35:1311(154)RO - - Air Force, Edwards AFB, CA and Sport Air Traffic Controllers Organization - - 1990 FLRAdec RP - - v35 p1311


[ v35 p1311 ]
35:1311(154)RO
The decision of the Authority follows:


35 FLRA No. 154

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA

(Activity)

and

SPORT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ORGANIZATION (1)

(Union/Petitioner)

8-RO-90007

ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR REVIEW

May 31, 1990

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This case is before the Authority on an application for review filed by the Activity under section 2422.17(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations seeking review of the Regional Director's Decision and Direction of Election. The Regional Director (RD) found that a unit of Air Traffic Control Specialists employed at Edwards Air Force Base was appropriate and directed an election in that unit. The RD also found that three Electronics Technicians who are assigned to the same organizational subdivision and work with the Air Traffic Control Specialists should be included in the unit. The Union filed an opposition to the Activity's application.

For the following reasons, we deny the application.

II. Background and Regional Director's Decision

The Union filed a petition to represent a unit consisting of Air Traffic Control Specialists (GS-2152) (ATCSs) employed at Edwards Air Force Base. There are currently 15 nonsupervisory ATCSs employed at the Base. A hearing was conducted on the issue of the appropriateness of the proposed unit. On February 7, 1990, the RD issued a Decision and Direction of Election.

In his decision the RD found as follows: The ATCSs are in a job classification separate from all other employees at Edwards Air Force Base and in a specialized and distinct occupational field. The interaction between the ATCSs and other employees at Edwards Air Force Base is very limited and primarily is confined to three Electronics Technicians who are responsible for maintaining the equipment used by the ATCSs and who are in the same organizational subdivision as the ATCSs. The ATCSs work in an area of a building (Ridley Mission Control Test Center) common only to themselves and the three Electronics Technicians. With the exception of the three Electronics Technicians, the ATCSs' work processes are negligibly integrated with the rest of the employees at Edwards Air Force Base. While covered by the same Air Force personnel regulations as all other Air Force employees at Edwards, the ATCSs are subject to different retirement provisions and physical examination requirements than most of those employees. In view of the unique qualifications involved, the potential for movement by employees between ATCS positions and other positions at Edwards Air Force Base in a reduction-in-force (RIF) is slight. The working hours of the ATCSs are unique to them and the three Electronics Technicians.

The RD held that the ATCSs possessed a clear and identifiable community of interest distinct from other employees, with the exception of the three Electronics Technicians, at Edwards Air Force Base. He found that a unit consisting of the ATCSs would not impair or impede effective dealings and efficiency of operations and would not cause unnecessary fragmentation. The RD further found that the three Electronics Technicians should be included in the unit with the ATCSs based on common work hours and location, operational function, and supervision (the second-level supervisor of the ATCSs is the first-line supervisor of the three Electronics Technicians). The RD concluded that the three Electronics Technicians share a community of interest with the ATCSs and that their inclusion in a unit separate from the larger technician population would not cause unnecessary fragmentation. The RD did not include the three Electronics Technicians in the unit as described in the Direction of Election, however. In the Direction of Election the RD described the unit as follows:

INCLUDED: All non-supervisory, non-management civilian GS-2152 Air Traffic Control Specialists who provide air traffic control services for the Department of the Air Force, who are Department of the Air Force employees employed at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

EXCLUDED: All professional employees, management officials, supervisors, and employees as described in 5 U.S.C. 7112(b)(2),(3),(4),(6) and (7).

III. Application for Review

In its application for review the Activity contends that the RD's finding that a unit consisting of the ATCSs and the three Electronics Technicians is appropriate is inconsistent with Authority precedent. The Activity's objections center primarily on the small size of the unit and disagreement with the RD's conclusion that the ATCSs and three Electronics Technicians share a community of interest that is sufficiently distinct from other employees at Edwards Air Force Base to warrant placement in a separate unit. The Activity contends that, at a minimum, the approximately 77 other Electronics Technicians employed at Edwards Air Force Base should be included in the unit, but that, more appropriately, the unit should consist of all nonsupervisory, appropriated fund, General Schedule employees at Edwards Air Force Base. The Activity argues that establishing a unit as small as that found by the RD to be appropriate is inconsistent with Authority precedent. The Activity also contends that the facts of the case do not support the RD's conclusion that the unit is appropriate.

IV. Opposition

The Un