING THAT THE
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S FINDING WAS CONSISTENT WITH THE PURPOSES AND
 POLICIES OF THE ORDER.  FOR THE REASONS MORE FULLY STATED IN THAT
 DECISION, AND IN LIGHT OF ESTABLISHED COUNCIL PRECEDENT, THE AUTHORITY
 CONCLUDES THAT THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION IN THE INSTANT CASE
 DOES NOT RAISE A MAJOR POLICY ISSUE WARRANTING AUTHORITY REVIEW.
 
    SINCE THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION PRESENTS NO MAJOR POLICY
 ISSUE AND IT IS NEITHER ALLEGED, NOR DOES IT OTHERWISE APPEAR, THAT HIS
 DECISION IS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS, THE APPEAL FAILS TO MEET THE
 REQUIREMENTS FOR REVIEW AS SET FORTH IN SECTION 2400.2 OF THE
 AUTHORITY'S TRANSITION RULES AND REGULATIONS WHICH INCORPORATES BY
 REFERENCE SECTION 2411.12 OF THE COUNCIL'S RULES.  ACCORDINGLY, THE
 PETITION FOR REVIEW IS HEREBY DENIED, AND THE REQUEST FOR A STAY IS ALSO
 DENIED.  /3/
 
                       RONALD W. HAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN
 
                       HENRY B. FRAZIER III, MEMBER
 
                        LEON B. APPLEWHAITE, MEMBER
 
                     FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
    CC:  P. E. TRAYERS
 
    NAGE
 
    /1/ EDUCATION DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE,
 WASHINGTON, D.C. A/SLMR NO. 822, FLRC NO. 77A-88 (MAR. 1, 1978), REPORT
 NO. 145;  INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, WASHINGTON, D.C. AND NATIONAL
 TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION, A/SLMR NO. 831, FLRC NO 77A-112 (MAR. 1,
 1978), REPORT NO. 145;  AND BUREAU OF FIELD OPERATIONS, OFFICE OF
 PROGRAM OPERATIONS, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF
 HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELF