[ v12 p261 ]
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 unit represented by NFFE which does not cover employees in a technical training center. /4/ Inasmuch as all three criteria of section 7112(a)(1) of the Statute must be satisfied in order for the Authority to find that a proposed consolidated unit is appropriate, a failure to satisfy any one of them must result in a finding that the unit sought is inappropriate. See U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 11 FLRA No. 28 (1983); Department of the Navy, Navy Publications and Printing Service Branch Office, Vallejo, California, 10 FLRA No. 108 (1982).