Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards National Field Office (Activity) and National Association of Flight Standards Employees, Ind. (Labor Organization/Petitioner)

 



[ v04 p799 ]
04:0799(104)CU
The decision of the Authority follows:


 4 FLRA No. 104
 
 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
 FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
 FLIGHT STANDARDS NATIONAL FIELD OFFICE
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT
 STANDARDS EMPLOYEES, IND.
 Labor Organization/Petitioner
 
                                            Case No. 6-CU-15
 
                    DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNIT
 
    UPON A PETITION DULY FILED WITH THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 UNDER SECTION 7111(B)(2) OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT
 RELATIONS STATUTE, 5 U.S.C.  7101-7135, A HEARING WAS HELD BEFORE A
 HEARING OFFICER OF THE AUTHORITY.  THE AUTHORITY HAS REVIEWED THE
 HEARING OFFICER'S RULINGS MADE AT THE HEARING AND FINDS THAT THEY ARE
 FREE FROM PREJUDICIAL ERROR.  THE RULINGS ARE HEREBY AFFIRMED.
 
    UPON THE ENTIRE RECORD IN THE SUBJECT CASE, INCLUDING THE BRIEF FILED
 BY THE ACTIVITY, THE AUTHORITY FINDS:  THE PETITIONER SEEKS TO CLARIFY
 AN EXISTING EXCLUSIVELY RECOGNIZED UNIT /1/ TO INCLUDE AIRSPACE SYSTEM
 INSPECTION PILOTS, HEREAFTER REFERRED TO AS AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS,
 CONTENDING THAT THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT SUPERVISORS WITHIN THE MEANING
 OF SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.  THE ACTIVITY CONTENDS THAT THE
 INCUMBENTS IN THE SUBJECT POSITIONS ARE SUPERVISORS UNDER THE STATUTE,
 AND ON THIS BASIS OPPOSES THEIR INCLUSION IN THE RECOGNIZED UNIT.
 
    THE FLIGHT STANDARDS NATIONAL FIELD OFFICE (FSNFO) CONSISTS OF 612
 EMPLOYEES LOCATED AT THE OKLAHOMA CITY HEADQUARTERS AND AT SEVEN FLIGHT
 INSPECTION FIELD OFFICES (FIFO'S THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.  AMONG THE
 RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FSNFO ARE FLIGHT INSPECTIONS, DURING WHICH
 PROCEDURES ARE DEVELOPED FOR INSTRUMENT APPROACHES AND THE CORRECT
 FUNCTIONING OF NAVIGATIONAL AIDS.  THESE INSPECTIONS ARE CARRIED OUT BY
 FLIGHT CREWS CONSISTING OF A PILOT (THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER), A CO-PILOT,
 AND AN ELECTRONIC TECHNICIAN.  THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 60 AIRCRAFT
 COMMANDERS OF FLIGHT CREWS PERFORMING FLIGHT INSPECTION WORK.
 
    THE RECORD REFLECTS THAT AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS SPEND APPROXIMATELY
 ONE-THIRD OF THEIR TIME ON THE GROUND COMPLETING CLERICAL ASSIGNMENTS
 SUCH AS FILLING IN FLIGHT LOGS AND FILING REPORTS.  DURING THIS TIME
 THEY WORK ALONE AND HAVE NO SUBORDINATES.  THE REMAINDER OF THEIR TIME
 IS SPENT IN FLIGHT INSPECTION MISSIONS DURING WHICH THEY WORK WITH A
 CONSTANTLY CHANGING OR ROTATING FLIGHT CREW CONSISTING OF 1 CO-PILOT AND
 1 TECHNICIAN.  SUCH WORK ASSIGNMENTS ARE MADE BY HEADQUARTERS, AND
 AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS HAVE NO INPUT INTO OR CONTROL OVER THEM.  THE RECORD
 FURTHER REVEALS THAT, BEFORE EMBARKING UPON A MISSION, VARIOUS WEATHER
 AND OPERATIONAL DATA MUST BE OBTAINED.  EACH MEMBER OF THE CREW ASSUMES
 THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR GATHERING SOME PART OF THIS IN INFORMATION ON HIS
 OWN, WITHOUT SUPERVISION.  WHILE IN THE AIR, THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER
 SERVES AS NOMINAL "PILOT-IN-COMMAND," BUT HIS FELLOW CREW MEMBERS ARE
 WELL-TRAINED SPECIALISTS IN THEIR OWN AREAS AND DO NOT REQUIRE OR
 RECEIVE DIRECTION IN THEIR DUTIES FROM THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER.  THE
 PILOT (AIRCRAFT COMMANDER) FLIES THE PLANE, POSITIONING IT OVER EACH
 FACILITY SO THAT THE TECHNICIAN CAN TEST THE INSTRUMENTS.  THE DECISION
 AS TO OPTIMUM POSITION IS MADE JOINTLY.  THE CO-PILOT'S DUTIES CONSIST
 IN THE MAIN OF GROUND COMMUNICATIONS DURING THE FLIGHT.  OFTEN THE PILOT
 AND CO-PILOT TAKES OVER COMMUNICATIONS DUTY.  INTER-CREW COMMUNICATION
 WHILE IN THE AIR IS CONFINED TO ROUTINE AND NECESSARY COORDINATION, AND
 ALL CREW MEMBERS TAKE PART EQUALLY IN THIS COMMUNICATION.  FINALLY, THE
 COMPLETION OF ANY GIVEN FLIGHT INSPECTION MAY OCCASIONALLY REQUIRE AN
 ADDITIONAL 15 MINUTES OR HALF HOUR OF AIR TIME.  HEADQUARTERS IS
 CONSULTED BY THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER BEFORE OVERTIME FOR THE CREW IS
 GRANTED.  IN VERY INFREQUENT CASES, THIS CONSULTATION IS IMPOSSIBLE.
 THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER IN SUCH INSTANCES FOLLOWS PRACTICES AND
 GUIDELINES ESTABLISHED IN MANUALS AND BY HEADQUARTERS IN AUTHORIZING
 CREW OVERTIME.
 
    THE FOREGOING CIRCUMSTANCES DIFFER FROM THE SITUATION THAT EXISTED
 PRIOR TO A MAJOR AGENCY REORGANIZATION IN 1973, /2/ WHEN AN AIRCRAFT
 COMMANDER WOULD BE SCHEDULED TO WORK WITH THE SAME CREW AS MUCH AS
 POSSIBLE AND WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DIRECTING THE WORK OF THAT CREW.
 MOREOVER, THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER NO LONGER REGULARLY REVIEWS CREW
 MEMBERS' PERFORMANCES IN ORDER TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROMOTIONS,
 AWARDS OR TRANSFERS.  IN THIS LATTER REWARD, THE RECORD INDICATES THAT
 ON ONE OCCASION AS AIRCRAFT COMMANDER WAS ASKED FOR HIS OPINION
 CONCERNING A PARTICULAR CREW MEMBER WHO WAS ALREADY UNDER
 CONSIDERATION
 FOR PROMOTION.  THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER WAS NOT ASKED TO RECOMMEND AN
 INDIVIDUAL FROM AMONG A FIELD OF CANDIDATES FOR PROMOTION, BUT SIMPLY TO
 RESPOND TO AN INFORMAL, VERBAL SOLICITATION FROM HIS SUPERVISORS.  THE
 SAME IS TRUE OF THE ONE INSTANCE WHERE AN AIRCRAFT COMMANDER WAS ASKED
 TO COMMENT CONCERNING A CONTEMPLATED AWARD TO AN EMPLOYEE AND ANOTHER
 INSTANCE CONCERNING A PROSPECTIVE TRANSFER OF AN EMPLOYEE.  SIMILARLY,
 THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER NO LONGER ATTENDS THE SUPERVISORY MEETINGS AT
 WHICH PROMOTIONS, AWARDS AND TRANSFERS ARE DISCUSSED.  THE ONLY MEETINGS
 ATTENDED BY AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS ARE PERIODIC STAFF MEETINGS, ALSO
 ATTENDED BY CO-PILOTS AND TECHNICIANS, AT WHICH STRICTLY TECHNICAL
 MATTERS ARE DISCUSSED.
 
    THE AUTHORITY FINDS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD TO ESTABLISH
 THAT THE AIRSPACE SYSTEM INSPECTION PILOTS INVOLVED HEREIN ARE
 SUPERVISORS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.
 THAT DEFINITION PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:  "'SUPERVISOR' MEANS AN
 INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYED BY AN AGENCY HAVING AUTHORITY IN THE INTEREST OF THE
 AGENCY TO HIRE, DIRECT, ASSIGN, PROMOTE, REWARD, TRANSFER, FURLOUGH,
 LAYOFF, RECALL, SUSPEND, DISCIPLINE, OR REMOVE EMPLOYEES, TO ADJUST
 THEIR GRIEVANCES, OR TO EFFECTIVELY RECOMMEND SUCH ACTION, IF THE
 EXERCISE OF THE AUTHORITY IS NOT MERELY ROUTINE OR CLERICAL IN NATURE
 BUT REQUIRES THE CONSISTENT EXERCISE OF INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT. . . . "
 THUS, WHEN ASSESSING AN INDIVIDUAL'S PERFORMANCE WITH REGARD TO THE
 INDICIA OF SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY SPECIFIED IN SECTION 7103(A)(10), THE
 EVIDENCE MUST ESTABLISH BOTH THAT SUCH AUTHORITY IS EXERCISED AND THAT
 THE EXERCISE OF SUCH AUTHORITY IS "NOT MERELY ROUTINE OR CLERICAL IN
 NATURE" BUT INVOLVES "THE CONSISTENT EXERCISE OF INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT."
 IN THE INSTANT CASE, BASED UPON THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH
 ABOVE, THE AUTHORITY CONCLUDES THAT THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS AT ISSUE DO
 NOT EXERCISE ANY OF THE INDICIA OF SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY SPECIFIED IN
 SECTION 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.  THUS, AS PREVIOUSLY STATED,
 AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS NEITHER ASSIGN WORK TO THE OTHER CREW MEMBERS NOR
 DIRECT THEM IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SUCH ASSIGNMENTS.  RATHER, EACH
 FLIGHT CREW MEMBER IS A SPECIALIST IN HIS RESPECTIVE AREA AND PERFORMS
 HIS DUTIES INDEPENDENTLY.  MOREOVER, AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS DO NOT
 RECOMMEND OTHER CREW MEMBERS FOR PROMOTIONS, AWARDS OR TRANSFERS. 
 WHILE
 THE RECORD INDICATES THAT AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS ON RARE OCCASIONS HAVE
 BEEN ASKED TO CONFIRM THE ACTIVITY'S PREVIOUSLY IDENTIFIED CANDIDATE FOR
 PROMOTION, AWARD OR TRANSFER, THEY WERE NEVER ASKED TO MAKE
 RECOMMENDATIONS FROM AMONG SEVERAL CANDIDATES.  IN THE AUTHORITY'S VIEW,
 THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS DID NOT THEREBY "EFFECTIVELY RECOMMEND SUCH
 PROMOTION, AWARD OR TRANSFER ACTION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION
 7103(A)(10) OF THE STATUTE.  SEE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU, MASSACHUSETTS
 AIR NATIONAL GUARD, 3 FLRA NO. 132(1980).  FINALLY, EVEN THOUGH AIRCRAFT
 COMMANDERS OCCASIONALLY APPROVE 15-30 MINUTES OF OVERTIME FOR OTHER CREW
 MEMBERS IN ORDER TO COMPLETE A FLIGHT INSPECTION, SUCH APPROVALS ONLY
 OCCUR WHEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RECEIVE PERMISSION FROM HEADQUARTERS AND
 ARE IN CONFORMITY WITH THE ACTIVITY'S PUBLISHED MANUALS OR ESTABLISHED
 GUIDELINES.  ACCORDINGLY, THEY ARE "ROUTINE IN NATURE." ID.  NOR DOES
 THE RECORD REVEAL THAT AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS EXERCISE ANY OTHER INDICIA OF
 SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY.
 
    IN CONCLUSION, THEREFORE, THE AUTHORITY SHALL ORDER THAT THE
 INCUMBENTS IN THE DISPUTED POSITIONS BE INCLUDED IN THE EXCLUSIVELY
 REPRESENTED UNIT.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT THE UNIT SOUGHT BE CLARIFIED, IN WHICH THE
 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT STANDARDS EMPLOYEES, IND., WAS CERTIFIED
 AS THE EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE ON JULY 31, 1978, BY AND HEREBY IS,
 CLARIFIED BY INCLUDING IN SAID UNIT THE POSITION OF AIRSPACE SYSTEM
 INSPECTION PILOT, GS-13 (AIRCRAFT COMMANDER).
 
    ISSUED, WASHINGTON, D.C., DECEMBER 31, 1980
 
                       RONALD W. HAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN
 
                       HENRY B. FRAZIER III, MEMBER
 
    LEON B. APPLEWHAITE, MEMBER
 
                     FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ THE PETITIONER WAS CERTIFIED AS THE EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVE ON
 JULY 31, 1978, IN A UNIT DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:
 
    INCLUDED:  ALL NON-SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES OF THE FAA FLIGHT STANDARDS
 NATIONAL FIELD OFFICE
 
    (FSNFO).
 
    EXCLUDED:  PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES, MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS, AND
 CONFIDENTIAL EMPLOYEES OF THE
 
    FSNFO ASSIGNED TO THE BATTLE CREEK FLIGHT INSPECTION FIELD OFFICE
 (FIFO), BATTLE CREEK,
 
    MICHIGAN, THE OKLAHOMA CITY FLIGHT INSPECTION FIELD OFFICE (FIFO),
 OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA,
 
    AND THE ATLANTA AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE BASE (AMB), ATLANTA, GEORGIA,
 AND EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN
 
    FEDERAL PERSONNEL WORK IN OTHER THAN A PURELY CLERICAL CAPACITY, AND
 SUPERVISORS AND GUARDS AS
 
    DEFINED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED.
 
    /2/ UNDER THE PRE-REORGANIZATION CIRCUMSTANCES IN 1973, THE ASSISTANT
 SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS HAD FOUND THAT THE
 AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS AT THE BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, FIFO (WHO ARE
 EXPRESSLY EXCLUDED FROM THE UNIT INVOLVED HEREIN) WERE SUPERVISORS
 WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 2(C) OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED.
  SEE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION,
 FLIGHT INSPECTION DISTRICT OFFICE, BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, A/SLMR NO.
 313 (OCT. 1, 1973).  A SUBSEQUENT PETITION TO INCLUDE THE AIRCRAFT
 COMMANDERS WITHIN THE CERTIFIED BARGAINING UNIT WAS DENIED BY THE
 AUTHORITY ON THE BASIS THAT THE PETITIONING UNION IN THAT CASE HAD
 FAILED TO SHOW ANY CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES SINCE THE ORIGINAL
 CERTIFICATION IN 1973.  DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, FEDERAL AVIATION
 ADMINISTRATION, FLIGHT INSPECTION FIELD OFFICE, BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN,
 FLRA CASE NO. 5-CU-17 (OCT. 20, 1980).  BY CREEK, MICHIGAN, FLRA CASE
 NO. 5-CU-17 (OCT. 20, 1980).  BY CONTRAST, THE STATUS OF THE AIRCRAFT
 COMMANDERS INVOLVED IN THE INSTANT CASE, NEVER HAVING BEEN PREVIOUSLY
 DETERMINED, WAS THE SUBJECT OF A FULL AND COMPLETE FACTUAL RECORD
 HEREIN. 
 
 
 

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