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47:0969(93)ro - - AFGE Local 2004 and Letterkenney Army Depot and Defense Logistics Agency Defense Distributuion Region East - - 1993 FLRAdec ro - - v47 p969

[ v47 p969 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

47 FLRA No. 93





LOCAL 2004












June 25, 1993


Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This case is before the Authority on an application for review of the Regional Director's (RD's) decision and order on a petition for exclusive recognition. The Petitioner sought recognition in a unit of all non-professional wage grade and class act employees of the Directorate of Maintenance, Air Delivery Division (ADD), Letterkenny Army Depot, Building 2-1, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, excluding all professional and other employees described in 5 U.S.C. § 7112(b)(2), (3), (4), (6), and (7). The RD found that the unit sought by the Petitioner was appropriate and directed an election.

The Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Distribution Region East (DDRE), filed an application for review of the RD'S Decision. The Union did not file an opposition to the application for review.

For the following reasons, we find that DDRE has not demonstrated compelling reasons warranting review of the RD's decision. The application for review will, therefore, be denied.

II. Background and Regional Director's Decision

Prior to April 1991, ADD employees were represented by the Petitioner as part of a bargaining unit at the New Cumberland Army Depot, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. In April 1991, DDRE was created by consolidating the New Cumberland Army Depot with the Defense Depot in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. At that time, ADD was transferred organizationally to the Letterkenny Army Depot, Directorate of Maintenance (D/MAINT), in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. However, ADD remained in New Cumberland, which is approximately 60 miles from Chambersburg. Following a clarification of unit proceeding, the RD excluded the ADD employees from the bargaining unit.(1) The Petitioner then filed a petition to represent a separate unit of ADD employees.

The RD found that ADD's mission is to repair, modify, and fabricate textiles and textile components for airdrop equipment, including parachutes, fabricate aircraft soundproofing blankets, and other rotary-wing textile components. He noted that D/MAINT is part of the Army's Depot Systems Command, and that its mission is to perform depot maintenance. The RD further found that: (1) ADD's manpower authorization, budget, and financial expenditures are handled by the Director of D/MAINT; (2) the ADD Chief reports to the Director of D/MAINT; (3) ADD employees have job descriptions which are similar to those of D/MAINT employees; and (4) some ADD employees have similar skills and perform similar work as D/MAINT employees.

The RD also found, however, that there is no job transfer, interchange, or on-the-job interaction between the ADD employees and other D/MAINT employees, and ADD employees are in a separate competitive area for merit promotions and reduction-in-force (RIF) purposes. He also noted that ADD is the only division of D/MAINT that receives its work assignments from the U.S. Army Troop Support Command and the Army Aviation Systems Command in St. Louis, Missouri. The RD stated that, although personnel and labor relations matters for ADD employees are handled by DDRE, the Chief of ADD establishes policy for labor relations and personnel matters and has authority for hiring, promotion, and discipline.

Based on these findings, the RD concluded that the petitioned-for ADD employees share a common mission, supervision, and location, as well as common working conditions, job duties, and work assignments. The RD concluded that the petitioned-for unit would promote "effective dealings and efficiency of agency operations," as follows:

[T]he authority for most personnel matters affecting the claimed employees is at the division level. In addition, the civilian personnel office responsible for administering such personnel matters and for labor relations services does not provide such services to other organizational components of LEAD.

RD's Decision at 5.

Based on the foregoing, the RD found that the petitioned-for unit was appropriate under section 7112(a)(1) of the Statute and he ordered that an election be held.(2)

III. Application for Review

As grounds for review, DDRE argues that the RD "departed from Authority precedent and failed to give equal weight to each of the three criteria which determine an appropriate bargaining unit . . . ." Application at 2. In particular, DDRE argues that the RD failed to "consider equally the evidence going to each of the three criteria" and "make the necessary affirmative determinations that a unit clearly, convincingly, and equally satisfies" each of the criteria.

Id. at 5. Moreover, DDRE argues that the RD "fails to accord proper weight to his own factual findings[.]" Id. at 9.

DDRE asserts that the RD's decision "ignores the body of evidence demonstrating the commonalities" that ADD employees share with D/MAINT employees and improperly emphasizes the geographic separation of the two groups of employees. Id. at 6. DDRE also asserts that the petitioned-for unit would not promote effective dealing with and efficient operations of DDRE because the unit would increase the number of bargaining units at DDRE and would fail to promote a "more comprehensive bargaining unit structure." Id.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

We conclude, for the reasons stated below, that no compelling reasons exist within the meaning of section 2422.17(c) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations for granting the application for review.

The Authority has not specified individual factors or the number of factors necessary to establish a community of interest. Rather, the Authority requires examination of the factors presented on a case-by-case basis. See Defense Mapping Agency, Aerospace Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 46 FLRA 502, 509 (1992). Our review shows that the RD properly determined that the petitioned-for unit was appropriate under section 7112(a)(1) of the Statute.

The RD found that numerous factors supported the appropriateness of the proposed unit, such as common mission, supervision, location, working conditions, job duties and unique work assignments. Although the RD considered the factors common to both the ADD and D/MAINT employees, such as similar administrative job descriptions and comparable skills, the RD also noted and considered several factors which ADD and D/MAINT employees do not have in common, including a personnel office, geographic location, competitive areas for merit promotion and RIF, and/or history of interchange and transfer.

In these circumstances, we reject DDRE's assertion that the RD failed to consider the employment aspects shared by ADD and D/MAINT employees. The RD clearly considered and weighed the factors militating against, as well as those supporting, a finding of a separate community of interest among the ADD employees in the petitioned-for unit. We are likewise unpersuaded that, as asserted by DDRE, the RD improperly emphasized the location of the ADD employees to the exclusion of the other relevant factors. We conclude that DDRE has failed to support its assertion that the RD's conclusion that the evidence established a community of interest among employees in the petitioned-for unit constitutes a departure from Authority precedent. See U.S. Geological Survey, Water Services Division, Southeastern Region, Caribbean District, 46 FLRA 832, 843-45 (1992) (U.S. Geological Survey).

The RD also determined, based on the entire record, and particularly the division-level authority for ADD personnel matters, that the proposed unit would promote effective dealings with and efficient operations of DDRE. This determination accords with Authority precedent and is supported by the record. See id. at 845. We, therefore, reject DDRE's assertion that the proposed unit is inappropriate because it increases the total number of bargaining units. The number of bargaining units is not dispositive of the section 7112(a)(1) analysis; what is required under the Statute is an appropriate bargaining unit, not necessarily the only appropriate unit. See U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, 38 FLRA 65, 73 (1990). We note, in this connection that, in contesting the RD's decision, DDRE does not argue that the RD considered or applied improper factors. Instead, DDRE disagrees with the emphasis the RD placed on certain findings, and with the conclusions he reached. DDRE's contention constitutes mere disagreement with the RD's conclusions. See National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 243, 39 FLRA 96, 102 (1991). Having examined the particular facts and circumstances of this case, as required by Authority precedent, we conclude that the record supports the RD's conclusion that the proposed unit will promote effective dealings with, and the efficiency of, agency operations. See Department of Health and Human Services, Region IX, San Francisco, California, 43 FLRA 1247, 1254 (1992); see also U.S. Geological Survey, 46 FLRA at 837.

DDRE has not established that the RD's conclusion that the petitioned-for unit satisfies the criteria of section 7112(a)(1) constitutes a departure from Authority precedent. We reject, in this regard, DDRE's argument that the RD erred by "fail[ing] to give equal weight to each of the three criteria . . . ." Application for Review at 1. We disagree. It is clear, in this regard, that the RD concluded that all the requirements of section 7112(a)(1) were met in this case. As such, the RD's conclusion that the petitioned-for unit was appropriate accords with Authority precedent.

As no compelling reasons exist for granting the application for review, we will deny the application.

V. Order

The application for review of the Regional Director's decision and order is denied.

(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)

1. The Petitioner's application for review of the RD's decision and order was dismissed as untimely. Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Distribution Region East, 45 FLRA 921 (1992).

2. Section 7112(a)(1) of the Statute provides:

(a)(1) The Authority shall determine the appropriateness of any unit . . . 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 the efficiency of the operations of, the agency involved.