[ v16 p554 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
16 FLRA No. 77 DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE Activity and INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL ENGINEERS, LOCAL 4, AFL-CIO-CLC Petitioner Case No. 1-CU-30007 DECISION AND ORDER CLARIFYING UNIT Upon a petition duly filed with the Authority under section 7111(b)(2) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), a hearing was held before hearing officers of the Authority. The hearing officers' rulings made at the hearing are free from prejudicial error and are hereby affirmed. Upon the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority finds: The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 4, AFL-CIO-CLC (the Petitioner) is recognized as the exclusive representative for a unit of general schedule professional and non-professional employees in the engineering sciences and associated fields who are employed at and by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Initially recognized in 1963, the unit was clarified to include employees in certain safety and occupational health classifications in 1983, and includes more than 800 employees. Essentially, the petition seeks to clarify the unit status of about 30 employees /1/ of the Naval Material Quality Assessment Office (hereinafter NMQAO) of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), a headquarters component of the Department of the Navy. Prior to an organizational separation of NMQAO from the Shipyard and its physical relocation in 1983, the employees were considered as being covered by the Petitioner's Shipyard unit. Between 1963, when the Petitioner's unit was recognized, and about 1972, the office which became NMQAO was wholly a Shipyard production department and only performed work for the Shipyard. Around 1972 its work was expanded to cover not only the Portsmouth Shipyard, but also all eight shipyards of the Naval Ships Command (NAVSHIPS), the predecessor to NAVSEA. It became an organizational component of NAVSHIPS while remaining subject to administrative direction from the Commander of the Shipyard. The status and functions of the office, the forerunner to NMQAO, continued to evolve between 1972 and 1983. NAVSHIPS was absorbed and supplanted by NAVSEA and the mission and functions of the office were expanded to cover not only the eight shipyards, but also about 48 other NAVSEA components, including NAVSEA's ordnance facilities. It also became responsible for the development and administration of centralized quality assurance and assessment systems for NAVSEA. In 1983, NMQAO, as the office became titled during the above developments, was organizationally separated from the Portsmouth Shipyard to become a NAVSEA Detachment Office. Needing space which could not be provided at the Shipyard, NMQAO was also physically relocated into the Federal Building in downtown Portsmouth, across the Piscataqua River from the Shipyard. Whereas the Shipyard previously provided administrative services to NMQAO out of its own budget without reimbursement, under these organizational changes NMQAO became responsible for reimbursing the Shipyard for the costs of services which continued. The Shipyard Commander was relieved of his prior responsibility for NMQAO's day-to-day operations. The Director of NMQAO became wholly responsible for these matters, including the determination and administration of personnel policies and practices and matters affecting the working conditions of NMQAO employees, under delegations from NAVSEA headquarters, to which the Director of NMQAO is directly responsible. The competitive areas for NMQAO employees for merit promotion and reductions-in-force were separated from the competitive areas for Shipyard employees. The mission and functions of NMQAO are highly specialized and distinguishable from the Shipyard's. There are personnel in the engineering and associated fields at the Shipyard who perform quality assurance and assessment work in Shipyard production departments, but this work is performed solely for the Shipyard. NMQAO personnel perform related functions and they have contact with the quality assurance and assessment personnel at the Shipyard in this work, but only to the same extent they perform related functions for and have contact with personnel engaged in such work for all the other NAVSEA shipyards and facilities. The Authority finds that NMQAO has wholly become a headquarters component of NAVSEA, i.e., an activity separate and apart from the Shipyard, and that the Director of NMQAO has become fully responsible to NAVSEA headquarters for day-to-day operations of the office and the determination and administration of personnel policies and practices and matters affecting the working conditions of NMQAO employees. NMQAO and its employees have been physically, functionally, and administratively separated from the Portsmouth Shipyard, and its mission and functions are now separate and distinct from the mission and functions of the Shipyard. It is concluded that, by the character and degree of the 1983 reorganization, the employees of NMQAO no longer share a clear and identifiable community of interest with the employees in the Shipyard unit. /2/ See United States Department of the Navy, Naval Avionics Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, 11 FLRA No. 98 (1983), and cases cited therein. /3/ Accordingly, we shall clarify the Petitioner's bargaining unit at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to exclude employees of NMQAO from its coverage. In so concluding, the Authority shall not pass upon whether employees of NMQAO would constitute an appropriate unit for collective bargaining purposes. /4/ ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the unit sought to be clarified herein be, and it hereby is, clarified by excluding from said unit employees of the Naval Material Quality Assessment Office (NMQAO) of the Naval Sea Systems Command located at the Federal Building, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Issued, Washington, D.C., November 19, 1984 Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ While the petition states that the number of affected employees is 20, testimony shows that the staff complement of the office has increased to about 30 at the time of the hearing. /2/ In view of this finding, it is unnecessary to pass upon whether the continued inclusion of the employees in question would promote effective dealings and the efficiency of agency operations. /3/ Without passing upon the effects of the reorganizations prior to 1983, we reject the Petitioner's argument that the fact that NMQAO employees continued to be considered by the parties as being included within the Shipyard unit prior to the 1983 reorganization dictates a different result. /4/ It is noted that this finding would not preclude any labor organization from seeking, through an appropriate petition, a determination as to whether or not a new unit appropriate for the purpose of exclusive recognition has been created as a result of the reorganization in 1983. See Federal Aviation Administration, Aviation Standards National Field Office, 15 FLRA No. 14 (1984), at n. 6.