28:0892(116)RO - NFFE, LOCAL 1296 VS AIR FORCE, AIR FORCE BASE, COL
[ v28 p892 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
28 FLRA NO. 116 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, MISSISSIPPI Activity and FEDERAL FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION, INDEPENDENT, LOCAL 57 Petitioner and NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1296 Intervenor Case No. 4-RO-70019
I. Statement of the Case
This case is before the Authority on a timely application for review filed by the Federal Firefighters Association, Independent, Local 57 (FFA) pursuant to section 2422.17(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. The application seeks review of the Regional Director's Decision and Order on FFA's petition for certification of representative. The Activity filed an opposition to FFA's application for review.
A. Regional Director's Decision
The FFA sought to represent a unit of all nonprofessional General Schedule employees of the Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, Fire Department, including Fire Captains and supervisory firefighters, GS-6. Since 1971, these employees have been part of a base-wide unit represented by the National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1296 (NFFE).
The Regional Director dismissed FFA's petition. She found that the established base-wide bargaining unit remained appropriate and that no unusual circumstances were present to justify the severance of the petitioned-for employees from the established bargaining unit. In support of her determination, the Regional Director cited Authority precedent, including the Authority's decision in Library of Congress, 16 FLRA 429 (1984).
B. Application for Review
In its application, FFA contends that compelling reasons exist within the meaning of section 2422.17(c) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations for granting its application. First, the FFA contends that the Regional Director's decision represents a departure from Authority precedent. In support of its position, FFA cites the Authority's decisions in Department of the Navy, Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia, 14 FLRA 702 (1984) and Panama Canal Commission, 5 FLRA 104 (1981). Second, FFA contends that the Regional Director's decision rests on the unsubstantiated and erroneous factual conclusion that NFFE fairly and adequately represents the petitioned-for employees. Finally, FFA essentially contends that the Authority should reconsider its policy requiring "unusual circumstances" to justify separating a unit. It argues that such an approach substantially interferes with the employees' right to determine h