[ v12 p143 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
12 FLRA No. 35 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE SACRAMENTO AIR LOGISTICS CENTER MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA Activity/Petitioner and INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL ENGINEERS, LOCAL 220, AFL-CIO Labor Organization Case No. 9-RA-7 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE SACRAMENTO AIR LOGISTICS CENTER MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA Activity/Petitioner and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 1857, AFL-CIO Labor Organization and INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL ENGINEERS, LOCAL 220, AFL-CIO Labor Organization Case No. 9-CU-53 DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNIT Upon petitions duly filed with the Federal Labor Relations Authority under section 7111(b)(2) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), a hearing was held before a hearing officer of the Authority. The hearing officer's rulings made at the hearing are free from prejudicial error and are hereby affirmed. Upon the entire record in these cases, including the parties' contentions, the Authority finds: In Case No. 9-RA-7, the Activity/Petitioner, Sacramento Air Logistics Center, McClellan Air Force Base, seeks a determination as to whether the bargaining unit of its employees for which the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 220, AFL-CIO (IFPTE) has been recognized as the exclusive representative since 1967, continues to be appropriate for the purpose of exclusive recognition under the Statute after two reorganizations within the Directorate of Maintenance. /1/ The Activity/Petitioner's position is that the unit is no longer appropriate. Alternatively, in Case No. 9-CU-53, the same Activity seeks to clarify the unit now represented by IFPTE to conform to the circumstances resulting from the reorganizations, and/or by accreting the employees affected by the reorganizations to a unit currently represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1857, AFL-CIO (AFGE). AFGE takes no position as to the continued appropriateness of the unit represented by IFPTE, but indicates that, if the Authority finds the IFPTE unit to be no longer appropriate, or determines that some or all of those employees should be included within AFGE's unit, it would represent them. IFPTE, on the other hand, maintains that the unit it currently represents remains appropriate. It contends that the only effect of the reorganizations has been to raise the question of whether those employees currently represented by AFGE, who were transferred into the administrative division of the Activity where the IFPTE unit exists, are now appropriately part of its unit. Without specifically seeking clarification of its unit to include that group of employees, IFPTE expresses its willingness to represent them if the Authority should so direct. The unit represented by IFPTE consists of approximately 450 employees in the Production Branch of the Flight Instruments and Pneudraulics Components Division of the Activity's Directorate of Maintenance. It consists of employees engaged in working on or with flight instruments, and their support personnel. The AFGE unit is a command-wide consolidated unit of some 80,000 employees, approximately 250 of whom are in the aforementioned Production Branch and are generally engaged in pneudraulic components rather than flight instruments. The issues raised herein relate solely to whether the existing pattern of representation within the Production Branch should continue or be altered. In 1980, the Activity contracted out the bulk of its test equipment repair and calibration work, and transferred the remaining 25 non-supervisory test equipment specialists from its Communications-Electronics Division into the Flight Instruments and Pneudraulics Components Division and its Production Branch. Designated as "Section B" of the Production Branch, they repair and calibrate test equipment used by mechanics to repair components. These employees were, and continue to be, represented by AFGE. In 1981, the Activity abolished the Flight Computer Section of the Production Branch and administratively transferred all of its 171 employees to the Flight Indicator Section or the General Flight Instrument Section. All three of those Sections were composed of employees represented by IFPTE, and, before the reorganization, they comprised IFPTE's unit in its entirety. This reorganization had no effect on the employees' work or work stations. As part of the 1981 reorganization, the Activity transferred approximately 17 non-supervisory employees from the Flight Indicator Section to Section B where they were further trained as equipment repair and calibration specialists and engaged in automatic test equipment functions on electronic equipment. Those employees were, and continue to be, represented by IFPTE. Section B was then divided into "Subsection BA" (the Peculiar Equipment Calibration Unit), consisting of those employees represented by AFGE, and "Subsection BB," comprised of those who continued to be represented by IFPTE. Before the 1980 and 1981 reorganizations, the Production Branch consisted of about 222 employees represented by AFGE in two Sections, both dealing entirely with pneudraulic components; and about 452 employees represented by IFPTE in three Sections all dealing with flight instruments. After the reorganizations, AFGE represented about 250 employees in the two pneudraulic components divisions and the new "Subsection BA," while IFPTE represented approximately 451 employees in the two remaining flight instrument sections and in "Subsection BB," composed of employees transferred from those two sections. In sum, the two reorganizations resulted in the creation of Section B and, more precisely, the placement of Subsection BA into the Production Branch. The employees in the Flight Indicator Section and the General Flight Instrument Section represented by IFPTE are engaged in the overhaul, calibration and final acceptance of aircraft instruments, just as they were before the reorganizations. The employees in Subsections BA and BB work on the test equipment that others, most significantly those in the Flight Indicator and General Flight Instrument Sections, use to perform their work and turn out an end product. The employees in the pneudraulic components sections, represented by AFGE, overhaul and repair aircraft hydraulic flight units, pumps, motors, and miscellaneous hydraulic and pneudraulic equipment. The employees in Subsections BA and BB, whose work is electronic in nature and requires electronics skills, do not work with pneudraulics or hydraulics. Employees in Subsections BA and BB, the Flight Indicator Section and the General Flight Instrument Section, work together in two buildings which are connected by a conveyor belt and which has been called, historically, the Instrument Repair Complex (Complex). The pneudraulic components employees represented by AFGE are located at least 500-600 yards away. Their work is not part of the integrated work product of the Complex, and they have little or no contact with the employees working in the Complex. Most of the Production Branch employees represented by AFGE are in the WG-8255 job series involving pneudraulic or hydraulic equipment repair and testing. Almost all of the employees at the Complex, represented by IFPTE, are Instrument Mechanics in the WG-3359 job series. /2/ Their work involves electrical instrument repair, utilizing electrical instruments and computers, and requires electro-mechanical skills. The majority of the employees in Subsections BA and BB are in the WG-2602 and WG-2650 job classifications, working as electronics measurement equipment mechanics and electronics integrated systems mechanics. As noted above, the employees of Subsection BA were physically transferred into the Production Branch in 1980 and were then physically located in the Instrument Repair Complex. The employees of Subsection BB, on the other hand, were merely transferred organizationally in 1981 from another section within the Complex where they had been performing similar automatic test equipment functions. They have now been trained to cope with additional job requirements and reclassified as WG-2602s or WG-2650s. The employees in Subsections BA and BB perform no work on pneudraulic equipment. Insofar as the record shows, all of the WG-2602s and WG-2650s employed by the Activity are located in Subsection BA or BB of the Production Branch. Of the approximately 450 employees in Production Branch sections represented by IFPTE, more than 400 are classified as Instrument Mechanics WG-3359. the activity employs only 4 other wg-3359s, all located in subsection BA. The employees in Subsection BA, and those represented by IFPTE located in the Instrument Repair Complex, deal with each other on a regular basis, while their work contacts with the pneudraulic components employees represented by AFGE are infrequent. The employees in the Instrument Repair Complex share common lunch and rest room facilities as well as a common work site. They also share 13-minute rest breaks as opposed to the 10 minute breaks alloted to the pneudraulic component employees represented by AFGE. The employees in the WG-3359 job series, who comprise over 90% of the IFPTE unit, progress in pay from WG-5 to WG-8 to WG-10, and have a journeyman level of WG-8 or 10. The pneudraulic employees in AFGE's unit within the Production Branch, who are in the WG-8255 job series, progress from WG-5 to 7, to 9, to 10, and have a journeyman level of WG-9. Neither the journeyman level nor the method of wage progression is clear with respect to the WG-2602s and WG-2650s, who comprise the majority of the employees in Subsections BA and BB, but their skills and training are closely related to those of the WG-3359 employees and dissimilar from those of the WG-8255s. It is concluded from the foregoing that IFPTE's bargaining unit continues to be appropriate under the criteria set forth in section 7112(a)(1) of the Statute. /3/ That unit remains essentially as it was before the reorganizations, a unit of Production Branch employees in the Instrument Repair Complex as opposed to employees who perform pneudraulic functions. The employees in IFPTE's unit continue to share a community of interest evidenced by their daily job interaction; common physical location; shared lunch room and rest room facilities; common or similar training, skills and equipment; similar work products, job series and wage progression; minimal temporary or permanent interchange to or from that unit; and common hours. Similarly, the integrated nature of the Instrument Repair Complex itself tends to promote effective dealings at that level with regard to labor relations and personnel matters, and the common problems and conditions inherent to the employees of the Complex seem to ensure that efficiency of the Activity's operations would be enhanced by negotiating and administering labor relations at that level. Accordingly, the Authority finds that the unit represented by IFPTE continues to be appropriate for the purpose of exclusive recognition, and the petition in Case No. 9-RA-7 shall be dismissed. It is also concluded, for the reasons enumerated above, that the employees in Subsection BA share a unique community of interest with the other employees of the Complex, separate and distinct from that of the pneudraulic function employees of the Production Branch. The record does not indicate that they share a community of interest with any employees outside the Production Branch. Further, not only would their inclusion in the unit represented by IFPTE promote efficiency of agency operations and effective dealings for the reasons already expressed, but it is clear that their exclusion perpetuates an artificial division of Section B and of the Instrument Repair Complex, necessitating contract negotiation and administration at a level unsupported by the Activity's administrative configuration or by the history of bargaining. Accordingly, the Authority finds that the bargaining unit represented by IFPTE should be clarified to include non-supervisory test equipment specialists who were transferred from the Communications-Electronics Division into the Peculiar Equipment Calibration Unit within the Production Branch of the Flight Instrument and Pneudraulic Components Division. ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the unit sought to be clarified, in which the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 220, AFL-CIO was recognized in 1967 be, and it hereby is, clarified by including in said unit all eligible employees in the Peculiar Equipment Calibration Unit, Automatic Test Systems Support Unit, Flight Indicator Section, and General Flight Instrument Section of the Flight Instruments and Pneudraulics Components Division in the Directorate of Maintenance, Sacramento Air Logistics Center, excluding management officials, supervisors, professional employees, employees with temporary appointments not to exceed one year and employees engaged in civilian personnel work other than in a purely clerical capacity. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the petition in Case No. 9-RA-7 be, and it hereby is, dismissed in its entirety. Issued, Washington, D.C., June 7, 1983 Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member Henry B. Frazier III, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ The original IFPTE unit is described as: All eligible employees in the Flight Computer Section, Flight Indicator Section and General Flight Instrument Section of the Flight Instruments and Pneudraulics Components Division in the Directorate of Maintenance, Sacramento Air Logistics Center and excluding management officials, supervisors, professional employees, employees with temporary appointment not to exceed one year and employees engaged in civilian personnel work in other than a purely clerical capacity. The Flight Computer Section was abolished in 1981, and its 171 employees were transferred to the remaining Sections within the unit exclusively represented by IFPTE. /2/ IFPTE's unit has also included 14 janitorial and other support personnel, and one clerical, within the Complex. /3/ Section 7112(a)(1) provides in pertinent part that the Authority shall determine a unit to be appropriate " . . . only if the determination will ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among the employees in the unit and will promote effective dealings with, and efficiency of the operations of, the agency involved."