In the Matter of the
REPRESENTATION OF EMPLOYEES
25 NMB No. 103
CASE NO. R-6617
(File No. C-6626)
July 15, 1998
This determination addresses the April 6, 1998, appeal by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) of Mediator Laurette Piculin's ruling that PSS-Tower employees of US Airways are Fleet Service Employees. The Carrier, US Airways, filed a response on April 15, 1998.
For the reasons set forth below, CWA's appeal is denied.
The chronology of this case is as follows: On February 13, 1998, CWA filed an application seeking to represent "PSS-Tower" employees, employees of US Airways. On March 6, 1998, the Carrier filed a position statement asserting that PSS-Tower employees, or "Passenger Service Supervisors-Tower" do not comprise a separate craft or class. According to the Carrier, the employees at issue have two primary functions, ramp control and "communications/coordination with other departments regarding the movement of aircraft." US Airways requested the Board to dismiss CWA's application.
On March 18, 1998, CWA filed a response to the Carrier's position statement. The union argued that PSS-Tower employees are a separate craft or class "because they perform numerous duties distinct from those of other US Airways employee classifications." CWA also contended that the Board has excluded PSS-Tower employees from participating in previous Passenger Service and Fleet Service elections. CWA currently represents US Airways' Passenger Service Employees, while the International Association of Machinists (IAM) represents the Carrier's Fleet Service Employees.
On March 26, 1998, Mediator Piculin ruled that "PSS-Tower employees share a work-related community of interest with Fleet Service Employees." The Mediator based this ruling upon her review of the job responsibilities of the PSS-Tower employees, finding that these individuals perform work "substantially similar" to that performed by the Carrier's Operations Agents and Ramp Service Agents. The Mediator noted that the Board had found US Airways' Operations Agents and Ramp Service Agents to be part of the craft or class of Fleet Service Employees in USAir, Inc., 15 NMB 369 (1988).
In its appeal, CWA argues that PSS-Tower employees perform unique functions which are distinct from those performed by Fleet Service Employees. The Organization also maintains that the Board has excluded PSS-Tower employees from participation in previous Fleet Service and Passenger Service elections, citing USAir, 21 NMB 402 (1994) in support of its position.
According to CWA, US Airways' PSS-Tower employees are more analogous to Global Operations Control Specialists (GOCS) who are employed by Federal Express. In Federal Express, 22 NMB 215 (1995), the Board found that GOCS comprised a separate craft or class. CWA contends that like GOCS, PSS-Tower employees "are tasked with the dissemination and control of information necessary for the efficient movement of aircraft and cargo."
US Airways, in response, requests that the Board deny CWA's appeal. The Carrier cites USAir, Inc., 15 NMB 369 (1998), supra, in support of its position. Further, the Carrier disputes CWA's contention that the Board excluded PSS-Tower employees from both the Fleet Service and the Passenger Service crafts or classes. Rather, US Airways maintains that the Board never has determined the appropriate craft or class of these employees. In addition, the Carrier argues that "the undisputed factual record before the Board establishes that the vast majority of employees who perform these functions are ramp service supervisors and fleet service agents . . . ."
US Airways has submitted a declaration from Al Hemenway, Director - - Hubs and Administration in the Customer Service Department. According to Hemenway, the "job title of . . . PSS-Tower . . . refers primarily to 67 employees in Pittsburgh and Charlotte . . . . The PSS-Tower employees at these two stations have two principal responsibilities - ramp control and communications/coordination with other departments regarding the movement of aircraft." Hemenway also states that "these functions are handled by Fleet Service Employees in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC," the only three other US Airways stations with PSS-Tower employees, and that the "primary responsibility of the PSS-Tower employees in these three stations is for passenger-related coordination - - for example, re-routing passengers when a flight is delayed." (emphasis added). Hemenway asserts that at all other US Airways stations, "the ramp control . . . and communication/coordination functions performed by the PSS-Tower employees in Charlotte and Pittsburgh are handled by . . ." Fleet Service employees.
The Carrier has also submitted a "Career Opportunity Bulletin" for the PSS-Tower position at Charlotte. The description for that position reads, in part, as follows:
Responsible for the coordination of all information and certain decision making processes related to aircraft operations at the station. Responsible for sending/receiving air-ground communications, maintaining the flight information, flight movement, delay accountability, flight information display systems etc. Responsible for the safe and efficient movement of aircraft within US Airway's designated control area. Responsible for keeping tower personnel and appropriate department informed of conditions which may affect the operation of any flight.
In USAir, 15 NMB 369, 395 (1988), the Board found that there was "a distinct craft or class of Fleet Service Employees . . . ." Included among the functions which the Board found to be Fleet Service were those of "Ramp" and "Operations."
The Board found that Operations Agents responsibilities included: "Receive and disseminate information concerning aircraft movement, aircraft parking assignments, irregular operations and stations' operational conditions . . . . Communicate with each flight crew all information pertaining to the specific flight . . . . Report all irregular flight operations . . . ." The Board also noted that the "Operations/Tower Function," which was performed by "Fleet Service Employees" at Boston, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, consisted of "responsib[ility] for the normal and customary work association with weight and balance take-off weights and communication . . . of such information . . . ." USAir, supra, at 386.
In USAir, 21 NMB 385 (1994), the IAM was certified to represent the Fleet Service Employees after an election which did not include the PSS-Tower employees in Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC. The Carrier did not include these employees on the list of potential eligible voters, and neither the IAM nor the two other unions on the ballot had filed objections. Therefore, the issue of the PSS-Tower employees eligibility to participate in the Fleet Service election was never brought before the Board. In USAir, 21 NMB 402 (1994), the applicant United Steel Workers of America (USWA) argued that PSS-Tower employees should be eligible to participate in an election among the Carrier's Passenger Service Employees. The Board, however, found PSS-Tower employees ineligible because they "perform duties related to aircraft operations" and did "not share a community of interest with Passenger Service Employees." The USAir, supra, at 402, 406. The eligibility of PSS-Tower employees was not raised in the most recent Passenger Service election. USAir, 24 NMB 38 (1996).
The record establishes that US Airways' PSS-Tower employees in Pittsburgh and Charlotte do not comprise a separate craft or class because they perform functions which have been found by the Board to be Fleet Service in nature and are performed by Fleet Service Employees at other US Airways' stations.(1) Fleet Service Employees in Washington, DC, Boston and Philadelphia, where the other PSS-Tower employees are stationed, perform the communication/coordination functions. At Philadelphia they also perform ramp control functions. The PSS-Tower employees at these three stations primarily perform Passenger Service functions. Therefore, they are properly part of the craft or class of Passenger Service Employees and are covered by the certification issued to CWA in R-6435.
The US Airways' PSS-Tower employees at Charlotte and Pittsburgh perform functions which are performed by employees in the Fleet Service craft or class. All other US Airways PSS-Tower Employees primarily perform Passenger Service functions, therefore, they are covered by the certification issued to CWA in R-6435.
CWA's application to represent the PSS-Tower Employees who perform Fleet Service functions is converted to Case No. R-6617 and dismissed.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Betty Leach Hawkins, Esq.
Robert A. Siegel, Esq.
Daniel M. Katz, Esq.
Patricia M. Shea, Esq.
1. The Board finds Federal Express, 22 NMB 215 (1995) inapposite for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that Federal Express' GOCs are required to possess dispatchers licenses.