26 NMB No. 25
January 12, 1999
Mr. John E. Higgins, Jr.
National Labor Relations Board
1099 14th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20570
Re: NMB Case No. CJ-6638
Rocky Mountain Holdings, L.L.C.
d/b/a Eagle Airmed of Arizona
Dear Mr. Higgins:
This responds to your July 15, 1998, request for the National Mediation Board's opinion regarding whether Rocky Mountain Holdings, L.L.C. d/b/a Eagle Airmed of Arizona (Eagle Airmed) is subject to the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-158. Based upon the record in this case, the Board is of the opinion that Rocky Mountain Holdings, L.L.C. and its employees are subject to the Railway Labor Act.
I. This case arose as a result of an unfair labor practice charged by William G. Loughran, an individual. During the course of the investigation, Eagle Airmed took the position that it is subject to the Railway Labor Act. Mr. Loughran has taken no position as to the jurisdictional issue.
On August 14, 1998, Eagle Airmed submitted additional evidence and argument.
The Board bases its opinion in this case upon the information provided by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the additional evidence and arguments submitted by Eagle Airmed.
II. Rocky Mountain Holdings, L.L.C. (Rocky Mountain) is a Delaware limited liability company. Rocky Mountain generally does business as Rocky Mountain Helicopters, but it also does business under other "assumed names." The Company is headquartered in Provo, Utah. In Phoenix, Arizona, Rocky Mountain operates under the name of Eagle Airmed of Arizona.
Currently, Rocky Mountain operates approximately 75 aircraft, including eight fixed wing aircraft in 25 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It employs approximately 560 employees, including 215 active pilots and 130 active mechanics, all of whom are Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified, as well as 50 flight nurses and 70 flight paramedics.
Rocky Mountain does not solicit, receive, or act on calls originating directly from a patient or a patient's family. Rather, Rocky Mountain provides services in response to calls from authorized agencies which request air ambulance services. It markets directly to hospitals and public safety agencies and institutions authorized to request air services.
Rocky Mountain flies approximately 40,000 missions annually. In 1997, Rocky Mountain logged approximately 31,000 flight hours and had revenues of approximately $54 million, of which approximately $53 million came directly from its air operations. The remaining revenue came from miscellaneous sources such as aircraft part sales and aircraft repair and maintenance services provided to third parties.
The Provo, Utah, facility houses executive, general, and administrative operations where general employment matters and practices, payroll, and benefits functions are performed. The human resources office there administers, on an employer-wide basis, general employment policies and practices; coordinates all requests to hire; coordinates all FAA and other required orientation and training; and oversees all employee-related matters, including employee disciplinary and termination actions. The facility is an FAA certified repair station and is authorized to service helicopters. Rocky Mountain also operates a FAA certified repair station capable of full aircraft maintenance and completion work in Greenville, South Carolina.
Rocky Mountain provides air transport emergency medical services (EMS) by essentially two modes of operation. First, Rocky Mountain provides hospital-based EMS air transport services. Rocky Mountain enters into an agreement with a particular hospital or group of hospitals which provides essentially that Rocky Mountain will supply the aircraft and the FAA certified pilots and mechanics to operate and maintain the aircraft, and the hospital(s) will provide the medical personnel and equipment necessary for the program. Together, the pilots and the various medical personnel (i.e., nurses and/or paramedics) constitute the EMS flight team. Second, in some instances, Rocky Mountain supplies not only the aircraft, pilots and mechanics, but also provides the dispatchers, medical and other personnel necessary for the company-owned program. Some company-owned programs are based at or near a particular hospital while others are "stand-alone" programs (e.g., they operate as a general air ambulance without any attachment to a particular hospital).
Many of the service areas of Rocky Mountain's EMS programs include more than one state, and it is common for Rocky Mountain's aircraft to cross state lines and even international borders during the course of patient transportation. Further, because helicopters require constant and high levels of maintenance, Rocky Mountain's aircraft are regularly flown and ferried across state lines to one of Rocky Mountain's other repair stations for certain types of repair and maintenance. Rocky Mountain has a number of back-up aircraft which may move from one location to another for use as substitute EMS aircraft while a particular program's aircraft is down for maintenance.
III. For the reasons set forth below, the Board is of the opinion that Rocky Mountain and its employees are subject to the Railway Labor Act.
It is well established that the Board exercises its jurisdiction over air taxi and charter operations engaged in interstate commerce. United Jet Center, 18 NMB 354 (1991); York Aero, Inc., 17 NMB 498 (1990); Jimsair Aviation Services, Inc., 15 NMB 85 (1988); Elliott Flying Service, Inc., 9 NMB 146 (1981). In Evergreen Helicopters, Inc., 8 NMB 505, 506 (1981), the Board found a helicopter service which provided air taxi service and emergency medical ambulance service subject to the Railway Labor Act because it engaged in common carriage by air, held itself out to the public for hire and actively sought customers. In that case, the Board noted that "[a]lthough this air transportation may be geared to specialized types of service, it is available to any person who desires to employ EHI." Rocky Mountain is held out to the public for hire.
In the present case, Rocky Mountain operates under a Part 135 license issued by the FAA and advertises and holds itself out as an air ambulance service. Approximately 53 million of the 54 million in revenue is derived from the air transport operations. The revenue from the air transport operations is significant and not "negligible and sporadic." C&E Aero Services, 10 NMB 62, 63 (1982).
Rocky Mountain is a Carrier by air subject to Section 181 of the Railway Labor Act.
Based upon the record in this case, the Board is of the opinion that Rocky Mountain and its employees are subject to the Railway Labor Act. This decision may be cited as Rocky Mountain Holdings, L.L.C. d/b/a Eagle Airmed of Arizona, 26 NMB 132 (1999).
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
cc: Mr. William G. Loughran