48:1258(133)RO - - GSA, Las Vegas Fleet Management Center, Sparks Field Office, Sparks, NV and AFGE Council 236 - - 1993 FLRAdec RO - - v48 p1258

[ v48 p1258 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

48 FLRA No. 133












(Labor Organization/Petitioner)




December 30, 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 filed by the Petitioner (Council 236) under section 2422.17(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.

In its petition before the Regional Director (RD), Council 236 sought an election to determine whether certain employees wished to be included in an existing consolidated unit. In his Decision and Order, the RD found that because the unit sought by the petition does not constitute an appropriate unit, no election was warranted. Accordingly, the RD dismissed the petition.

Council 236 seeks review of the RD's decision. The Activity did not file an opposition to the application for review. On consideration of the application for review, we find that a substantial question of law or policy is raised because of the absence of Authority precedent on an issue ruled on by the RD. Therefore, we grant the application for review. On review of the RD's decision, for the reasons discussed below, we find that the petition must be dismissed.

II. Background

On September 10, 1980, in Case No. 3-UC-1, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) was certified as the exclusive representative of a consolidated bargaining unit of all nonprofessional employees of the General Services Administration (GSA) for which AFGE and its affiliated Locals/Councils held exclusive recognition. Included in the consolidated unit was a unit comprised of all wage grade employees of GSA's motor pool at Reno and Carson City, Nevada, for which Council 236 held exclusive recognition. These wage grade employees were automotive equipment repair mechanics and inspectors. Motor pools were part of GSA's fleet maintenance operations, with 10 fleet maintenance centers throughout GSA's Region 9.

In 1986, GSA contracted out all vehicle maintenance and repair work and restructured its fleet maintenance operations. The Reno motor pool became a field office of the Las Vegas Fleet Maintenance Center. There were no longer any fleet maintenance employees at Carson City, and only one nonsupervisory inspector remained at Reno. Mechanical work was no longer performed by GSA. There was still a need for automotive inspection work, but the duties of the inspectors changed.

In 1988, the Reno Field Office was moved approximately two miles to new space in Sparks, Nevada. The one nonsupervisory inspector at Reno, a WG-11 Automotive Equipment Repair Inspector, was moved to Sparks.

In 1991, all automotive inspectors throughout GSA's Region 9 were reclassified to reflect the changes in their duties. The Sparks inspector was reclassified as a GS-9 Equipment Specialist (Automotive). Council 236 filed an amendment of certification (AC) petition in Case No. SF-AC-30027 seeking to reflect the change in the location of the Reno field office to Sparks, thereby including the single equipment specialist in the consolidated unit. The Acting Regional Director (ARD) noted that the AC petition was not the appropriate vehicle to obtain the result requested by Council 236, but decided to reach the issues presented by treating the petition also as a clarification of unit (CU) petition.

The ARD found that the changes in the duties of the automotive inspectors in 1986 were substantial and the reclassification in 1991 was merely a reflection of those changes, and there was no evidence that the parties considered the Sparks employee as included in the consolidated unit since 1986. The ARD, therefore, denied the petition to amend the certification and refused to clarify the consolidated unit to reflect the change in the location of the Reno field office to Sparks and to include the Sparks employee in the unit. Because there were no longer any unit employees at Reno or Carson City, the ARD clarified the consolidated unit by deleting from it the unit of all wage grade employees of GSA's motor pool at Reno and Carson City. Decision and Order, Case No. SF-AC-30027 (May 13, 1993). No application for review of the ARD's decision and order in that case was filed.

III. Regional Director's Decision

In September 1993, Council 236 filed the certification of representative (RO) petition in this case seeking an election to determine whether employees in a unit consisting of "[a]ll nonprofessional employees at the Sparks, Nevada Field Office" wish to be included in the consolidated unit of all nonprofessional employees of GSA for which AFGE was certified in Case No. 3-UC-1. RD's Decision at 1.

The RD found that there is only one employee in the unit sought--the Sparks equipment specialist. Before the RD, GSA took the position that the employee's inclusion in the consolidated unit was not appropriate "because the employee at Sparks does not have an identifiable community of interest separate and apart from eligible employees at the Las Vegas Fleet Management Center and employees at other unrepresented fleet management offices within GSA Region 9." Id.

Based on established Authority policy, the RD found that, where a union petitions for an election to add employees to an existing unit, the inclusion of such employees must result in an overall unit which meets the standards set forth in section 7112(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute). In addition, the RD found that where the unit is a residual unit (that is, a unit of all eligible unrepresented employees of the employer), the unit may not have to meet those standards; however, where the unit is not a residual unit, the unit must meet those standards and constitute a separate appropriate unit.

The RD found that, "in order to add a previously excluded category of employees to an existing unit, as requested in this case, the petitioned-for unit must also independently constitute an appropriate u