Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Dallas, Texas



[ v02 p900 ]
02:0900(111)AS
The decision of the Authority follows:


 2 flra No. 111
 
 MR. ROBERT E. EDWARDS
 ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL
 CHIEF, LABOR RELATIONS LAW BRANCH
 DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND THE AIR FORCE
 HEADQUARTERS, ARMY AND AIR FORCE
 EXCHANGE SERVICE
 DALLAS, TEXAS 75222
 
                                 RE:  ARMY AND AIR FORCE EXCHANGE
                                      SERVICE, DALLAS, TEXAS, A/SLMR
                                      No. 1163, FLRA No. 0-AS-11
 
    DEAR MR. EDWARDS:
 
    THE AUTHORITY HAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED YOUR PETITION FOR REVIEW AND
 REQUEST FOR A STAY OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION IN THE
 ABOVE-ENTITLED CASE.
 
    IN THIS CASE, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (THE
 UNION) FILED A PETITION SEEKING TO CONSOLIDATE 13 SEPARATE BARGAINING
 UNITS EXCLUSIVELY REPRESENTED BY CERTAIN OF ITS CONSTITUENT LOCALS AT
 ELEMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE EXCHANGE SERVICE (AAFES).  THE
 CONSOLIDATED UNIT SOUGHT WOULD CONSIST OF ALL NONPROFESSIONAL AAFES
 EMPLOYEES EXCLUSIVELY REPRESENTED BY THE UNION IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED
 STATES.
 
    THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, AFTER REVIEWING THE MISSION, FUNCTIONS,
 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS OF AAFES, FOUND THE PROPOSED
 CONSOLIDATED UNIT WAS APPROPRIATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXCLUSIVE
 RECOGNITION UNDER THE ORDER.  IN SO FINDING, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY
 REFERRED TO SEVERAL COUNCIL DECISIONS INVOLVING THE CONSOLIDATION OF
 BARGAINING UNITS IN WHICH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S ESTABLISHMENT OF A
 PRESUMPTION FAVORING CONSOLIDATIONS WAS CONSTRUED "* * * AS A
 RECOGNITION AND AFFIRMATION OF THE STRONG POLICY IN THE FEDERAL
 LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS PROGRAM OF FACILITATING CONSOLIDATION.  . . .
 " /1/ HE ALSO NOTED THE COUNCIL'S INDICATION, IN THOSE DECISIONS, THAT
 SUCH AFFIRMATION ACCURATELY REFLECTS THE POLICY SET FORTH IN THE
 COUNCIL'S 1975 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO FACILITATE THE
 CONSOLIDATION OF EXISTING UNITS WHICH CONFORM TO THE APPROPRIATE UNIT
 CRITERIA CONTAINED IN SECTION 10(B) OF THE ORDER.
 
    BASED UPON THE FOREGOING POLICY CONSIDERATIONS AND THE PARTICULAR
 FACTS OF THE INSTANT CASE, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY CONCLUDED THAT THE
 PROPOSED CONSOLIDATED UNIT WAS APPROPRIATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXCLUSIVE
 RECOGNITION UNDER THE ORDER.  IN THIS REGARD HE STATED:
 
    THUS, * * * THE UNIT SOUGHT ENCOMPASSES ALL THE EMPLOYEES WITHIN THE
 AAFES REPRESENTED BY
 
    THE (UNION) AND ALL OF THE VARIOUS UNITS ALONE, OR IN COMBINATION,
 CONTAIN ESSENTIALLY ALL THE
 
    NONPROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES AT THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES INVOLVED.
 ADDITIONALLY, IT IS NOTED THAT
 
    ALL THE EMPLOYEES WITHIN THE PETITIONED FOR CONSOLIDATED UNIT SHARE A
 COMMON MISSION, COMMON
 
    OVERALL SUPERVISION, ESSENTIALLY SIMILAR JOB CLASSIFICATIONS AND
 WORKING CONDITIONS, SIMILAR
 
    PERSONNEL AND LABOR RELATIONS POLICIES AND PRACTICES AS DELEGATED IN
 ACCORDANCE WITH THE
 
    AAFES' DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY.
 
    UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, I FIND THAT THE EMPLOYEES IN THE
 PETITIONED FOR UNIT SHARE A
 
    CLEAR AND IDENTIFIABLE COMMUNITY OF INTEREST.
 
    I FIND FURTHER THAT THE PETITIONED FOR CONSOLIDATED UNIT WILL PROMOTE
 EFFECTIVE DEALINGS
 
    AND EFFICIENCY OF AGENCY OPERATIONS.  THUS, THE RECORD REFLECTS THAT
 HEADQUARTERS, AAFES,
 
    THROUGH AAFES REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED BY THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY
 AND AIR FORCE, AND
 
    THROUGH THE PROMULGATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF ITS OWN EXCHANGE
 SERVICE MANUAL, EFFECTIVELY
 
    DEVELOPS AGENCY POLICY IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO AAFES PERSONNEL
 POLICIES AND PRACTICES,
 
    INCLUDING REDUCTION-IN-FORCE, HIRING, PROMOTIONS AND WAGE AND SALARY
 DETERMINATIONS, ETC.,
 
    WHICH ARE THEN DISSEMINATED TO THE FIELD FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THOSE
 POLICIES WITHIN THE LOCAL
 
    FRAMEWORK.  MOREOVER, ALTHOUGH THE RECORD REFLECTS THAT EACH REGION,
 WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE
 
    ALAMO REGION, HAS A LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST WHO HANDLES LABOR
 RELATIONS FOR THAT REGION,
 
    THE EVIDENCE ESTABLISHES THAT ALL AGREEMENTS MUST BE APPROVED BY THE
 GENERAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE
 
    LOCATED AT AAFES HEADQUARTERS.  IN ADDITION, THE GENERAL COUNSEL'S
 OFFICE ADVISES THE REGIONAL
 
    LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALISTS ON TECHNICAL MATTERS AND, IN THE CASE OF
 THE ALAMO REGION,
 
    REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL HANDLE THE ACTUAL NEGOTIATIONS
 FOR THAT REGION.  FIELD
 
    EXCHANGES MUST NOTIFY THE GENERAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE WHEN REQUESTS ARE
 MADE TO NEGOTIATE NEW
 
    AGREEMENTS OR TO MODIFY EXISTING AGREEMENTS, WHEN REQUESTS ARE MADE
 TO USE THE SERVICES OF THE
 
    FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE OR THE FEDERAL SERVICE
 IMPASSES PANEL, WHEN
 
    NEGOTIABILITY ISSUES ARE APPEALED TO THE COUNCIL, OR WHEN
 APPLICATIONS FOR A DECISION ON
 
    GRIEVABILITY OR ARBITRABILITY ARE FILED WITH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY.
 FURTHERMORE, WHEN
 
    NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS PROVIDE FOR AUTOMATIC RENEWAL UPON APPROPRIATE
 NOTICE, SUCH NOTICES MAY
 
    NOT ISSUE WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL'S OFFICE.  THE
 RECORD SHOWS THAT THE
 
    AAFES AND THE (UNION) HAVE NEGOTIATED SIX SEPARATE AND TWO MULTI-UNIT
 AGREEMENTS COVERING 11
 
    OF THE UNITS AT THE INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITIES INVOLVED HEREIN, AND THAT
 THERE IS A HIGH DEGREE OF
 
    COMMONALITY BETWEEN THE AGREEMENTS IN THAT MANY OF THE INDIVIDUAL
 SUBJECTS ARE DEALT WITH
 
    UNIFORMLY.  THUS, ALTHOUGH THE AAFES CONTENDS THAT THE AUTHORITY TO
 NEGOTIATE AGREEMENTS HAS
 
    BEEN DELEGATED TO THE REGIONS IN ORDER TO TAILOR LOCAL AGREEMENTS TO
 THE PARTICULAR NEEDS OF
 
    THE REGION, AREA, BASE, OR POST EXCHANGE, THE RECORD SHOWS A PATTERN
 OF UNIFORMITY WITHIN THE
 
    NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS.
 
    UNDER ALL OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, I FIND THAT EFFECTIVE DEALINGS AND
 EFFICIENCY OF AGENCY
 
    OPERATIONS WOULD BE PROMOTED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PROPOSED
 CONSOLIDATED UNIT AND THAT
 
    AAFES LABOR RELATIONS POLICIES COULD REMAIN ESSENTIALLY THE SAME, AS
 EVIDENCED BY THE
 
    UNIFORMITY IN CURRENT CONTRACT PROVISIONS, AND MIGHT WELL BE ENHANCED
 IF THE PROPOSED
 
    CONSOLIDATED UNIT WERE EFFECTUATED.  IN THIS LATTER REGARD, REGIONAL
 LABOR RELATIONS
 
    SPECIALISTS AND OTHER FIELD PERSONNEL SPECIALISTS COULD CONTINUE TO
 PROVIDE INPUT INTO THE
 
    NEGOTIATING PROCESS AND THE PARTICULAR NEEDS OF INDIVIDUAL FIELD
 EXCHANGES COULD BE SATISFIED
 
    BY THE USE OF LOCAL SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENTS.  MOREOVER, I FIND THAT
 AS THE PROPOSED
 
    CONSOLIDATED UNIT, COVERING ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES REPRESENTED BY THE
 (UNION) IN THE AAFES WILL
 
    PROVIDE FOR BARGAINING IN A SINGLE UNIT, RATHER THAN IN THE EXISTING
 13 BARGAINING UNITS, IT
 
    WILL PROMOTE A MORE COMPREHENSIVE BARGAINING UNIT STRUCTURE AND IS
 CONSISTENT WITH THE POLICY
 
    OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER SET FORTH ABOVE. (FOOTNOTES OMITTED.)
 
    IN THE ACTIVITY'S PETITION FOR REVIEW IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE
 ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION RAISES MAJOR POLICY ISSUES. SPECIFICALLY,
 REVIEW IS REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING FOUR GROUNDS:
 
    1.  THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION ERRS BECAUSE IT FAILS TO
 ACCORD PROPER WEIGHT TO
 
    APPROPRIATE UNIT CRITERIA AS REQUIRED BY CONTROLLING PRINCIPLES OF
 UNIT DETERMINATION.
 
    2.  THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S DECISION ERRS IN ITS APPLICATION OF
 UNIT CRITERIA BECAUSE IN
 
    ITS ANALYSIS OF "COMMUNITY OF INTEREST" THE ELEMENTS CHOSEN FOR
 EXAMI