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 EST