U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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16:0554(77)CU - Navy, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH and IFPTE Local 4 -- 1984 FLRAdec RP

[ v16 p554 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 16 FLRA No. 77
                                            Case No. 1-CU-30007
    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
    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
    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/
    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
                                       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.