In the Matter of the
Application of the
alleging a representation dispute pursuant to Section 2, Ninth, of the Railway Labor Act, as amended
involving employees of
26 NMB No. 44
CASE NO. R-6668
(File No. CR-6649)
INVESTIGATION - AUTHORIZATION OF ELECTION
On December 11, 1998, the Soo Line Signals & Communications Supervisors Association (Association) filed an application pursuant to the Railway Labor Act, as amended, 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, alleging the existence of a dispute among Signal and Communications Supervisors, employees of Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo District) (CPR).
At the time this application was received, the Signal and Communications Supervisors were represented by the Transportation Communications International Union-ARSA Division (TCU) pursuant to a Board certification in Case No. R-2166 of the American Railway Supervisors Association (ARSA) in 1949, to represent the Subordinate Officials in Maintenance of Way and Structures Department. ARSA subsequently merged with TCU.
The Board assigned Mediator Samuel J. Cognata to investigate. The Board later assigned Benetta M. Mansfield as the Investigator in this case. This case was assigned File No. CR-6449.
Whether the Applicant seeks to represent a separate and distinct craft or class?
The Association and CPR contend that the application covers the craft or class of Subordinate Officials.
TCU contends that a 1987 agreement between ARSA and Soo Line resulted in the transfer of the employees subject to the Subordinate Officials in Maintenance of Way and Structures Department's collective bargaining agreement (which included the Signal and Communication Supervisors) to the jurisdiction of the Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers' collective bargaining agreement. Therefore, TCU argues that the bargaining history of the employees covered in the application within the technical employee group goes back to 1987 and for some positions, such as Signal Design Supervisors, the work was always covered by the technical employee collective bargaining agreement. TCU further contends that these positions belong within the technical employee craft or class because these positions share a community of interest with the technical employees. TCU specifically argues that Signal and Communication Supervisors, Communication Supervisors, and Signal Supervisors are required to have the necessary technical knowledge and experience to interpret and implement the plans drafted by other technical employee craft members. Therefore, TCU contends that the craft or class is not proper and that the employees are part of the technical employee craft or class.
FINDINGS OF LAW
Determination of the issues in this case is governed by the Railway Labor Act, as amended, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-188. Accordingly, the Board finds as follows:
CPR is a common carrier by railroad as defined in 45 U.S.C. § 151, First, and § 181 of the Act.
The Association and TCU are labor organizations and/or representatives as provided by 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, of the Act.
45 U.S.C. § 152, Fourth, gives employees subject to its provisions, "the right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. The majority of any craft or class of employees shall have the right to determine who shall be the representative of the craft or class for the purposes of this chapter."
45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, provides that the Board has the duty to investigate representation disputes and to designate who may participate as eligible voters in the event an election is required.
FINDINGS OF FACT
In 1949, in Case No. R-2166, the Board certified ARSA (now part of TCU) to represent the Subordinate Officials in Maintenance of Way and Structures Department at Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (now part of the Soo Line Division of CPR). This craft or class included Roadmasters, Project Roadmasters, Bridge and Building Supervisors, Signal Supervisors and Communication Supervisors.(1)
In 1974, in Case No. R-4418, the Board certified ARSA to represent the Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers of Soo Line Railroad Company (now part of CPR).
In 1987, ARSA and Soo Line Railroad Company voluntarily entered into a Memorandum of Agreement which transferred the eight Signal Supervisors then working under Maintenance of Way Structures Department agreement between the Soo Line and ARSA to the jurisdiction of the agreement between the same parties covering the Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers.
In 1995, in NMB Case Nos. R-6353 (involving Roadmasters/Project Roadmasters) and R-6354 (involving Bridge and Building Supervisors), the Board found a dispute existed in these separate crafts or classes and conducted elections. In both cases, less than a majority of eligible voters cast valid ballots and the Board dismissed the applications.
After the 1995 elections, the Carrier took those positions involved in the elections (Roadmasters, Project Roadmasters, and Bridge and Building Supervisors) and increased their responsibilities. The Carrier claims these employees are now management officials. These positions are re-titled as: Track Maintenance Supervisor, Supervisor Track Programs, and Supervisor - Structures.
During the investigation of this case, the Investigator requested job descriptions and other information regarding these positions. The investigation disclosed the following:
The Track Maintenance Supervisor (former Roadmasters) reports to the Manager Track Maintenance. The Track Inspectors, Track Maintenance Foremen, Welding Foremen, Extra Gang Foremen and Machine operators report directly to the Track Maintenance Supervisor. The incumbent supervises thirty to eighty employees, manages the safety program in the territory, approves the payroll, assigns work, and expends carrier resources. The incumbent also investigates Rules violations, disciplines employees, investigates violations of the collective bargaining agreement and takes the appropriate action. The Carrier presented several examples when the Supervisor recommended and implemented discipline.
The Supervisor Track Programs (former Project Roadmasters)is supervised by the Manager Track Programs and Equipment. The incumbent supervises Maintenance of Way Employees. Like the Track Maintenance Supervisor, this Supervisor approves the payroll, assigns work, and expends carrier resources. The incumbent also investigates Rules violations, disciplines employees, investigates violations of the collective bargaining agreement and takes the appropriate action. As with the Track Maintenance Supervisor, the Carrier provided examples when the Supervisor wrote up employees and meted out discipline.
The Supervisor-Structures (former Bridge and Building Supervisors) reports to the Manager Structures or Manager Track and Structures Maintenance. The Assistant Supervisor Structures, Bridge and Building Foremen, Bridge Inspection Vehicle Operators and Machine Operators report directly to this position. The incumbent establishes work schedules, sets production objectives, and monitors and supervises maintenance and construction performed by bridge and building and contract forces in the assigned territory. In other respects, the incumbent has the same responsibilities as the two positions described above.
TCU represents a unit of Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers. This craft or class included the following positions in 1974: Mechanical Engineer, Assistant Mechanical Engineer, Senior Draftsman, Junior Draftsman, Electronic Engineer, Assistant Engineer Communications, Signal Design Engineer, Assistant Engineer Signals, Assistant to Signal Engineer, Assistant Engineer, Valuation Engineer, Structural Designer, Staff Engineer, Chief Draftsman, Junior Draftsman, Draftsman, Chain Man, Blueprint Machine Operator, Chief Operator and Assistant Operator. Today, except for the agreement of the parties to include the Signal Supervisor, Communication Supervisor, Signal and Communication Supervisor in the agreement, the craft or class is comprised of largely the same positions: Signal Design Engineer, Assistant Engineer, Assistant Engineer Signal Design, Supervisor S&C Material, Electronic Engineer, Valuation Engineer, Staff Engineer, Chief Draftsman, Detector Car Operator, Assistant Detector Car Operator, Senior Technician and Technician. Association seeks a craft or class which includes the Signal Supervisors, Communication Supervisors, and Signal and Communication Supervisors.
TCU argues that the application encompasses an inappropriate craft or class and the positions in the application are part of the Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers craft or class represented by TCU for two reasons: 1) they are currently under the jurisdiction of this collective bargaining agreement; and 2) they share a community of interest with the employees in this craft or class.
The Board has consistently held that the Act provides for representation of employees on a craft or class basis. Consolidated Rail Corporation, 13 NMB 298, 303 (1986). On the Soo Line (now part of CPR), the Board certified a craft or class of Subordinate Officials in Maintenance of Way and a separate and distinct craft or class of Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers. While the Carrier and TCU may have agreed to place some of the employees under the jurisdiction of the agreement for the Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers, this factor cannot control the Board's determination in this matter. National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), 12 NMB 80, 97-98 (1985); The Galveston Wharves, 4 NMB 200 (1962).
The Board makes its determinations of craft or class on a particular carrier based upon a number of factors. Among these are functional integration, work classifications, terms and conditions of employment, and work-related community of interest. Atlantic Southwest Airlines, Inc., 23 NMB 23 (1995); America West Airlines, 22 NMB 54 (1994).
Generally, the craft or class of Technical Engineers, Architects, Draftsmen and Allied Workers "is composed of civil, mechanical, and other groups of trained engineers, and others having special technical and engineering knowledge. This group constitutes a single and cohesive unit of technical employees in the civil mechanical chemical, and signal engineering service of rail carriers." Long Island Rail Road, 24 NMB 664, 693 (1997), citing Texas Pacific Railway Company, 1 NMB 341, 345 (1947).
Supervisors in Maintenance of Way have comprised separate supervisory units because they supervise a broader group of employees and do not necessarily have the specialized technical and engineering knowledge of a technical employee unit. See, e.g., North Coast Rail Authority, 20 NMB 310 (1993); Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co., 14 NMB 157 (1987).
Based on the investigation and the traditional separation of crafts and classes, the Board finds that a separate Subordinate Officials in Maintenance of Way craft or class remains appropriate. These employees report to the Signal and Communications Manager and supervise field personnel. While they may have some independent authority to commence repairs, this factor does not convince the Board that these employees are appropriately in the technical employee craft or class.
Under the RLA, supervisors are eligible to vote in the craft or class, unless the employee is determined to be a management official. Section 5.312 of the Representation Manual details factors to be considered in a determination of whether an individual is a management official. These elements include:
[W]hether the involved individual has the authority to discharge and/or discipline employees or to effectively recommend the same; the extent of supervisory authority; the ability to authorize and grant overtime; the authority to transfer and/or establish assignments; the authority to create carrier policy; the authority and the extent to which carrier funds my be committed; whether the authority exercised is circumscribed by operating and policy manuals; the placement of the individual in the organizational hierarchy of the carrier; and any other relevant factors regarding the individual's duties and responsibilities.
When the Board applies these criteria, it "must consider various individual elements and factors which might not be decisive if considered separately, but considered cumulatively would remove a particular position from the status of an employee or subordinate official." Pan American World Airways, 5 NMB 112, 115 (1973).
The Board has examined the duties of the employees who are Track Maintenance Supervisors (former Roadmasters), Supervisors Track Programs (former Project Roadmasters), and Supervisors- Structures (former Bridge and Building Supervisors). These positions have authority to discipline employees, enforce the collective bargaining agreement, establish and assign work, and commit carrier funds. As such, they are management officials and not subordinate officials under the Act.
The only employees remaining from the former craft or class of Subordinate Officials in Maintenance of Way and Structures Department are those positions included in the application.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
The Board finds a dispute to exist among the Subordinate Officials in Maintenance of Way and Structures which includes the following positions: S&C Construction Supervisor, Communication Supervisor, S & C Supervisor, Signal Supervisor. The Board, therefore, converts File No. CR-6649 to Case No. R-6668 and authorizes a mail ballot election using a cut-off date of November 30, 1998. Pursuant to Section 11.2 of the NMB Representation Manual, the Carrier is required to furnish, within five (5) calendar days, alphabetized calendar labels bearing the names and addresses of those employees on the list of potential eligible voters. TCU and the Association will appear on the ballot. A count will take place in Washington, DC.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff