United States, Department of the Navy, Commander, Navy Region Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida (Activity/Petitioner) and American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2010, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2298, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1380, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2053, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 696, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1845, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1566, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2244, AFL-CIO and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2172, AFL-CIO (Incumbent Exclusive Representatives/Labor Organizations)

[ v62 p11 ]

62 FLRA No. 5

UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
COMMANDER, NAVY REGION SOUTHEAST
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
(Activity/Petitioner)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 2010, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 2298, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 1380, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 2053, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 696, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 1845, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 1566, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 2244, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 2172, AFL-CIO

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 2113, AFL-CIO
(Incumbent Exclusive
Representatives/Labor Organizations)

AT-RP-06-0020

_____

ORDER
DENYING APPLICATION FOR REVIEW

February 2, 2007

_____

Before the Authority: Dale Cabaniss, Chairman and
Wayne C. Beyer, Member

I.     Statement of the Case

      This case is before the Authority on an application for review filed by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Local 1380 (Local 1380)  [n1]  of the Regional Director's (RD) Decision and Order Granting Petition to Consolidate Units. The Agency filed an opposition.

      An amended petition filed by Department of the Navy, Commander Navy Region Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida (CNRSE) sought the consolidation of several bargaining units of CNRSE employees which are represented by AFGE. Based upon a stipulated record, the RD found that the petitioned for consolidated unit constituted an appropriate unit under § 7112(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute). The application for review contends that the RD's decision raises an issue for which there is an absence of Authority precedent and is based on factual error. [ v62 p12 ]

      For the reasons discussed below, we deny the application for review.

II.     Background and RD's Decision

      In 2003, the Department of the Navy (Navy) consolidated "almost all employees performing operational support functions at every naval installation" into a new organization, "Commander, Navy Installations" (CNI), which is "comprised of 16 Regional Commands." United States Dep't of the Navy, Naval Dist. Washington, et al., 60 FLRA 469, 470 (2004). The petition for consolidation of units in this case was filed by Commander Naval Region Southeast (CNRSE), one of the regions comprising CNI. The petition seeks the consolidation of several bargaining units of CNRSE employees represented by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE National) and locals of AFGE. [n2] 

      The parties participated in drafting a stipulation of facts, which the RD transmitted to the parties, with a request that they sign and return the stipulation, accompanied by a statement of each party's position with respect to the consolidation. Five locals subsequently notified the RD that they opposed the consolidation and would not sign the stipulation of facts. [n3]  The locals' submissions did not explain why they would not sign the stipulation and only stated their opposition to the consolidation. The RD issued an Order to Show Cause, requiring the parties to state, in writing, why a Decision and Order should not issue based on the existing stipulation of facts. Specifically, the parties were requested to detail any fact in the stipulation that is inaccurate and provide evidence supporting their claim that the fact is not accurate. They were also requested to describe any fact that was missing from the stipulation and provide evidence to support the fact. Finally, the parties were requested to state their position as to whether the units should be consolidated.

      CNRSE signed the stipulation and filed a brief stating that the petitioned-for consolidation should be granted. AFGE National, Local 2010, Local 1845, Local 2172, and Local 2113 signed the stipulation and filed a brief supporting the consolidation. These locals had designated AFGE National as their representative in this case and the brief was filed on behalf of AFGE National and all of the specified locals. In addition, the brief stated that AFGE National would be the exclusive representative of the consolidated unit. Local 2053 and Local 696 did not sign the stipulation of facts and did not file a response to the Order to Show Cause. The RD concluded that these locals did not dispute any of the facts set forth in the stipulation.

      Local 1380, Local 1560, Local 2298, and Local 2244 filed responses opposing the consolidation. In essence, these locals argued that each individual local had a community of interest separate and apart from other employees in CNRSE, noting, specifically, certain differences in conditions of employment between the units.

      The RD found that the petitioned-for consolidated unit constituted an appropriate unit within the meaning of § 7112(a) of the Statute and as required under § 7112(d), which provides for unit consolidation. Specifically, the RD found that the consolidated unit shared a community of interest under § 7112(a)(1). Based on the stipulation of facts, the RD found, in this regard, that the employees in the consolidated unit: (1) support the same mission; (2) are part of the same chain of command; (3) are functionally integrated within CNRSE; (4) are engaged in similar occupations; (5) are in job classifications that support the mission of the organization as a whole; and (6) are well distributed throughout the CNRSE organization. The RD also found that, although local installation commanders set some conditions of employment, their discretion is limited by CNRSE instructions applicable at all installations. Moreover, the RD noted that the parties were subject to a multi-unit collective bargaining agreement which established conditions of employment throughout CNRSE.

      Further, the RD found that the consolidated unit is consistent with the criteria of effective dealings and efficiency of agency operations set forth in § 7112(a)(1). [ v62 p13 ] The former criterion concerns the relationship between management and the exclusive representative. In this regard, the RD noted: (1) the parties' multi-unit collective bargaining history; (2) the fact that policies affecting conditions of employment are established at the CNRSE level; and (3) the fact that employee and labor relations services are provided centrally by CNRSE and the Human Resources Service Center-Southeast. The latter criterion concerns the extent to which the unit structure bears a rational relationship to the operational and organizational structure of the agency. The RD noted, in this regard, that: (1) the commanders of the units involved all report to the CNRSE commanding officer; and (2) the employees in the consolidated unit represent a substantial portion of the CNRSE organization, thereby promoting "a more effective, comprehensive bargaining unit structure." RD's Decision and Order at 17.

      Based on these findings, the RD concluded that "the proposed consolidated unit is an appropriate unit under § 7112(a) of the Statute and that the unit should be certified, as it comports with the requirements of § 7112(d) of the Statute" Id. at 18.

III.     Positions of the Parties

A.     The Locals' Applications for Review

      The locals contend that the RD's decision raises an issue for which there is an absence of precedent. [n4]  Specifically, the locals note that § 7112(d) provides that "two or more units in an agency and for which a labor organization is [the] exclusive representative may be consolidated." Applications for review at 2 (emphasis in original). According to the locals, by referring to a labor organization § 7112(d) intends one exclusive representative. The locals note that there are 11 exclusive representatives in this case and, thus, consolidation is not appropriate unless each exclusive representative agrees and several of the local union parties involved in the case have not agreed. Moreover, the locals contend that they were not aware that AFGE National was designating itself as the representative of all the local unions involved. The locals maintain that AFGE National's self-designation resulted in the RD's factual error as to AFGE National's representative status. [n5] 

B.     Agency Opposition

      The Agency contends that there is not an absence of precedent governing the issue raised by the locals. In this regard, the Agency cites Internal Revenue Serv., Washington, D.C., 6 FLRC 288 (1978) (IRS), in which the Federal Labor Relations Council, the predecessor agency of the Authority, stated that Executive Order (E.O.) 11491, as amended, did not require "local authorization" for a labor organization to seek consolidation of existing units for which it provided representation. IRS, 6 FLRC at 292. The Agency further asserts that there is no requirement in the Statute that all parties be in agreement for unit consolidation to take place. According to the Agency, "AFGE, AFL-CIO is properly considered a labor organization under which its individual locals may be properly consolidated." Opposition at 4.

      As to the locals' claim of prejudicial error, the Agency points out that the stipulation of facts prepared in this case, specifically, Stipulation 65, "shows that AFGE would represent all employees in the consolidated unit." Id.

IV.     Discussion

      The Authority has addressed circumstances similar to those presented in this case. In Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Tex., 57 FLRA 148 (2001) (Sheppard AFB), the activity petitioned for the consolidation of two AFGE locals at the activity. The RD denied the petition and the Authority denied the agency's application for review. The Authority agreed with the RD's conclusion that the proposed consolidated unit would not promote effective dealings. The Authority stated as follows:

We find that the specific factual circumstances in this case demonstrate a basic impediment to the establishment of the relationship between management and the exclusive representative of the proposed consolidated unit, which strikes at the heart of the effective dealings criterion. In particular, the certifications of exclusive representation for the existing units are held by separate local unions, and there is no apparent, or asserted, bargaining representative for the consolidated unit. In this regard, neither the Agency nor the RD identified an exclusive representative [ v62 p14 ] that would be certified to represent the consolidated unit. Although both local unions are affiliates of AFGE, AFGE was not a party below and there is no basis in the record to conclude that AFGE could serve in that capacity. Without an identified labor organization to serve as the exclusive representative, it is not possible to find that the consolidated unit would promote effective dealings between a labor organization and the Agency. That is, certification of the consolidated unit could not promote effective dealings between the parties because the fundamental issue of which labor organization should be certified to bargain or deal with management on behalf of the consolidated unit is unresolved.

Id. at 150. Implicitly, the Authority ruled that where multiple units of a labor organization are proposed for consolidation, if that labor organization has recognition as the exclusive representative of those units, and all other criteria under § 7112(a) are met, the consolidated unit will promote effective dealings and the consolidated unit will constitute an appropriate unit under the Statute.

      That is clearly the case here. AFGE has indicated its intent to serve as the exclusive representative of the consolidated unit. There is no claim that AFGE is not a labor organization within the meaning of § 7103(a)(4) of the Statute. Moreover, there is no dispute that AFGE is the labor organization that holds exclusive recognition for all of the local units involved in this case. See IRS.  [n6]  The locals' application for review misconstrues the significance of the term "labor organization" as used in § 7112(d).

      The applications do not challenge the RD's findings that the consolidated unit shares a community of interest and is consistent with efficient operation of the CNRSE. Additionally, the RD found that the circumstances of this case are distinguishable from Sheppard AFB and concluded that the consolidated unit would promote effective dealings. RD's Decision at 16-17. Thus, the RD's conclusion that the proposed consolidated unit is an appropriate unit is consistent with the Statute and Authority precedent.

      Finally, the locals have failed to demonstrate that the RD committed clear and prejudicial error in finding that AFGE indicated that it would serve as the exclusive representative of the consolidated unit.

V.     Order

      The application for review is denied.



Footnote # 1 for 62 FLRA No. 5 - Authority's Decision

   Subsequently, virtually identical applications for review were separately filed by Local 2244, Local 2298, and Local 1566 (the locals).


Footnote # 2 for 62 FLRA No. 5 - Authority's Decision

   The locals involved in this case are as follows: AFGE, Local 696, representing a unit of non-professional employees at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida; AFGE, Local 2113, representing a unit of non-professional employees at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Training System Division, Orlando, Florida; AFGE, Local 2010, representing a unit of professional and non-professional employees at Naval Station, Mayport, Florida; AFGE, Local 1845, representing a unit of non-professional employees at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia; AFGE, Local 2298, representing a unit of non-professional employees at Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, South Carolina; AFGE, Local 2244, representing a unit of non-professional employees at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi; AFGE, Local 2053, representing a unit of non-professional employees at Naval Construction Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi; AFGE, Local 1380, representing a unit of non-professional employees at Naval Support Activity, Panama City, Florida; AFGE, Local 1566, representing a unit of non-professional employees at Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida; AFGE, Local 2172, representing a unit of non-professional employees of Naval Support Activity, Mid-South, Millington, Tennessee; and AFGE National, representing a unit of non-professional employees at CNRSE Regional Resource Management Department, Jacksonville, Florida.


Footnote # 3 for 62 FLRA No. 5 - Authority's Decision

   These locals are AFGE Locals 2298, 1380, 2244, 696, and 1566.


Footnote # 4 for 62 FLRA No. 5 - Authority's Decision

   Under § 2422.31(c)(1) of the Authority's Regulations, the Authority may grant an application for review when the application demonstrates that review is warranted on the ground that "[t]he decision raises an issue for which there is an absence of precedent[.]" 5 C.F.R. § 2422.31(c)(1).


Footnote # 5 for 62 FLRA No. 5 - Authority's Decision

   We construe the locals' statement regarding factual error as a claim that review of the applications is warranted under § 2422.31(c)(3)(iii) on the ground that the RD committed "a clear and prejudicial error concerning a substantial factual matter." 5 C.F.R. § 2422.31(c)(3)(iii).


Footnote # 6 for 62 FLRA No. 5 - Authority's Decision

   Prior to the enactment of the Statute, E.O. 11491 governed labor relations in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Under § 7135(b) of the Statute, policies established under that executive order remain in full force and effect unless superseded by the Statute or by regul