34:0223(45)AC - FLORIDA NATIONAL GUARD ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA and NAGE, LOCAL R5-120, SEIU-- 1990 FLRAdec AC



[ v34 p223 ]
34:0223(45)AC
The decision of the Authority follows:


34 FLRA NO. 45


                    FLORIDA NATIONAL GUARD
                    ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA
                          (Activity)

                              and

         NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
                      LOCAL R5-120, SEIU
                (Labor Organization/Petitioner)

                          4-AC-90004

	  ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR REVIEW

     		    January 11, 1990

     Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

     This case is before the Authority on an application for
review filed under section 2422.17(a) of the Authority's
Regulations. The Florida National Guard, St. Augustine, Florida
(the Activity) seeks review of the Regional Director's Decision
and Order on a petition for amendment of recognition filed by the
National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), Local
R5-120, SEIU, AFL - CIO (Local R5-120). NAGE Local R5-120 did not
file an opposition to the application.

     Local R5-120 sought to amend the recognition covering a unit
of Army National Guard Aviation technicians located at Craig
Field, Jacksonville, Florida, to reflect a merger between itself
and NAGE, Local R5-107 (Local R5-107). The Regional Director
granted the petition.

     Inasmuch as the Authority had two vacancies when this
application for review was received, Acting Chairman McKee issued
an Interim Order on November 2, 1989, directing that
consideration of the application be deferred until further 
notice. The Interim Order preserved the parties' rights under the
Federal Service Labor - Management Relations Statute (the
Statute) to Authority consideration of the Regional Director's
decision.

     For the reasons discussed below, the Activity's application
for review is denied.

II. Regional Director's Decision

     NAGE, Local R5-120 represents a unit of approximately 400
Army National Guard technicians located throughout Florida. NAGE
Local R5-107 represents wage grade and general schedule Army
National Guard Aviation Technicians located at Craig Field,
Jacksonville, Florida. Local R5-120 filed a petition to amend the
recognition for the bargaining unit at Craig Field. The petition
sought to change the name of the exclusive representative for the
unit employees at Craig Field from NAGE, Local R5-107 to NAGE,
Local R5-120 "to show a merger" of the two locals. Regional
Director's Decision at 2.

     The Regional Director found that (1) the members of Local
R5-107 were notified by the National Office of NAGE of a special
meeting to discuss the proposed merger with Local R5-120; (2) the
meeting was attended by 9 of the 20 members of Local R5-107; (3)
the special meeting included a discussion of the proposed merger
and a question-and-answer period; and (4)  all members present
voted, by secret ballot, for the merger. Id. The Regional
Director rejected the Activity's assertion that the amendment of
recognition would result in a consolidation of the two bargaining
units. The Regional Director found:

     (T)he Petitioner is not trying to consolidate the units.
Rather, the Petitioner is seeking only to change the name of the
exclusive representative for the unit . . . at Craig Field.
Further, the Army National Guard Technicians and the Army
National Guard Aviation Technicians will continue to be in two
separate bargaining units.

     Id. at 3 (emphasis in original). The Regional Director
granted Local R5-120's petition.

III. Application for Review

     The Activity contends that "mergers are no  longer
authorized" under the Authority's Regulations. Application for
Review at 1. The Activity asserts that the procedures 
for mergers which were set forth in Veterans Administration
Hospital, Montrose, New York and American Federation of
Government Employees, Local 2440, AFL - CIO, 4/ASLMR 859 (1974),
review denied, 3 FLRC 259 (1975) (Montrose) were replaced by the
Authority's Rules and Regulations. The Activity argues that
because "mergers are no  longer condoned," the Regional
Director's Decision and Order is "invalid." Application for
Review at 2.

     The Activity also contests findings of the Regional Director
concerning the procedures followed to effect the merger. First,
the Activity contends that because the National Office of NAGE
did not have "valid mailing addresses" for the NAGE Local R5-107
membership, notice of the special meeting concerning the merger
was not "carried out as reported by the NAGE" to the Regional
Director. Id. at 3. The Activity "suggests that the only
notification to the membership (of Local R5-107) was via posting
of a notice." Id. Second, the Activity contends that the vote for
the merger was taken on slips of paper which were collected and
counted. Id. at 4.  According to the Activity, this procedure
"was not in accordance with established Rules and Regulations."
Id. Third, the Activity contends that although the Regional
Director stated that 9 of 20 Local R5-107 members attended the
special meeting, documents available to the Activity show that
the local had only 15 dues-paying members. Fourth, the Activity
contends that contrary to the Regional Director's finding, Local
R5-107 has a pending grievance in arbitration.

     Finally, the Activity asserts that "a consolidated unit will
not ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among
technicians." Id. at 5. According to the Activity:

     A consolidated unit would not promote effective dealings
with the ACTIVITY because of the organizational structure of the
Florida Army National Guard and the legal constraints imposed by
law. The efficiency of the operations of the ACTIVITY would be
greatly reduced under consolidation. This ACTIVITY therefore
could neither support the proposed consolidation nor join in a
joint petition(.)

     Id.

IV. Analysis and Conclusion

     A. Introduction

     Section 2422.17(c) of the Authority's Regulations provides
that the Authority may grant an application for review "only
where it appears that compelling reasons exist therefor."
Subsections (1) through (4)  of section 2422.17(c) specify the
grounds on which an application for review may be granted. For
the reasons which follow, we conclude that no  compelling reasons
exist within the meaning of section 2422.17(c) of the Authority's
Regulations for granting the Activity's application for review.

     The Activity does not address the grounds in section
2422.17(c) of our Regulations for granting applications for
review. We will assume, for the purpose of this decision, that
(1) the Activity's argument that mergers are not permitted under
the Statute constitutes an allegation that a substantial question
of law or policy is raised by the absence of or departure from
Authority precedent, within the meaning of section 2422.17(c)(1)
of the Regulations; and (2) the Activity's arguments concerning
the Regional Director's factual findings constitute an allegation
that the Regional Director's decision on a substantial factual
issue is clearly erroneous and that the error prejudicially
affects the Activity's rights, within the meaning of section
2422.17(c)(4) of the Regulation. The Activity's argument
concerning the "consolidation" of the bargaining units
represented by Locals R5-107 and R5-120 is, for reasons discussed
below, inapposite.

     B. There is No  Absence of, or Departure From, Precedent

     In Florida National Guard, St. Augustine, Florida, 25 FLRA 
728, 729 (1987) (Florida National Guard), the Authority held that
Montrose "remains in full force and effect because it has not
been revised or superseded by decisions issued pursuant to the
Statute." In addition, the Authority approved the application of
the Montrose procedures to mergers of local unions under the
Statute. Id.

     Consistent with the Authority's decision in Florida National
Guard, we reject the Activity's assertions that mergers are not
authorized under the Statute and that the Montrose procedures do
not apply in this case.  

     C. The Activity Has Not Demonstrated that the Regional
Director's Decision on a Substantial Factual Issue is Clearly
Erroneous

     Montrose requires that the following procedures be followed
to ensure that an amendment of recognition conforms to the
desires of the membership and that no  question concerning
representation exists:

     (1) A proposed change in affiliation should be the subject
of a special meeting of the members of the incumbent labor
organization, called for this purpose only, with adequate advance
notice provided to the entire membership; (2) the meeting should
take place at the time and place convenient to all members; (3)
adequate time for discussion of the proposed change should be
provided, with all members given an opportunity to raise
questions within the bounds of normal parliamentary procedure;
and (4)  a vote by the members of the incumbent labor
organization on the question should be taken by secret ballot,
with the ballot clearly stating the change proposed and the
choices inherent therein.

     Montrose, 4/ASLMR at 860.

     The Regional Director did not specifically find that the
Montrose procedures were followed by Local R5-107. The Regional
Director stated, however, that her investigation disclosed the
following facts:

     1. The National Office of NAGE mailed a notice to the entire
membership of Local R5-107, announcing a special meeting.

     2. The sole subject of the special meeting was the proposed
merger with Local R5-120.

     3. The special meeting took place at Local R5-107's "regular
meeting place(.)"

4.  The special meeting was attended by 9 of the 20 members of
Local R5-107.

     5. The special meeting included discussion of the proposed
merger and a question-and-answer period.

     6. A vote was taken by secret ballot, which clearly stated
the purpose of the vote.

     7. The membership voted unanimously for the merger.

     Regional Director's Decision at 2.

     The Activity disputes the first, fourth, and sixth findings.
First, the Activity "suggests" that a posted notice was the only
information given to Local R5-107's membership about the special
meeting. In addition, the Activity asserts that (1) the Regional
Director erred in stating the number of Local R5-107's members,
and (2) the merger vote was taken on slips of paper. Finally, the
Activity claims that, contrary to the Regional Director's finding
that Local R5-107 did not have any pending grievances being
processed, there is one on-going grievance.

     The Activity has not demonstrated that any of these
contested findings were clearly erroneous. Moreover, the Activity
has not demonstrated that, even if the findings were clearly
erroneous, the findings (1) related to "substantial" factual
issues, and (2) prejudicially affected its rights. We note, in
this regard, that although the Activity alleges that the method
of voting did not comply with "established Rules and
Regulations(,)" the Activity has not (1) specified the
regulations to which it refers, or (2) explained how its
assertion that established regulations were violated is
consistent with its position that "mergers are not even talked
about" in the Authority's Regulations. Application for Review at
2, 4.  Finally, there is nothing in the record of this case to
show that the number of members of Local R5-107 or the number, if
any, of pending grievances is relevant to any issue before us.

     The Activity has not established that the Regional
Director's finding on substantial issues of fact are clearly
erroneous. Therefore, based on those findings, we conclude that
the Montrose procedures were properly followed by Local R5-107 in
effecting the merger.

     D. There Has Been No  Consolidation of Units

     The Regional Director specifically found that "the Army
National Guard Technicians and the Army National Guard Aviation
Technicians will continue to be in two separate bargaining
units." Regional Director's Decision at 3 (emphasis in original).
We agree with the Regional Director. The consolidation of
existing bargaining unit