[ v53 p1174 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
53 FLRA No. 93
FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
U.S. ARMY RESERVE COMMAND
88th REGIONAL SUPPORT COMMAND
FORT SNELLING, MINNESOTA
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 2144, AFL-CIO
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 1882, AFL-CIO
DECISION AND ORDER ON REVIEW
January 20, 1998
Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Donald S. Wasserman and Dale Cabaniss, Members.
I. Statement of the Case
This case is before the Authority on an application for review of a Regional Director's (RD) decision filed by Intervenor American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1882, AFL-CIO (AFGE, Local 1882), under section 2422.31 of the Authority's Regulations.(1) The RD granted a petition seeking to amend a certification to change from AFGE, Local 1882 to American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2144, AFL-CIO (AFGE, Local 2144). The RD found that the change was accomplished in a manner consistent with the required procedures established in Veterans Administration Hospital, Montrose, New York, 4 A/SLMR 858 (1974), review denied 3 FLRC 259 (1975) (Montrose).
For the reasons set forth below, we grant review under section 2422.31(c)(3)(i). We conclude that the RD erred in granting the petition to amend AFGE, Local 1882's certification, and we dismiss the petition.
II. Background and RD's Decision
AFGE, Local 1882 was certified as the exclusive representative of a unit of employees reporting to the 88th Regional Support Command, Fort Snelling, Minnesota (Activity).(2) In addition to being the exclusive representative of that unit, Local 1882 is the certified exclusive representative of numerous other units.
Notice of a special meeting was given by a Vice President of Local 1882 to all Local 1882 members in the Fort Snelling bargaining unit. The notice advised Union members that the purpose of the special meeting was to discuss and vote on whether the unit should seek to amend its certification to reflect a change in designation from AFGE, Local 1882 to AFGE, Local 2144.(3) The special meeting was held, and the Union members who were present voted unanimously (6-0) to change the unit's designation from Local 1882 to Local 2144.
A petition to effect the change in certification from AFGE, Local 1882 to AFGE, Local 2144 was filed in the name of Local 1882 by the same Vice President of Local 1882 who called the meeting. Subsequently, the President of Local 1882 requested that the petition be withdrawn on the ground that the Vice President had no authority to act on behalf of Local 1882. The Regional Director approved the withdrawal.
Shortly thereafter, a second petition was filed, again seeking to change Local 1882's certification to Local 2144. This petition, which is at issue here, was filed on behalf of AFGE, Local 2144 by AFGE, Local 2144's President. In response to the filing of the second petition, the President of AFGE, Local 1882 submitted a letter to a Field Agent at the Chicago Regional Office stating, among other things, that the President of Local 2144 did not have the authority to act on behalf of Local 1882, and requesting that the petition be withdrawn.
The Regional Office conducted an investigation of the petition. As a result of that investigation, the RD concluded that the change in affiliation met the procedural requirements of Montrose and that the change in affiliation would not affect the continuity of representation. Based on these findings, without addressing the issue of AFGE, Local 2144's standing to file the petition to amend certification, the RD granted the petition.
III. AFGE, Local 1882's Application for Review
AFGE, Local 1882 claims that the Authority should grant review under 5 C.F.R. § 2422.31(c)(3)(i), (ii) and (iii), overturn the RD's decision, and dismiss the petition to amend certification on three grounds.
First, Local 1882 claims that a petition to amend certification based on Montrose is intended only to accommodate a nominal or technical change of an activity or exclusive representative. Local 1882 argues that Authority precedent provides that such a petition is "an inappropriate vehicle to change the certification from one labor organization to another[,]" as occurred in this case. Petition for Review at 11.
Second, Local 1882 claims that the Montrose standards were not followed. Specifically, Local 1882 argues that the meeting during which the secret ballot to change Local 1882's affiliation took place did not meet the Montrose requirements because it was not a "special meeting"; it did not take place at a time and place convenient to all members; and only members of the Fort Snelling bargaining unit received notice of the meeting.
Finally, AFGE, Local 1882 claims that AFGE, Local 2144 lacked standing to file the petition. Relying on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., 52 FLRA 772 (1996) (EPA), Local 1882 claims that a petition to amend certification must be dismissed where it is filed by a person who has "no authority to act in the name of the incumbent labor organization." Petition for Review at 23. Because Local 2144 was not the incumbent labor organization at the time the petition was filed, Local 1882 claims the petition must be dismissed. Local 1882 contends that although the Authority issued new representation regulations that were not applicable in EPA, the Authority did not intend for a non-incumbent labor organization to have standing to amend the certification of an incumbent organization.(4)
IV. Analysis and Conclusions
A. AFGE, Local 2144, Does Not Have Standing to File a Petition Seeking to Change AFGE, Local 1882's Certification to AFGE, Local 2144
A petition to amend a certificate to reflect a union's change in affiliation may only be filed by the organization that is the exclusive representative (the incumbent). See EPA, 52 FLRA at 782; U.S. Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, New York National Guard, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Latham, New York, 46 FLRA 1468, 1473-74 (1993) (National Guard). In National Guard, for example, the Authority held that a local union did not have standing to file a petition to amend the certification relating to its unit where its parent national union was certified as the exclusive representative, even though the local union alleged that it had been acting as the exclusive representative. Similarly, in EPA, the Authority held that petitions to amend certification may only be filed on behalf of an incumbent union by one who has authority to act for it. 52 FLRA at 782 (dismissing the petition to amend certification based on the finding that because a trusteeship had been properly imposed by the national union, the Local President did not have any authority to file the petition).
Consistent with the foregoing, only an authorized agent of the incumbent labor organization -- AFGE, Local 1882 -- has standing to file a petition to amend the incumbent's certification.(5) See EPA, 52 FLRA at 782; National Guard, 46 FLRA at 1473. There is no assertion by Local 2144 and nothing in the record indicating that at the time the petition was filed by the President of Local 2144, that individual was authorized to file the petition on behalf of Local 1882. Cf. U.S. Department of the Army, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Illinois, 46 FLRA 76, 82 (1992) (although the individual filing the amendment petition held a position in the non-incumbent labor organization, at the time the petition was filed, he was the acting vice president of the incumbent and had authority to act on its behalf). As the President of Local 2144 had no standing to file the petition to amend certification, it must be dismissed.(6)
The petition to amend AFGE, Local 1882's certification is dismissed.
(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)
1. AFGE, Local 2144 and the Activity did not respond to AFGE, Local 1882's application for review.
2. The certified unit is described as follows:
INCLUDED: All General Schedule nonprofessional employees of the following units and their subordinates: 521st Maintenance Battalion, 757th Transportation Battalion, 452nd Combat Support Hospital and 961st Engineer Battalion, reporting to the 88th Regional Support Command, Ft. Snelling, MN.
EXCLUDED: Management officials, supervisors, professional employees and employees described in 5 U.S.C. 7112(b)(2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).
RD's Decision at 2.
3. AFGE, Local 2144 is certified as the exclusive representative for numerous bargaining units located in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, including units of employees working for Department of the Air Force, Defense Logistics Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Small Business Administration. Local 2144 previously was certified to represent a unit of employees of the Army Reserve Command, which intervenor claims "corresponds, for all material purposes" with the unit at issue here. Application for Review at 6. On November 6, 1994, as the result of a petition and an election, Local 2144 was decertified as the exclusive representative of that unit.
4. 5 C.F.R. § 2422.1(d), which was applied in EPA, provided that "[a] petition for . . . an amendment of recognition or certification may be filed by an activity or agency or by a labor organization which is currently recognized by the activity or agency as an exclusive representative." The regulations regarding certification amendments were revised effective March 15, 1996, and now provide that "[o]nly an agency or a labor organization may file a petition pursuant to section 2422.1(b) [to amend a certification then in effect]." 5 C.F.R. § 2422.2(c).
5. As set forth supra, note 4, the representation regulations were revised in 1996. However, there is nothing in the revised regulations indicating that a non-incumbent labor organization now has authority to act on behalf of an incumbent. See EPA, 52 FLRA at 782; National Guard, 46 FLRA at 1473. Moreover, the Authority never indicated in issuing the new regulations that it intended those revisions to have the effect of permitting a non-incumbent labor organization to file a petition such as the one in this case. See 60 Fed. Reg. 67288 (1995); 60 Fed. Reg. 39878 (1995).
6. Having resolved AFGE, Local 1882's application for review on the grounds discussed above, we do not address the Union's additional arguments. In particular, given the posture of this case, we do not herein reach the question of whether Montrose procedures are appropriate for accomplishing a change in affiliation from one local union to another of the same national or international union, or if so, how they would apply.