15:0060(14)RA - FAA, Aviation Standards National Field Office and AFGE Locals 2123, 2335, 2555, 3028, 3433, NAFSE, NAGE Local R8-14, NFFE Local 1340 -- 1984 FLRAdec RP



[ v15 p60 ]
15:0060(14)RA
The decision of the Authority follows:


 15 FLRA No. 14
 
 FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
 AVIATION STANDARDS NATIONAL FIELD OFFICE
 Activity/Petitioner
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2123
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2335
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 2555
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 3028
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 3433
 
 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT
 STANDARDS EMPLOYEES
 
 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL R8-14
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1340
 Labor Organizations
 
                                            Case No. 6-RA-20004
 
                    DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNITS
 
    Upon a petition duly filed under section 7111(b)(2) of the Federal
 Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), a hearing was
 held before a hearing officer of the Authority.  The hearing officer's
 rulings are free from prejudicial error and are hereby affirmed.
 
    Upon the entire record in this case, including the parties'
 contentions, the Authority finds:
 
    The petition herein was filed by the Activity pursuant to section
 2422.2(b) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations on the basis that an
 internal agency reorganization substantially changed the character and
 scope of nine existing bargaining units so as to render them no longer
 appropriate for the purpose of exclusive recognition under the Statute.
 /1/ The issue before the Authority is whether the record supports the
 Activity's contention that the reorganization substantially changed the
 scope and character of the nine existing bargaining units in question.
 
    The record reveals that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is
 organizationally comprised, in part, of a number of regions which, along
 with the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, report
 directly to the FAA Administrator.  There are also a number of offices,
 services and a Technical Center in Atlantic City which report through
 one of five Associate Administrators to the FAA Administrator.  On July
 1, 1982, a reorganization occurred within FAA under which several
 existing components were administratively transferred into a new
 Aviation Standards National Field Office (AVN).  Headquartered in
 Oklahoma City, AVN is a tenant organization of the Mike Monroney
 Aeronautical Center (Aeronautical Center).  The mission of AVN is to
 promote safety of flight by assuring the adequacy and accuracy of air
 navigation facilities;  to develop and standardize flight procedures;
 to provide for the maintenance and engineering of the FAA aircraft
 fleet;  and to provide regulatory and standards development.
 Organizationally, AVN consists of an Office of the Director;  an
 Executive Staff;  and three divisions-- Regulatory Support, Flight
 Programs, and Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering.  Each division
 contains various subordinate branches, and the Flight Programs Division
 also contains eleven Flight Inspection Field Offices (FIFOs) at various
 locations worldwide.  The establishment of AVN brought together several
 components of the FAA which contained the units of exclusive recognition
 that are the subject of the petition herein.  Specifically, AVN
 organizationally merged 585 positions of the Flight Standards National
 Field Office (FSNFO), including its ten FIFOs, which previously had been
 located in the Office of Flight Operations;  approximately 60 positions
 in the Aircraft Services Branch, physically located in and formerly
 organizationally a component of the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic
 City, New Jersey;  319 positions of the Aircraft Services Base at the
 Aeronautical Center;  and 58 positions from both the Flight Inspection
 District Office and Maintenance Base located in FAA's Alaskan Region.
 In sum, 1021 positions were administratively transferred into AVN.
 
    As noted above, nine units of exclusive recognition existed in the
 FAA components which were administratively transferred to form AVN.
 Four unions represent the nine units as follows:  the National
 Association of Flight Standards Employees (NAFSE), certified as the
 exclusive representative on July 31, 1978, represents in a single unit
 various employees of the Regulatory Support and Flight Programs
 Divisions, formerly located in FSNFO, as well as employees of the
 Atlantic City, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Seattle FIFOs,
 and certain employees of the Atlantic FIFO;  the American Federation of
 Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE) Local 2123, which was granted
 recognition on June 14, 1963, represents a unit of employees at the
 Atlanta FIFO Maintenance Base;  AFGE Local 3433, certified on November
 26, 1973, represents a unit of employees at the Battle Creek FIFO;  AFGE
 Local 2555, recognized on January 3, 1968, represents employees of the
 Honolulu and Tokyo FIFOs in a single unit;  AFGE Local 2335 was
 certified on September 14, 1976, and represents aircraft inspection
 personnel at the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City;  the National
 Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local 1340, certified on August
 17, 1979, represents a unit consisting of 760 employees at the Technical
 Center in Atlantic City, approximately 60 of whom were organizationally
 transferred to AVN;  the National Association of Government Employees
 (NAGE) Local R8-14, recognized on May 19, 1969, represents a unit of
 wage grade employees at the Aircraft Services Base, located at the
 Aeronautical Center;  and AFGE Local 3028 represents two units in the
 Alaskan Region-- aircraft mechanics at the Anchorage Aircraft
 Maintenance Base, recognized on September 10, 1968, and employees of the
 Anchorage FIFO, which unit was granted recognition on June 10, 1966.
 
    The Activity takes the position that these nine bargaining units are
 no longer appropriate as a result of the reorganization which
 established AVN for the following reasons:  the Activity's components
 which had granted exclusive recognition with respect to the foregoing
 bargaining units no longer exist following the reorganization;  the
 employees in each of the units do not share a community of interest
 separate and distinct from the employees in the other units or from
 other AVN employees;  and the administration of nine separate units with
 potentially as many different collective bargaining agreements would not
 promote effective dealings and efficiency of agency operations.  The
 Activity further argues that a unit consisting of all eligible AVN
 employees would constitute an appropriate unit under the Statute.  The
 unions argue essentially that the reorganization did not change the
 scope and character of the existing units so as to render them
 inappropriate for purposes of exclusive recognition.
 
    Section 7135(a)(1) of the Statute provides for the continuation of
 exclusive recognitions in existence before the effective date of the
 Statute.  /2/ Where an agency seeks to challenge the continuation of an
 exclusively recognized unit, it may do so by filing a petition pursuant
 to the Authority's Rules and Regulations, such as that filed by the
 Activity herein under section 2422.2(b), set forth at n.1, supra.  In
 the instant case, the Activity claimed that an internal reorganization
 had rendered inappropriate nine preexisting units of exclusive
 recognition.  The Authority therefore must determine, based on the
 record evidence, whether the reorganization has substantially changed
 the character and scope of any of the units so that the Activity is no
 longer required to recognize the incumbent labor organization(s) as the
 exclusive representative(s) of the employees in such unit(s).  See,
 e.g., Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Mid-Atlantic
 Regional Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 11 FLRA No. 104 (1983).
 See also Western Regional Office, National Park Service, San Francisco,
 California, 10 FLRA No. 86 (1982).  The effect of the reorganization on
 each unit in question will be examined in turn below.
 
    As noted above, the creation of AVN merged four existing
 organizational components.  First, with regard to the Flight Standards
 National Field Office, the record indicates that prior to the
 reorganization, this component was located in the Office of Flight
 Operations and consisted of seven branches and ten FIFOs (all those
 which are currently in existence with the exception of the Anchorage
 FIFO).  Units of exclusive recognition existed in certain branches and
 the ten FIFOs by the unions which continued to represent the employees
 after the reorganization.  /3/ Additionally, the record indicates that
 certain of these units existed in FSNFO's predecessor, so that several
 of the units which were transferred to AVN and which the Activity claims
 to be no longer appropriate as a result of the establishment of AVN
 existed in two predecessor organizations.
 
    Prior to the reorganization, FSNFO reported to the Associate
 Administrator for Aviation Standards who reported to the FAA
 Administrator.  Personnel services for FSNFO employees were provided by
 the Aeronautical Center and FSNFO constituted a separate employing
 jurisdiction.  Policy guidance for FSNFO was provided by the Office of
 Flight Operations.  Following the reorganization, the employees formerly
 in FSNFO and now in AVN continue to be serviced by the Aeronautical
 Center, and AVN similarly reports to the Associate Administrator for
 Aviation Standards who reports to the FAA Administrator.  Policy
 guidance continues to be provided by the Office of Flight Operations.
 In terms of working conditions, the record further reveals that the
 employees of the former FSNFO continue to perform the same duties, under
 the same immediate supervision, and in the same physical location as
 prior to the reorganization.  The competitive area for
 reductions-in-force is the local commuting area, as is the area of
 consideration for certain merit promotion positions.  The area of
 consideration for other merit promotion positions is AVN-wide.
 
    In the Authority's view, the scope and character of the units of
 exclusive recognition represented by AFGE Local 2123 at the Atlanta FIFO
 Maintenance Base;  AFGE Local 3433 at the Battle Creek FIFO;  and NAFSE
 in the Regulatory Support and Flight Programs Divisions, the Atlantic
 City, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Seattle FIFOs and part of
 the Atlanta FIFO were not substantially changed by the reorganization
 which resulted in the establishment of AVN.  Thus, the units of
 employees previously represented in FSNFO were transferred intact into
 AVN;  the employees continue to be serviced by the Aeronautical Center;
 have the same overall reporting structure;  receive policy guidance from
 the same office;  and the employees perform the same duties under the
 same immediate supervision and in the same physical location as they did
 prior to the reorganization.  Under these circumstances, the Authority
 finds that the reorganization did not substantially change the character
 and scope of these existing units and that they should continue to be
 exclusively represented by AFGE Local 2123, AFGE Local 3433 and NAFSE,
 respectively.  /4/
 
    With regard to the employees in the Tokyo and Honolulu FIFOs, the
 record reveals that they have been represented, along with other
 employees located elsewhere in the Pacific, in a single unit by AFGE
 Local 2555 since 1968.  In 1981, the employees assigned to the Tokyo and
 Honolulu FIFOs were transferred into FSNFO and thereafter into AVN.
 Prior to 1981, the employees in the Tokyo and Honolulu FIFOs were part
 of FAA's Western-pacific Region.  As such, they reported through the
 Region to the FAA Administrator, were in the Region's employing
 jurisdiction and were serviced by the Region's personnel division.
 Since the establishment of AVN, these employees are now assigned to
 AVN's Flight Programs Division, have a different reporting structure,
 are in a different employing jurisdiction and are serviced by a
 different personnel office.  In view of these factors, the Authority
 finds that the unit of employees represented by AFGE Local 2555 must be
 clarified to exclude those employees assigned to the Tokyo and Honolulu
 FIFOs.  /5/ In so concluding, the Authority does not pass upon whether
 the unit represented by AFGE Local 2555, excluding such employees,
 continues to be appropriate for the purpose of exclusive recognition
 inasmuch as that question has not been raised herein and the record
 therefore contains insufficient evidence on which to base a
 determination.
 
    The second component which was merged into AVN consisted of two units
 of employees represented by AFGE Local 3028 and located in FAA's Alaskan
 Region:  The Aircraft Maintenance Unit which was recognized in 1968 and
 the Anchorage FIFO originally recognized in 1966.  When AVN was created,
 these two units of employees were established as the Anchorage FIFO
 which is organizationally a part of AVN's Flight Programs Division, as
 are the other ten FIFOs, and which now reports through Flight Programs
 to the Director of AVN who in turn reports to the FAA Administrator.
 Prior to the reorganization, the employees reported through the Region
 to the FAA Administrator, were serviced by the Region's personnel
 division, and were in the Region's employing jurisdiction.  Now, the
 employees are serviced by the Aeronautical Center for personnel and
 labor relations matters;  are in a different employing jurisdiction;
 are subject to different personnel policies and practices;  have
 different reporting lines and different overall supervision;  and have a
 new and expanded mission.  Based upon the foregoing, the Authority finds
 that the reorganization has substantially changed the character and
 scope of these units so that the Activity is no longer obligated to
 recognize AFGE Local 3028 as the exclusive representative of such units.
 
    The third component to become a part of AVN was the Aircraft Services
 Base in which NAGE Local R8-14 has represented a unit of wage grade
 employees since 1969.  Located physically in and formerly
 organizationally a component of the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in
 Oklahoma City, the Aircraft Services Base was essentially reconstituted
 in AVN as part of the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Division, one
 of AVN's three divisions.  Additionally, two units which were formerly
 assigned to the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, and which will be
 discussed more fully below, were transferred organizationally into this
 Division.  The Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Division has
 technical authority over the maintenance functions performed in the
 FIFOs.  One branch of the Division (AVN-310) performs this function for
 nine FIFOs, which another branch (AVN-350) performs the function for the
 Atlantic City FIFO, and yet a third branch (AVN-330) handles the
 Oklahoma City FIFO.  Additionally, this Division has expanded the scope
 of its responsibilities by exercising a maintenance function over
 additional FAA aircraft.  Prior to the reorganization, the Aircraft
 Services Base reported to the Director of the Aeronautical Center who
 reported to the FAA Administrator.  The reorganization altered this
 reporting line so that now the Division reports to the Director of AVN
 who reports to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Standards who in
 turn reports to the Administrator.  Both before and after the
 reorganization, the Aeronautical Center provided personnel services,
 although the employees were a part of the Aircraft Services Base
 employing jurisdiction prior to the reorganization, while they are now a
 part of AVN's employing jurisdiction.
 
    The Authority finds that the reorganization has substantially altered
 the character and scope of this unit.  Thus, the employees now report to
 a different supervisory structure, are in a different employing
 jurisdiction, have expanded responsibilities, and are assigned to a
 division together with other AVN employees.  Under these circumstances,
 the Authority finds that the Activity is under no obligation to continue
 to recognize NAGE Local R8-14 as the exclusive representative in this
 unit.
 
    The fourth component from which employees were transferred into AVN
 is the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  As noted
 previously, there were two units of exclusive recognition which were
 affected by the transfer:  a unit of employees represented by AFGE Local
 2335;  and approximately 60 employees in a larger unit represented by
 NFFE Local 1340, which continues to represent the approximately 700
 employees who did not functionally transfer into AVN.  Although
 physically located at the Technical Center, these employees were
 organizationally transferred into the Aircraft Maintenance and
 Engineering Division, which, as noted above, also contains employees
 previously assigned to the Aircraft Services Base.  Prior to the
 reorganization, the Personnel Management Division at the Technical
 Center provided personnel and labor relations services to the employees
 in these units, whereas the Aeronautical Center is now performing this
 function.  Additionally, these employees, who were previously part of
 the Technical Center employing jurisdiction, are now a part of the AVN
 employing jurisdiction.  The reporting lines are different inasmuch as
 the employees currently report through AVN to the Administrator, whereas
 previously they had reported through the Technical Center to the
 Associate Administrator for Development and Logistics who then reported
 to the Administrator.
 
    In the Authority's view, the character and scope of the unit of
 employees represented by AFGE Local 2335 was substantially changed as a
 result of the reorganization and the Activity is no longer obligated to
 recognize Local 2335 as the exclusive representative of such unit.
 Thus, the employees are in a different employing jurisdiction, are
 serviced by a different personnel office, have a different reporting
 structure, and are functionally merged with other AVN employees.  As to
 the unit of employees represented by NFFE Local 1340, the Authority
 finds that such unit must be clarified to exclude therefrom the
 approximately 60 employees who were organizationally transferred into
 AVN.  Thus, such employees have been placed in a different employing
 jurisdiction, are serviced by a different personnel office, have a
 different reporting structure, and are functionally merged with other
 AVN employees.
 
    To summarize, the Authority finds that following the establishment of
 AVN, the units of exclusive recognition represented by AFGE Local 2123
 in the Atlanta FIFO Maintenance Base;  AFGE Local 3433 in the Battle
 Creek FIFO;  and NAFSE in the Regulatory Support and Flight Programs
 Divisions, the Atlantic City, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and
 Seattle FIFOs, and part of the Atlanta FIFO, remain substantially
 unchanged and that the Activity is required to continue to recognize
 them for the purpose of exclusive recognition under the Statute.
 Accordingly, the RA petition shall be dismissed with respect to these
 units.  The Authority further finds that the reorganization has
 substantially changed the character and scope of the two units
 represented by AFGE Local 3028 in the Anchorage FIFO;  NAGE Local R8-14
 in the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Division;  and AFGE Local
 2335 in the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Division, and therefore
 the Activity is no longer required to recognize the respective labor
 organizations as the exclusive representatives of the employees in those
 units.  Accordingly, the petition shall be granted with respect to these
 units.  Additionally, with regard to these units, the evidence presented
 was insufficient to establish that, as a result of the reorganization,
 the employees previously represented in such units had been added or
 accreted to any remaining units or exclusive recognition, or that they
 had been combined with other employees so as to create a new appropriate
 unit warranting an election.  /6/ Finally, the Authority shall clarify
 the unit represented by AFGE Local 2555 to exclude employees of the
 Tokyo and Honolulu FIFOs, and the unit represented by NFFE Local 1340 to
 exclude employees organizationally transferred into AVN.  /7/
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the petition in Case No. 6-RA-20004
 challenging the continued appropriateness of the unit of employees
 assigned to the Aircraft Maintenance Unit in Anchorage, Alaska, for
 which the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3028 was
 granted recognition in 1968;  the unit of employees in the Anchorage,
 Alaska, Flight Inspection District Office, for which the American
 Federation of Government Employees, Lodge (Local) 3028 was granted
 recognition in 1966;  the unit of wage grade employees in the Aircraft
 Services Base, for which the National Association of Government
 Employees, Local R8-14 was granted recognition in 1969;  and the unit of
 General Schedule employees in the Quality Control Section, Aviation
 Facilities Division, National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center,
 Atlantic City, New Jersey, for which the American Federation of
 Government Employees, Local 2335 was certified on September 14, 1976,
 be, and it hereby is, granted.
 
    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the unit of employees assigned to the
 Tokyo and Honolulu Flight Inspection Groups, the Manila Avionics
 Maintenance and Calibration Unit, and the Aircraft Management Branch,
 for which the American Federation of Government Employees, Lodge (Local)
 2555 was granted recognition on January 3, 1968, be clarified to exclude
 therefrom the employees assigned to the Tokyo and Honolulu Flight
 Inspection Field Offices in the Aviation Standards National Field
 Office.
 
    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the consolidated unit of nonprofessional
 employees of the staff and line divisions of the National Aviation
 Facilities Experimental Center, for which the National Federation of
 Federal Employees, Local 1340 was certified on August 7, 1979, be
 clarified to exclude therefrom the employees assigned to the Aviation
 Standards National Field Office.
 
    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the petition in Case No. 6-RA-20004 to the
 extent that it challenges the continued appropriateness of the
 bargaining units represented by the American Federation of Government
 Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 2123, the American Federation of Government
 Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 3433;  and the National Association of Flight
 Standards Employees be, and it hereby is, dismissed.
 
    Issued, Washington, D.C., June 8, 1984
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, C