52:0950(97)CU_RO_AC - - Navy Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, Norfolk Virginia, and Colts Neck NJ and Yorktown, Virginia and AFGE Locals 53, 1659, 2298, 2510 and NAGE local R4-1 and IAM Local Lodge 97 - - 1997 FLRAdec RP - - v52 p950



[ v52 p950 ]
52:0950(97)CU
The decision of the Authority follows:


52 FLRA No. 97

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY

FLEET AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CENTER

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

(Activity)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 53, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization)

and

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS

AND AEROSPACE WORKERS

LOCAL LODGE 97, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL R4-1, SEIU, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 1659, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 2298, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 2510, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization)

WA-CU-50061

WA-CU-50062

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY

FLEET AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CENTER

GOOSE CREEK, SOUTH CAROLINA

(Activity)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 2298, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization/Petitioner)

AT-RO-50027

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY

FLEET AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CENTER

COLTS NECK, NEW JERSEY

(Activity)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 1659, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization)

BN-RO-50022

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY

FLEET AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CENTER

YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA

(Activity)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL R4-1, SEIU, AFL-CIO

(Labor Organization/Petitioner)

WA-AC-50085

_____

DECISION AND ORDER ON REVIEW

February 7, 1997

_____

Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Donald S. Wasserman, Members.

I. Statement of the Case

In U.S. Department of the Navy, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, Norfolk, Virginia, 51 FLRA 1414 (1996) (FISC Norfolk), the Authority granted, in part, applications for review of the Regional Director's (RD's) decision and order filed by the National Association of Government Employees/Service Employees International Union, Local R4-1, AFL-CIO (NAGE Local R4-1) and the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2298, AFL-CIO (AFGE Local 2298). Review was specifically granted as to the following questions:

(1) In a representation case arising from a reorganization where both successorship and accretion principles are claimed to apply to the same employees, how should the Authority resolve the representation issues raised by the petitions?

(2) How, if at all, will any imminent reorganizations affect the employees at the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments whose bargaining unit status is at issue in this case, and should any future reorganization be taken into consideration in resolving this case?

FISC Norfolk, 51 FLRA at 1417.

The Authority also asked the parties to address the representational status of the employees at the Cheatham Annex if they deemed any aspect of that matter to be relevant to the foregoing questions.(1) Interested persons were subsequently given an opportunity to submit briefs as amicus curiae with regard to the first question. 61 Fed. Reg. 35211 (July 5, 1996).

Pursuant to our order granting review and our notice to interested persons, NAGE Local R4-1, AFGE Local 2298, and the U.S. Department of the Navy, Fleet and Industrial Supply Service, Norfolk, Virginia (the Activity), filed supplemental briefs. In addition, amicus curiae briefs were filed by the Office of General Counsel, Federal Labor Relations Authority; the National Association of Government Employees/Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO (NAGE National); and the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE National). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the RD's decision and order.

II. Background and Regional Director's Decision and Order

Pursuant to an agency-wide reorganization designed to consolidate its purchasing and supply functions, the Department of the Navy created the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center in Norfolk, Virginia. As originally structured, the Activity included a headquarters operation at Norfolk, Virginia, and the Cheatham Annex at Williamsburg, Virginia.

The approximately 520 General Schedule (GS) and 330 Wage Grade (WG) employees at Norfolk, Virginia have been represented in separate bargaining units by the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 53, AFL-CIO (AFGE Local 53) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 97, AFL-CIO (IAM Local 97), respectively. GS and WG employees at the Cheatham Annex have been represented in separate bargaining units by AFGE Local 53 and IAM Local 97, respectively.

During a later stage of the reorganization, the Activity established three detachments--Yorktown, Charleston, and Earle(2)--and placed them, organizationally, under its Customer Operations Department. The Yorktown Detachment consists of approximately 26 GS and WG employees who were transferred administratively, but not physically, from the Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown, Virginia, where they were represented by NAGE Local R4-1. The Charleston Detachment consists of approximately 23 GS and WG employees who were transferred administratively, but not physically, from the Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, South Carolina, where they were represented by AFGE Local 2298.

The petitions filed by the Activity sought to clarify the GS and WG units represented by AFGE Local 53 and IAM Local 97, respectively, by establishing that all of the transferred employees, including those from the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments, had accreted to these units. The petition filed by NAGE Local R4-1 argued that the Activity's Yorktown Detachment is a successor employer that must recognize it as the exclusive representative of the employees who were transferred from the Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown, Virginia. The petition filed by AFGE Local 2298 sought an election to retain the employees who were transferred from the Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, South Carolina.

The RD found that all of the transferred employees, including those located at the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments, had accreted to the AFGE Local 53 and IAM Local 97 bargaining units. In so finding, the RD determined that, as a result of the reorganization, the transferred employees had been functionally and organizationally integrated with the employees in the Activity's bargaining units and now "share a community of interest with the [Activity's] employees in the respective bargaining units represented by AFGE Local 53 and IAM Local 97." RD's Decision at 9. The RD also concluded that their inclusion in the Activity's units "will promote effective dealings and efficiency of [Activity] operations . . . [and] reduce the potential for unit fragmentation." Id. at 10.

III. Supplemental Briefs and Briefs Amicus Curiae

A. Resolution of Reorganization Cases Where Both Successorship and Accretion Are Claimed to Apply

With the exception of the Activity, all briefs filed in this case agree that where both successorship and accretion principles are claimed to apply to the same employees affected by a reorganization, first consideration should be given to successorship, rather than to accretion. In particular, NAGE Local R4-1, NAGE National, and the General Counsel point out that a finding of successorship permits a union to retain its status as the exclusive representative of employees who have been acquired by a new employer. They further point out that a finding of accretion places the acquired employees in a new unit, usually with a different representative, thereby altering the relationship between the employees and the exclusive representative they had previously selected. In the General Counsel's view, with which NAGE Local R4-1 and NAGE National agree, an approach that considers successorship first is "consistent with the Authority's goals of minimizing collective bargaining instability and preserving collective bargaining relationships whenever possible." General Counsel's Amicus Curiae Brief at 6. Other specific arguments are set forth below.

1. Labor Organizations

NAGE National also submits that the labor organizations that represent units to which employees are accreted are often geographically distant and unable or unwilling to effectively represent the acquired employees. According to NAGE National, the acquired employees are, consequently, deprived of their representational interests, as well as their "bargained for benefits." NAGE National's Amicus Curiae Brief at 3. AFGE Local 2298 similarly argues that an agency's continuous reorganizations should not be permitted to change the exclusive representative that employees have selected and that the Authority should resolve cases, like the one herein, by granting exclusive recognition to the labor organization that is located "where the representation actually takes place." AFGE Local 2298's Supplemental Brief at 1.

2. Activity

The Activity argues for a new approach to resolving such cases. Specifically, the Activity asserts that the Authority should modify its current policy of determining whether a petitioned-for unit is an appropriate unit, and instead determine whether a petitioned-for unit is the most appropriate unit. The Activity notes that under section 7112(a) of the Statute,(3) no unit will be found to be appropriate unless it meets all of the three criteria set forth therein. The Activity asserts that although the Statute does not indicate the weight to be given these criteria, the Authority gives controlling weight to the first. According to the Activity, under current precedent an Authority finding that employees in a proposed unit share a clear and identifiable community of interest inevitably leads, absent significant countervailing factors, to a finding that the unit promotes effective dealings with, and the efficient operations of, the agency.

In the Activity's view, the Authority should apply equal weight to all of the statutory criteria, noting particularly the objective of the reorganization and the impact the petitioned-for unit structure would have on the intended results. According to the Activity, the Authority should then determine "which of the potential unit structures most closely meets that [sic] criteria and fulfills the intended purposes of the [Statute]." Activity's Supplemental Brief at 12. The Activity submits that "it should [then] be a fairly straightforward process to determine whether accretion or successorship" should be applied. Id.

3. General Counsel

The General Counsel sets forth a specific analytic framework that it suggests the Authority follow in balancing the application of successorship and accretion principles in reorganization cases where both principles are claimed to apply. According to the General Counsel, the suggested framework, which begins with a unit determination, is consistent with the fact that the Authority's doctrines of successorship and accretion are both predicated on the appropriate unit criteria set forth in section 7112(a) of the Statute. The General Counsel explains that because successorship cannot be found unless a particular group of employees acquired by a new or gaining organization constitutes a separate appropriate unit, an analysis wherein successorship is considered prior to accretion must begin with a unit determination. The General Counsel further explains that the outcome of the unit determination will then dictate the analysis, either successorship or accretion, that should be applied.

B. Affect of Reorganizations on Employees of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments

NAGE Local R4-1 asserts that when the reorganization plans currently being considered are ultimately implemented, "at least three different organizational entities geographically located at the Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown, Virginia" will become tenant organizations. NAGE Local R4-1's Supplemental Brief at 2. NAGE argues that, as a result, employees who it has historically represented, and who specifically chose NAGE Local R4-1 to represent them, will become represented by different labor organizations. According to NAGE Local R4-1, "[i]f the Authority blinds itself to future announced reorganizations[,] it actively enables further fragmentation of logical and appropriate units of representation." Id. at 3.

AFGE National asserts that there is no evidence to indicate that another reorganization affecting employees at the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments is imminent. The Activity states that although the Department of the Navy may undergo future reorganizations, it is not aware of any imminent reorganization that would affect the employees at the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments.

C. Status of Cheatham Annex Employees

As to the representational status of the employees at the Cheatham Annex, only AFGE National submitted a response. According to AFGE National, the employees of the Cheatham Annex "have historically been represented by the FISC Norfolk labor organizations and these combined units have been found appropriate in the past . . . ." AFGE National's Amicus Curiae Brief at 5. Citing the RD's decision in Department of the Navy, Naval Supply Center, Puget Sound, Bremerton, Washington, 51 FLRA 1419 (1996), AFGE National submits that a petition to consolidate the Cheatham Annex units with the FISC Norfolk units was not required because a petition claiming accretion had properly been filed and a factual record had been developed at the hearing.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

A. Analytic Framework for Resolving Representation Cases Where Both Successorship and Accretion Principles Are Claimed to Apply

In Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center, Port Hueneme, 50 FLRA 363 (1995) (Port Hueneme), the Authority set forth three criteria to determine whether, following a reorganization, a new employing entity is the successor to a previous one such that a secret ballot election is not necessary to determine the representation rights of employees who were transferred to the successor. The Authority held that a gaining entity is a successor, and a union retains its status as the exclusive representative of employees who are transferred to the successor, when:

(1) An entire recognized unit, or a portion thereof, is transferred and the transferred employees: (a) are in an appropriate bargaining unit, under section 7112(a)[] of the Statute, after the transfer; and (b) constitute a majority of the employees in such unit;

(2) The gaining entity has substantially the same organizational mission as the losing entity, with the transferred employees performing substantially the same duties and functions under substantially similar working conditions in the gaining entity; and

(3) It has not been demonstrated that an election is necessary to determine representation.

50 FLRA at 368.

The Department of the Navy's decision to consolidate and reorganize its purchasing and supply functions, and the resultant representation petitions that were filed in this case, have presented us with an opportunity to clarify how we will analyze reorganization cases in which both successorship principles and accretion principles are claimed to apply to the same employees. Based upon our careful consideration of these principles, as well as the arguments presented, we have concluded that the most expeditious way to resolve such cases is to begin with a determination of whether the transferred employees are included in, and constitute a majority of the employees in, a separate appropriate unit in the new employing entity. We begin our analysis with this determination because, under section 7112(a) of the Statute, it is the first analytic step in resolving both successorship and accretion claims. Once this determination has been made, we will proceed to apply either the remaining successorship principles, or the remaining accretion principles, as appropriate.

We, therefore, adopt, and will henceforth apply, the following framework when resolving cases arising from a reorganization where employees are transferred to a pre-existing or newly established organization and both successorship and accretion principles are claimed to apply:(4)

(1) Initially, we will determine whether employees who have been transferred are included in, and constitute a majority of, a separate appropriate unit(s) in the gaining organization under section 7112(a). The outcome of this inquiry will govern whether successorship or accretion principles should next be applied.

(2) If it is determined that the transferred employees are included in a separate appropriate unit(s) in the gaining organization under section 7112(a), and if they constitute a majority of the employees in that unit(s), we will apply the remainder of the successorship factors set forth in Port Hueneme with respect to the unit(s) determined to be appropriate. The outcome of the Port Hueneme analysis will determine whether the gaining organization is a successor for purposes of collective bargaining with the labor organization(s) that represented the transferred employees at their previous employer.

(3) If it is determined that the transferred employees are not included in, and constitute a majority of employees in, a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization, we will apply the Authority's long-established accretion principles. The outcome of this analysis will determine whether the transferred employees have accreted to a pre-existing unit in the gaining organization.

1. Determination of Whether the Transferred Employees Are Included in a Separate Appropriate Unit

First, we examine whether the transferred employees are included in a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization and if they constitute a majority of the employees in that unit.(5) This step in the analysis corresponds to the first factor set forth in Port Hueneme, which requires, inter alia, that "the post-transfer unit must be appropriate[.]" Port Hueneme, 50 FLRA at 368. Although not expressly stated in Port Hueneme, a successorship finding can be made only if the employees at issue are included in a separate appropriate unit.

Under section 7112(a) of the Statute, a unit may be determined to be appropriate only if it will: (1) ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among the employees in the unit; (2) promote effective dealings with the agency involved; and (3) promote efficiency of the operations of the agency involved. Defense Mapping Agency, Aerospace Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 46 FLRA 502, 509 (1992) (Defense Mapping Agency). In making determinations under section 7112(a), the Authority examines the factors presented on a case-by-case basis. See U.S. Department of the Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 47 FLRA 602 (1993) (Wright-Patterson AFB). In order to be included in a separate appropriate unit, the evidence must demonstrate that the employees at issue have significant employment concerns or personnel issues that are different or unique from those of other employees in the gaining organization. The evidence must also demonstrate that the disputed employees have not been so integrated, either physically or functionally, with other organizational components that the establishment of a separate unit would cause undue unit fragmentation resulting in operational inefficiency and confusion in dealings between labor and management. See, for example, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Command, Defense Contract Management District, North Central, Defense Plant Representative Office--Thiokol, Brigham City, Utah, 41 FLRA 316 (1991) (DPRO Thiokol) (Authority found that disputed employees constituted a separate appropriate unit where: employees had specific local concerns that might result in grievances or bargaining issues unique to the facility; the facility commander had authority to address such grievances and bargaining matters; and the facility commander had responsibility for its day-to-day operations). See also U.S. Department of Defense, Dependents Schools and Overseas Education Association, NEA, 48 FLRA 1076 (1993) and General Services Administration, National Capital Region, 5 FLRA 285 (1981).

The fundamental premise of the first criterion--that employees share a clear and identifiable community of interest--is to ensure that it is "possible for them to deal collectively [with management] as a single group." See Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Southwest Region, Tulsa Airway Facilities Sector, 3 FLRC 235, 237 (1975) (Tulsa AFS), citing a task force report to President Kennedy, A Policy for Employee-Management Cooperation in the Federal Sector, November 30, 1961. In assessing this criterion, the Authority has not specified the particular factors or the number of factors needed to find a clear and identifiable community of interest. Department of Health and Human Services, Region II, New York, New York, 43 FLRA 1245, 1254 (1992) (HHS Region II). Nevertheless, the Authority examines such factors as whether the employees in the proposed unit: are a part of the same organizational component of the agency; support the same mission; are subject to the same chain of command; have similar or related duties, job titles and work assignments; are subject to the same general working conditions; and are governed by the same personnel and labor relations policies that are administered by the same personnel office. See Wright-Patterson AFB, 47 FLRA 602; HHS Region II, 43 FLRA 1245. In addition, factors such as geographic proximity, unique conditions of employment, distinct local concerns, degree of interchange between other organizational components, and functional or operational separation may be relevant. See Defense Mapping Agency, 46 FLRA 502.

Effective dealings and efficiency of operations must also be examined in any case that raises appropriate unit issues.(6) The criterion of effective dealings pertains to the relationship between management and the exclusive representative selected by unit employees in an appropriate bargaining unit. In assessing this requirement the Authority examines such factors as: the past collective bargaining experience of the parties; the locus and scope of authority of the responsible personnel office administering personnel policies covering employees in the proposed unit; the limitations, if any, on the negotiation of matters of critical concern to employees in the proposed unit; and the level at which labor relations policy is set in the agency. See Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 5 FLRA 646 (1981) (DOT); Defense Supply Agency, Defense Contract Administration Services Region (DCASR), San Francisco, California, et al., 4 FLRC 669 (1976) (DCASR); Department of State, Passport Office, Chicago Passport Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 8 A/SLMR 946 (1978) (Chicago Passport Agency).

The criterion of efficiency of agency operations concerns the "benefits to be derived from a unit structure which bears some rational relationship to the operational and organizational structure of the agency." DCASR, 4 FLRC at 681. That is, a unit that bears a rational relationship to an agency's operational and organizational structure could result in economic savings and increased productivity to the agency. Consequently, factors to be examined in assessing efficiency of agency operations pertain to the effect of the proposed unit on agency operations in terms of cost, productivity and use of resources. See Local No. 3, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO-CLC, 7 FLRA 626, 627 (1982); DOT, 5 FLRA at 653; Chicago Passport Agency, 8 A/SLMR at 947-48.

Application of the foregoing criteria to the facts of each case will determine the appropriateness of any proposed unit. If the Authority finds that the transferred employees are included in, and constitute a majority of the employees in, a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization, we will proceed to determine whether the remaining successorship factors set forth in Port Hueneme have been met. Alternatively, if we find that the transferred employees are not included in, and constitute a majority of the employees in, a separate appropriate unit, we will proceed to determine whether the transferred employees have accreted to another bargaining unit, as claimed.

2. If the Transferred Employees Are Included in, and Constitute a Majority of the Employees in, a Separate Appropriate Unit in the Gaining Organization, We Will Apply the Remaining Successorship Factors

Upon a finding that the transferred employees are included in, and constitute a majority of the employees in, a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization, the remaining successorship factors enunciated in Port Hueneme will be applied. In particular, the following must then be examined: whether the gaining organization has substantially the same organizational mission as the losing entity, with the transferred employees performing substantially the same duties and functions under substantially similar working conditions after the transfer; and whether an election is necessary to determine the representation rights of the transferred employees. Port Hueneme, 50 FLRA at 368.

If all of the factors set forth in Port Hueneme have been met, we will find that successorship exists and, as a result, that the gaining organization must recognize without a secret ballot election the exclusive representative of the transferred employees prior to their transfer. An appropriate certification will, accordingly, be issued and any competing accretion petition(s) for the same group of employees will be dismissed.

3. If Successorship Is Not Appropriate, We Will Consider Accretion Claims

Upon a finding that the transferred employees are not included in, and constitute a majority of the employees in, a separate appropriate unit, the petition claiming successorship will be dismissed. It is then necessary to consider all claims of accretion and, consequently, determine whether the transferred employees should be accreted to a pre-existing bargaining unit in the gaining organization. If it is concluded that the transferred employees are functionally and administratively integrated into the gaining organization's pre-existing unit(s), and that adding the transferred employees to the unit(s) would be appropriate under section 7112(a), an accretion will be found. See, for example, Wright-Patterson AFB, 47 FLRA 602. The unit will then be clarified to include the accreted employees. If including the transferred employees in an established unit would not be appropriate, any petition(s) claiming an accretion, as well as the petitions claiming successorship, will be dismissed.

In deciding questions concerning accretion, it has long been established that the Authority is bound, as in successorship, by the three criteria for determining the appropriateness of any unit set forth in section 7112(a) of the Statute. U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Operations Office, Oak Ridge Tennessee, 15 FLRA 130, 132 (1984).

For example, in Headquarters, 97th U.S. Army Reserve Command, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, 32 FLRA 567 (1988) the activity sought a determination as to whether, due to the reorganization of its aviation support facilities, certain support facility employees should be accreted to a bargaining unit represented by NAGE at the facility to which they had been administratively transferred. The employees at issue were physically disbursed throughout four locations in three states and, prior to the reorganization, had been represented in separate units by four AFGE locals. Despite the fact that the transferred employees continued to work in the same locations and under the same immediate supervision as before the reorganization and had been represented by other unions, the Authority concluded that they had accreted to the unit represented by NAGE. In so concluding, the Authority specifically noted that the transferred employees had been organizationally and operationally integrated with the employees of the established NAGE unit and were no longer under the command and control of their prior commands. See also HHS Region II, 43 FLRA 1245; Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, New England Region, 20 FLRA 224 (1985) (FAA); Department of the Navy, Naval Supply Center, Oakland, California, 5 FLRA 775 (1981).(7)

B. Application of the Framework

Applying the above-stated principles to this case, we conclude that the RD did not depart from Authority precedent by finding that successorship has not occurred and that, instead, the GS and WG employees of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments have accreted to the respective AFGE Local 53 and IAM Local 57 bargaining units.(8)

1. Determination of Whether the Transferred Employees Constitute a Separate Appropriate Unit

Pursuant to the analytic framework set forth above, we must first determine whether separate units, comprised of employees of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments, are appropriate.

a. Community of Interest

In this case, the record reflects that as a result of their administrative and organizational integration into the Activity, the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments no longer report to the Commanding Officer of the respective Naval Weapons Stations. Rather, as do all of the Activity's other detachments, they now report through a new chain of command to the Commanding Officer of the Activity.

As components of the Activity, the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments, like the Earle Detachment, now provide purchasing and supply support, on the Activity's behalf, to the Naval Weapons Stations on which they are based. In this connection, the record shows that since being transferred to the Activity, the missions of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments have remained similar to their prior missions as supply departments of the Naval Weapons Stations, except that as components of the Activity, they no longer support the Naval Weapons Station's ordnance function. Tr. at 75. That is, with the exception of ordnance, they are now responsible for providing the same type of support to the local Naval Weapons Stations and their tenants as they previously had provided. Tr. at 84-85. Although most of the Yorktown and Charleston employees have also continued to work at the same location and perform the same work that they performed prior to their transfer, tr. at 51, certain employees at these detachments now hold different positions than those they held before the reorganization. Tr. at 135, 139-140. Moreover, because the Naval Supply Systems Command, the Activity's parent organization, is responsible for carrying out the Navy's Hazardous Materials Program, both the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments now manage a hazardous materials program as do all other components of the Activity. Certain employees at these detachments are, therefore, trained and perform job responsibilities in connection with the Activity's hazardous materials program, as do other Activity employees. Tr. at 88-91.

In addition, the positions held by the employees of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments are similar to those held by the Activity's other unit employees. The record establishes, in this regard, that the Activity's GS employees occupy a number of positions that support the Activity's stated mission including such positions as contract specialists, contract administrators, purchasing agents, supply technicians, and supply systems analysts. In addition, the Activity's WG employees encumber such positions as materials handlers, material examiner-identifiers, packers, packing inspectors and parts attendants. Agency Exh. 28. With regard to the Yorktown Detachment, the record shows positions held by its 26 employees also include purchasing agents, supply systems analysts, general supply specialists, and packing inspectors. Similarly, typical positions of the 23 employees who constitute the Charleston Detachment include supply technician, purchasing agent, materials handler and packer. Agency Exh. 9 and 14.

The record further establishes that the employees of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments are subject to the same personnel policies and labor relations services, which are administered by the same Human Resources Office, as are all other Activity employees. With regard to personnel policies and other working conditions, the record reflects that the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments are now serviced by the Activity's Human Resources Office. Tr. at 172. The services provided by this office include labor/employee relations, employee services and benefits, training, staffing, classification and equal opportunity services. In addition, the official personnel folders of all detachment personnel are maintained in the Activity's Human Resources Office, and all personnel actions are processed there as well. Tr. at 182-83. Both the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments now utilize the same payroll office (the Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and payroll system (the Defense Business Management System) as utilized by other Activity detachments.

Based on the foregoing, we conclude that it has not been established that either the Yorktown Detachment employees or the Charleston Detachment employees share an identifiable community of interest separate and distinct from the employees in the Activity's pre-existing bargaining units. In this connection, there is no evidence to indicate that these employees have significant employment concerns that are purely local in nature, as in DPRO Thoikol, or distinct personnel issues that could be translated into contractual or administrative matters that are unique to their respective locations.

b. Effective Dealings

The record further fails to establish how separate recognition of a unit of either the Yorktown Detachment employees or the Charleston Detachment employees would promote effective dealings. The evidence reflects, in this regard, that the directors of these detachments do not have the authority to establish policies, procedures or working conditions within their respective locations. Rather, unlike DPRO Thiokol, all personnel and labor relations matters, including the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, are, as set forth above, administered centrally from the Activity's headquarters operation. Therefore, if separate units of Yorktown Detachment employees and Charleston Detachment employees were found to be appropriate, personnel from the Activity's headquarters operation would be responsible for negotiating and administering multiple collective bargaining agreements, thereby placing additional responsibilities on the Activity's staff and making effective dealings more cumbersome. Tr. at 203.

c. Efficiency of Agency Operations

With respect to the efficiency of agency operations, the evidence establishes that if separate units of Yorktown Detachment employees and Charleston Detachment employees were found to be appropriate, the costs of negotiating separate collective bargaining agreements for each of these detachments would be substantial. Agency Exh. 39. In addition, the costs associated with administering such agreements--for example, the travel necessary to negotiate over the impact and implementation of proposed Activity changes--would also be substantial. Agency Exh. 40.

In addition, we find that separating the employees of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments into two very small units of exclusive recognition would result in the artificial and unwarranted fragmentation of an integrated organizational structure, thereby hindering the efficiency of the Activity's operations.

In these circumstances, we conclude that a separate unit of Yorktown Detachment employees or Charleston Detachment employees would not promote effective dealings or enhance the efficiency of the Activity's operations. Accordingly, we find that neither the Yorktown Detachment employees nor the Charleston Detachment employees are included in, and constitute a majority of the employees in, a separate appropriate unit under section 7112(a) of the Statute, as sought by the petitions. As such, a finding of successorship, pursuant to Port Hueneme, cannot be made.

2. Determination of Whether the Transferred Employees Have Accreted to the Pre-Existing Bargaining Units

Because the Activity claims that the employees at the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments should be included in its established GS and WG bargaining units represented by AFGE Local 53 and IAM Local 97, respectively, we must next determine, pursuant to the analysis set forth above, whether these employees have accreted to those units.

As discussed in section B.1.a. above, the record in this case shows that the GS and WG employees of the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments share a clear and identifiable community of interest with the employees of the Activity's established bargaining units represented by AFGE Local 2298 and IAM Local 57, respectively. The record further shows that the 26 WG and GS employees of the Yorktown Detachment and the 23 WG and GS employees of the Charleston Detachment have been so organizationally and operationally integrated with the 520 GS employees in the Activity's established AFGE unit and the 330 WG employees in the Activity's established IAM unit, that they have lost their separate identity.

Finally, because the Activity's established units are co-extensive with its organizational structure, and exist at the level at which personnel and labor relations policies are established, we conclude that accreting the Yorktown and Charleston employees to the Activity's established units would promote effective dealings and enhance the efficiency of the Activity's operations.

In view of the foregoing, and noting particularly that there is no evidence to establish that any other reorganizations are imminent, we agree with the RD that the Yorktown and Charleston employees have been accreted to the bargaining units represented by AFGE Local 53 and IAM Local 97. See DPRO Thiokol, 41 FLRA at 327 (decisions regarding unit determinations must reflect the conditions of employment that existed at the time of the hearing rather than what may exist in the future, unless there are definite and imminent changes planned by the agency).

V. Order

The RD is directed to take appropriate action consistent with this decision.(9)




FOOTNOTES:
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
 

1. In Case Nos. WA-CU-50061 and WA-CU-50052, the Activity sought to consolidate its AFGE and IAM units at Norfolk with its AFGE and IAM units at the Cheatham Annex. However, the RD found that the Activity had failed to file the correct petitions. Review has not been sought concerning this aspect of the RD's decision.

2. The Earle Detachment is located at Colts Neck, New Jersey. Although AFGE Local 1659 filed an election petition seeking to retain this unit of approximately 12 GS and WG employees, review was not sought concerning the portion of the RD's decision finding that the Earle Detachment had accreted to the Activity's established bargaining units.

3. We note that effective October 2, 1992, section 7112 of the Statute was amended to strike out "(1)" following "(a)". See Pub.L. 102-378, § 2(54), 9(a). Accordingly, this portion of the Statute is correctly cited as section 7112(a).

4. All further references to the term "gaining organization" are to a pre-existing or newly-established organization.

5. We specifically reject the Activity's suggestion that we adopt a standard whereby the Authority determines the most appropriate unit under section 7112(a). Nothing in the Statute suggests that a unit proposed for exclusive recognition must be the only appropriate unit or the most appropriate unit. To meet the requirements of the Statute, a proposed unit need only be an appropriate unit. See American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2004, 47 FLRA 969, 973 (1993) (AFGE, Local 2004).

6. Under prior Authority precedent, there are few decisions that address these criteria with any degree of specificity. Nevertheless, the Authority has always required that any unit found to be appropriate satisfy equally each of the criteria set forth in section 7112(a). See, for example, AFGE, Local 2004, 47 FLRA at 973 (Authority rejected the agency's argument that the RD had failed to give equal weight to each of the unit criteria). See also Tulsa AFS, 3 FLRC 235 (discussing the development of this requirement under Executive Order 11491). Consistent with this standard, we will continue to require that each of the appropriate unit criteria be given equal weight in order to further the statutory goal of a more effective and efficient Government.

7. Cf. Naval Air Station, Meridian, Mississippi, 9 FLRA 22 (1982) (Authority found that although disputed employees and unit employees were subject to similar personnel policies, practices and working conditions, and were serviced by a common personal office, accretion was inappropriate because the two groups were aligned under separate commanding officers).

8. In applying accretion principles to the facts of this case, the RD did not cite or discuss the specific evidence on which he relied with regard to the Yorktown and Charleston Detachments. Neverthele