12:0261(60)UC - Air Force, Air Training Command, Randolph AFB, TX and NFFE -- 1983 FLRAdec RP



[ v12 p261 ]
12:0261(60)UC
The decision of the Authority follows:


 12 FLRA No. 60
 
 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
 AIR TRAINING COMMAND
 RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, INDEPENDENT
 Petitioner
 
                                            Case No. 6-UC-4
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    Upon a petition filed with the Federal Labor Relations Authority
 under section 7112(d) of the Federal Service Labor-Management ,
 Relations Statute (the Statute), a hearing was held before a hearing
 officer of the Authority.  The Authority has reviewed the hearing
 officer's rulings made at the hearing and finds that they are free from
 prejudicial error.  The rulings are hereby affirmed.
 
    Upon the entire record in this case, including the parties'
 contentions, the Authority finds:
 
    The Petitioner, National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE),
 filed the subject petition seeking to consolidate seven existing units
 of exclusive recognition at five geographical locations within the Air
 Training Command (the Activity).  The units presently represented by
 NFFE are set forth in the Appendix.  In the alternative, NFFE indicated
 at the hearing that it would accept consolidation of only six of these
 units, excluding the unit of "Class Act and Wage Grade employees located
 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi."
 
    The Activity contends that the proposed consolidated unit and the
 alternative unit sought both are inappropriate under the criteria
 established by section 7112(a)(1) of the Statute /1/ because the
 employees involved lack a clear and identifiable community of interest,
 and because neither unit would promote effective dealings and efficiency
 of agency operations.  On the other hand, NFFE contends that either of
 the proposed consolidated units fulfills these criteria and therefore is
 appropriate under the Statute.
 
    The Activity is one of eleven major commands of the United States Air
 Force.  The mission of the Activity is to recruit and select officers,
 officer trainees and airmen, and to provide initial military and officer
 training, specialized in-depth skill and technical training, and
 correctional and rehabilitation training.  It accomplishes these
 missions by maintaining and operating training centers at 14
 installations, as well as recruiting offices in numerous geographic
 locations throughout the country.
 
    Under the direction of the Commander, the Activity is headquartered,
 in Texas at Randolph Air Force Base.  The Activity is organized along
 functional lines.  In addition to the Vice Commander, Chief of Staff and
 a support staff, the headquarters staff is composed of 10 functional
 organizations, each headed by a Deputy Chief of Staff.  The Activity
 operates technical training centers at Chanute Air Force Base, Sheppard
 Air Force Base, Keesler Air Force Base, Lowry Air Force Base, and
 Lackland Air Force Base;  in addition, there is a technical training
 wing located at Goodfellow Air Force Base.  The Activity conducts basic
 military and officer training at Lackland Air Force Base.  Undergraduate
 pilot training is conducted at Columbus Air Force Base, Laughlin Air
 Force Base, Reese Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, Sheppard Air
 Force Base and Williams Air Force Base.  Navigator training is conducted
 at Mather Air Force Base, and pilot instructor training is conducted at
 Randolph Air Force Base.  The Activity operates the Air University at
 Maxwell Air Force Base, which is primarily responsible for Air Force
 professional education, the Air War College, Air Command and Staff
 College, Squadron Officer School, Leadership and Management Development
 Center, as well as other educational functions.  The Activity also
 operates the School of Health Care Sciences at Sheppard Air Force Base,
 a correction and rehabilitation squadron at Lowry Air Force Base, and
 the San Antonio Real Property Maintenance Agency and San Antonio
 Contracting Center.  In addition, there are a number of units assigned
 to other bases, and numerous recruiting offices are located and operated
 throughout the country.
 
    In summary, in addition to a number of offices and activities
 performed at locations not under its control, the Activity operates
 training centers, educational and correctional units at 14 separate
 geographical locations, and employs an overall total of approximately
 31,000 civilian personnel.  There are approximately 33 exclusive
 bargaining units throughout the Activity, seven of which are represented
 by NFFE at five of the 14 locations, and these units are the subject of
 the instant consolidation petition.  Approximately 3,000 employees
 (about 10% of the Activity's total civilian workforce) are in NFFE's
 bargaining units.  /2/
 
    NFFE's bargaining units are located at Chanute Air Force Base,
 Illinois;  Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas;  Keesler Air Force Base,
 Mississippi;  Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado;  and Columbus Air Force
 Base, Mississippi.  As noted above, the Activity operates technical
 training centers at Chanute Air Force Base and Keesler Air Force Base.
 In addition to a technical training center at Sheppard Air Force Base,
 the Activity operates an undergraduate pilot training course and the
 School of Health Care Sciences.  At Lowry Air Force Base, the Activity
 operates a correctional and rehabilitation unit in addition to a
 technical training center.  However, at Columbus Air Force Base, the
 Activity operates only an undergraduate pilot training course.  /3/ Each
 technical training center operated by the Activity provides training in
 a variety of skills and specialties.  The center at Chanute Air Force
 Base provides weapons systems support training, aircraft maintenance,
 weather, missile training and aircraft specialist training.  At Sheppard
 Air Force Base, the mission includes communication/missile training,
 aircraft maintenance, civil engineering, comptroller and transportation
 training.  At Keesler Air Force Base, the training includes avionics,
 computer systems, radar systems/air traffic control, personnel,
 administration and systems operations, and communication systems.  At
 Lowry Air Force Base, training is provided in the
 intelligence/audiovisual area, logistics, avionics and munitions.  The
 proposed consolidated unit encompasses four of the six technical
 training centers and two of the seven flying training units operated by
 the Activity.
 
    Each of the installations is responsible for differing and
 specialized training missions of the Activity.  There is virtually no
 interchange or transfer of employees among the different bases, although
 there is some degree of transfer between different operations of the
 Activity at any one base.  Of approximately 347 separate job
 classifications, the proposed consolidated unit would include only 161.
 The record further reveals that personnel and labor relations policies
 are not centrally established;  rather, extensive personnel and labor
 relations authority has been delegated to the respective commanders at
 each of those installations, at which there is a local civilian
 personnel office, including the authority to promote, reassign,
 discipline, demote, detail, compensate and separate civilian employees
 without the involvement of Air Training Command headquarters.  This
 delegation includes substantial discretion in determining the best way
 to achieve the mission of each installation, and extends to such matters
 as hours of work, tours of duty, management of civilian positions,
 reductions in force, civilian employee training, assignment of overtime,
 setting rates of pay for wage grade employees, and negotiating with
 exclusive bargaining representatives concerning the employees'
 conditions of employment.  Accordingly, personnel and labor relations
 policies, as well as many conditions of employment, vary widely from
 installation to installation.
 
    In Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 5 FLRA No. 89
 (1981), the Authority noted that section 7112(a)(1) of the Statute
 requires that any unit found appropriate must conform to the three
 criteria established by that section-- a clear and identifiable
 community of interest among the employees in the unit, and the promotion
 of effective dealings with, and the efficiency of the operations of, the
 agency involved.  The Authority further noted that section 7112(d),
 which provides for the consolidation of existing units into a single
 more comprehensive unit, requires that such consolidated unit meet the
 same three criteria required of any proposed unit.
 
    With regard to the community of interest criterion, the Authority
 will consider the degree of commonality and integration of the mission
 and function of the components involved;  the distribution of the
 employees involved throughout the organizational and geographical
 components of the agency;  the degree of similarity of the occupational
 undertakings of the employees in the proposed unit;  and the locus and
 scope of personnel and labor relations authority and functions.
 Department of the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, 8 FLRA No. 4 (1982).  As
 noted above, the employees in the proposed consolidated unit are
 involved in disparate missions requiring different job skills,
 classifications and duties;  are not involved in an integrated work
 process;  and do not transfer or interchange among the existing units.
 Moreover, the proposed consolidated unit would be limited to employees
 in only 5 of the Activity's 14 geographical locations, constituting only
 about 10% of the Air Training Command's total civilian workforce.
 Further, the authority and control over personnel and labor relations
 matters historically have been delegated to each local installation
 commander.  Based on these facts, the Authority finds that the
 petitioned for consolidated unit would not ensure a clear and
 identifiable community of interest among the employees involved.
 Similarly, for the foregoing reasons, the Authority concludes that the
 alternative proposed consolidated unit, excluding one of the seven units
 exclusively represented by NFFE within the Activity, also would not
 satisfy the community of interest criterion.  /4/ Accordingly, the
 Authority concludes that the petition must be dismissed.
 
                                   ORDER
 
 IT IS ORDERED that the petition in Case No. 6-UC-4 be, and it hereby is,
 dismissed.  Issued, Washington, D.C., June 28, 1983
                                       Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman
                                       Ronald W. Haughton, Member
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
                                 Appendix
 
    Unit No. 1 Included:  All appropriated fund professional employees
 serviced by the Central Civilian Personnel Office at Chanute Technical
 Training Center, Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois.
 
    Excluded:  Management officials, supervisors, employees engaged in
 civilian personnel work other than those in a purely clerical capacity
 and all guards.
 
    Unit No. 2 Included:  All appropriated fund non-professional
 employees serviced by the Central Civilian Personnel Office at Chanute
 Technical Training Center, Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois.
 
    Excluded:  Management officials, supervisors, employees engaged in
 civilian personnel work other than those in a purely clerical capacity
 and all guards.
 
    Unit No. 3 Included:  All General Schedule employees serviced by the
 Central Civilian Personnel Office at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
 
    Excluded:  Management officials, supervisors, employees engaged in
 civilian personnel work other than those in a purely clerical capacity,
 employees serving in temporary time limited appointments, and all
 personnel located at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
 
    Unit No. 4 Included:  All General Schedule employees in the USAF
 Technical Training School, Keesler Air Force Base.
 
    Excluded:  Management officials, professional employees, employees
 engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a purely clerical
 capacity, supervisors and guards as described in E.O. 11491.
 
    Unit No. 5 Included:  All appropriated fund professional and
 non-professional civilian employees of the 3415th Technical School,
 United States Air Force.  (Lowry Air Force Base)
 
    Excluded:  Management officials, supervisors and employees engaged in
 civilian personnel work other than those in a purely clerical capacity.
 
    Unit No. 6 Included:  All professional employees of Lowry Air Force
 Base, including tenant organizations.
 
    Excluded:  All non-professional employees, temporary employees with
 less than 90 day appointments, employees engaged in Federal personnel
 work in other than a purely clerical capacity, confidential employees,
 management officials and supervisors as defined in the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations, employees covered under other exclusive
 recognitions, and professional employees of the Air Force Accounting and
 Finance Center, Air Reserve Personnel Center, Flite Executive Services
 of the Office of Judge Advocate General and USAF Auditor General's
 representative.
 
    Unit No. 7 Included:  All Class Act and Wage Grade employees,
 including all career-conditional employees.  (Columbus Air Force Base)
 
    Excluded:  All managerial employees, all non-supervisory professional
 employees, employees engaged in Federal personnel work in other than a
 clerical capacity, employees of tenant organizations, except Air Force
 Commissary Service (AFCOMS), guards and supervisors as defined in the
 Order.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ Section 7112(a)(1) provides:
 
          Sec. 7112.  Determination of appropriate units for labor
       organization representation
 
          (a)(1) The Authority shall determine the appropriateness of any
       unit.  The Authority shall determine in each case whether, in
       order to ensure employees the fullest freedom in exercising the
       rights guaranteed under this chapter, the appropriate unit should
       be established on an agency, plant, installation, functional, or
       other basis and shall determine any unit to be an appropriate unit
       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.
 
 
    /2/ There is some dispute concerning the total number of employees
 assigned to the Activity.  It appears that an indeterminate number of
 the total may be employees of tenant organizations and/or
 non-appropriated fund employees assigned to the bases operated by the
 Activity.  Similarly, an indeterminate number of employees in NFFE's
 units appear to be employees of tenant organizations and/or
 non-appropriated fund employees.  However, the record evidence as to the
 total number of Activity employees will be relied upon for purposes of
 this Decision.
 
 
    /3/ This distinction is the basis for NFFE's proposed exclusion of
 these employees from the alternative consolidated unit.  Thus, this is
 the only un