16:0429(67)RO - Library of Congress and Fraternal Order of Police, Library of Congress Police Force Labor Committee and AFSCME Local 2477 -- 1984 FLRAdec RP

[ v16 p429 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 16 FLRA No. 67
                                            Case No. 3-RO-40001
    On September 14, 1984, the American Federation of State, County and
 Municipal Employees, Local 2477, AFL-CIO (Intervenor) filed a timely
 application for review, pursuant to section 2422.17(a) of the
 Authority's Rules and Regulations, seeking to set aside the Acting
 Regional Director's Decision and Direction of Election in the
 above-named case.  In support thereof, the Intervenor contends that
 compelling reasons exist for granting its application within the meaning
 of section 2422.17(c) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.  /1/ The
 Fraternal Order of Police, Library of Congress Police Force Labor
 Committee (Petitioner) filed an opposition to the application for
    Upon consideration of the Intervenor's application for review,
 including the arguments in support thereof, it appears to the Authority
 that a compelling reason exists for granting the application for review.
  More specifically, it appears that a substantial question of law or
 policy is raised because of a departure from Authority precedent.
 Accordingly, pursuant to section 2422.17(g) of the Authority's Rules and
 Regulations, the application for review is granted and the Authority
 will consider herein the issue raised by the application for review.
    The Petitioner seeks to represent a unit of all full and regular
 part-time uniformed special police officers (SPOs) of the Library of
 Congress Police Force below the rank of sergeant.  Since 1976, these
 employees have been part of a unit of nonprofessional employees of the
 Library of Congress exclusively represented by the Intervenor.  The
 Intervenor contends that the unit sought by the Petitioner is
 inappropriate and would result in an unnecessary fragmentation of the
 existing unit.
    In his Decision and Direction of Election, the Acting Regional
 Director concluded that both the broader established Activity-wide unit
 represented by the Intervenor and the smaller petitioned for unit of
 SPOs are appropriate.  In finding the broader established unit including
 the SPOs to be appropriate, the Acting Regional Director noted
 particularly:  The SPOs share common agency personnel regulations and a
 community of interest with other unit employees;  the SPOs are included
 in an agency-wide competitive area for merit promotions and
 reductions-in-force;  and they have been part of a long-established
 bargaining unit.  Further, he found that the SPOs have been officers and
 members of the Intervenor's negotiating team and, as a group, have been
 fairly represented pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement as well
 as in their grievances filed under the negotiated grievance procedure
 contained therein.  The Acting Regional Director further found, based
 upon certain evidence presented and reliance upon the rationale
 contained in Department of the Navy, Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia,
 14 FLRA No. 93 (1984) and Panama Canal Commission, 5 FLRA 104 (1981),
 that the SPOs may also constitute a separate appropriate unit.  In this
 regard, the Acting Regional Director noted that the SPOs are subject to
 certain working conditions different from other bargaining unit
 employees, such as:  24 hour shift schedules;  uniforms and firearms
 requirements;  special training;  and different reduction-in-force and
 arbitration procedures for SPOs than those contained in the overall
 unit's "master" agreement.  Additionally, the Acting Regional Director
 concluded that, by virtue of a separate collective bargaining agreement
 for SPOs, the latter have maintained a separate identity and that the
 Activity and Intervenor have treated them as a group separate and
 distinct from the other bargaining unit employees.  Accordingly, the
 Acting Regional Director ordered an election to afford the petitioned
 for employees the opportunity to choose whether they wish to continue
 being part of the existing nonprofessional unit represented by the
 Intervenor, to be represented by the Petitioner in the smaller SPOs
 unit, or not to be represented at all.
    Based on established precedent, and the particular circumstances of
 this case, the Authority disagrees, in part, with the Acting Regional
 Director's Decision and Direction of Election.  The petition herein is
 seeking to carve out or sever from the established Activity-wide unit
 represented by the Intervenor a much smaller unit of SPOs.  In Office of
 Hearing and Appeals, Social Security Administration, Case No.
 3-RO-20005, FLRA Report of Case Decisions, No. 268 (Nov. 9, 1984);  U.S.
 Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Otis Air Force Base, Pocasset,
 Massachusetts, 10 FLRA 543 (1982);  and Department of the Navy, Naval
 Air Station, Moffett Field, California, 8 FLRA 10 )1982), in which the
 Authority addressed similar severance issues under the Statute, it was
 concluded that there existed no unusual circumstances, such as the
 failure of the incumbent exclusive representative to fairly represent
 the employees sought, which would give rise to a question of
 representation concerning the petitioned for unit and justify severance
 from the existing larger units which continued to remain appropriate.
 In view of the above determination, the Authority found it unnecessary
 to and did not consider the appropriateness of the petitioned for
 smaller units.  That is, where, as here, an established bargaining unit
 continues to be appropriate and no unusual circumstances are presented,
 a petition seeking to remove certain employees from the overall unit and
 to separately represent them must be dismissed, in the interest of
 reducing the potential for unit fragmentation and thereby promoting
 effective dealings and efficiency of agency operations.  See section
 7112(a)(1) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.
    The case decisions cited by the Acting Regional Director in support
 of his Decision are inapposite since they involve representation
 petitions concerning unrepresented employees, rather than the requested
 severance of a group of employees from an established exclusively
 represented unit.  In Panama Canal Commission, the Authority, on the
 facts presented, found that an unrepresented group of firefighters could
 constitute a separate appropriate unit or properly could be included as
 part of the established Activity-wide unit.  Similarly, in Department of
 the Navy, Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia, the Authority found that
 unrepresented firefighters and fire prevention employees who had been
 transferred into the Activity from another facility might be included in
 the Activity-wide unit or constitute a separate appropriate unit.
    The record establishe