26 NMB No. 69
July 22, 1999
William R. Wilder, Esq.
Baptiste & Wilder, P.C.
1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW., Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Re: NMB Case No. R-6683
Continental Airlines, Inc./Continental Express, Inc.
Dear Mr. Wilder:
This determination addresses the appeal filed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) of Investigator Benetta M. Mansfield=s eligibility rulings in NMB Case No. R-6683. For the reasons set forth below, the Investigator=s rulings are sustained.
On February 16, 1999, the IBT filed an application for an accretion of Flight Simulator Technicians to the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees. On June 11, 1999, the IBT amended the application to aAstandard application@ seeking representation of the craft or class of Flight Simulator Technicians.
The Board assigned Benetta M. Mansfield to investigate. On June 15, 1999, the Board found a dispute to exist and authorized an election. Ballots were mailed July 1, 1999, and the count is scheduled for August 2, 1999.
The IBT challenged the eligibility of Simulator Project Engineers contending they are notAemployees@ or Asubordinate officials.@ The IBT also challenged the eligibility of the Training Device Engineer and the Training Device Engineer Apprentice as having an insufficient community of interest to be included in the craft or class of Flight Simulator Technicians. On July 6, 1999, the Investigator ruled that the Simulator Project Engineers, the Training Device Engineer and the Training Device Engineer Apprentice were eligible voters. The IBT appealed that ruling on July 12, 1999. Continental responded to the appeal on July 16, 1999.
As to Simulator Project Engineers, the IBT argues that the Investigator erred in including them as eligible voters because they are paid on a higher scale than supervisory officials excluded from the craft or class, they do not work the same hours or report to the same supervisor as the Flight Simulator Engineers, and they represent the Carrier in dealings with the Federal Aviation Administration, various manufacturers, and vendors. Thus, the Organization contends that the Simulator Project Engineers identify themselves as representatives of the Carrier and have little in common with the Flight Simulator Technician craft or class.
The IBT argues that the Training Device Engineer and the Training Device Engineer Apprentice are subject to different qualification standards and cannot perform the duties of Flight Simulator Engineers, work different shifts, do not interact with each other, and perform their duties in a different facility. Therefore, the IBT contends that these employees share an insufficient community of interest to be included in the craft or class of Flight Simulator Technicians.
The Carrier responds that the IBT=s appeal is merely a rehash of their arguments before the Investigator. The Carrier reiterates that Project Simulator Engineers have virtually none of the management indicia described in Section 5.312 of the Board=s Representation Manual. The Carrier notes the evidence that these employees do not lead or direct the workforce or have a role in establishing policy or binding the Carrier in dealings with third parties. As to the Training Device Engineers, the Carrier states that the mere fact that different positions perform different, but related, work does not provide a legitimate basis for fragmenting employees into different crafts and classes.
The Investigator based her rulings on a review of the evidence and arguments submitted by the IBT and the Carrier. The evidence provided by the IBT includes the job descriptions for Flight Simulator Engineers and Simulator Project Engineers. The Flight Simulator Engineers have the following duties:
1. Runs diagnostics and uses results for isolation of problems to circuit board level.
2. Understands source files and uses them for problem isolation. Able to perform software support tasks such as radio updates and instructor page generation.
3. Repairs and aligns visual display systems.
4. Makes minor changes/corrections in visual environment to improve accuracy of presented scenes.
5. Performs functional testing of control loading systems and can repair or adjust system to FAA standards.
6. Uses all available data and sources to verify simulated systems operation. Assists in identifying update requirements.
7. Performs FAA testing to insure simulator operation. Understands appropriate regulations and circulars and their impact on simulation.
8. Works with minimum supervision. Produces results of a consistently high standard.
12. Supports and motivates others. Sets a positive example and is willing to support Aon the job@ training in his specific skills.
The Simulator Project Engineers have the following duties:
The Declaration of William Westlund, Director, Flight Simulation, states that the challenged positions are in the same department. The supervisors of the employees in these positions all report to Mr. Westlund. Mr. Westlund further states:
Continental=s Project Engineers, Simulator Engineer and Training Device Engineers work in the Flight Training building located outside Houston International Airport. Their work consists of advanced electronic maintenance and programming of mechanical and visual simulation devices. . . . Their work includes the design, implementation and troubleshooting of hi-tech computer hardware and software, as well as maintenance and repair of simulator device hydraulic systems and fabrication and repair of simulator device components.
Mr. Westlund further details the similarities among these three positions in working hours and working benefits. The record contains no evidence that the Simulator Project Engineers have any supervisory authority or the authority to commit carrier funds or create carrier policy.
In the job description, the duties of the Training Device Engineer are listed as follows:
Although more circumscribed, the duties of the Training Device Engineer are similar to those of Flight Simulator Engineers. Both positions require Aexperience in maintaining flight simulators,@ and provide equipment support and on-the-job training.
In representation cases, the burden of proof required to overrule an investigator=s preliminary determination rests with the participant appealing that ruling. Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Inc., 23 NMB 23 (1995); USAir, Inc., 21 NMB 402 (1994).
A. Simulator Project Engineers
Section 5.312 of the Board=s Representation Manual provides:
If an individual is determined to be a management official, the individual is ineligible. The Investigator shall consider, in the investigation, whether 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 may 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.
Applying these criteria, the Board must consider various individual elements and factors. If considered separately, these elements and factors might not be determinative of whether an individual is a management official, but when considered cumulatively, these would remove a particular position from the status of an employee or subordinate official. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 5 NMB 112, 115 (1973). See also USAir, Inc., 24 NMB 38 (1996); Comair, Inc., 22 NMB 175 (1995); American International Airways, Inc. d/b/a Connie Kalitta Services, 20 NMB 94 (1992); Challenge Air Cargo, 17 NMB 501 (1990); USAir, 17 NMB 117 (1990); and Tower Air, Inc., 16 NMB 338 (1989).
Based on the standards cited above, the Simulator Project Engineers are not management officials. The IBT=s citations that these employees Awork directly with fleet managers@ and Ainterface with manufacturers, vendors,@ do not dispute the Investigator=s conclusion that these employees do not create Carrier policy or commit Carrier funds. The IBT also argues that these employees Asupervise software.@ Supervision Aof software@ is not supervision of employees. The higher salary alone is insufficient to overturn the Investigator=s conclusions. Therefore, the Simulator Project Engineers are eligible employees.
B. Training Device Engineer and Training
Device Engineer Apprentice
The IBT claims that the Training Device Engineer and the Training Device Engineer Apprentice do not belong in the craft or class of Flight Simulator Technicians. They contend that these employees perform different duties and are subject to different qualification standards. There is little question that the specific duties of these engineers vary from those of the Simulator Engineers. However, the IBT does not dispute that these employees have the same second level supervisor, work in the same department and work on flight simulators.
In determining the appropriate craft or class of a group of employees, the Board considers a number of factors. As set forth at Section 5.1 of the Board=s Representation Manual, these factors may include, Athe composition and relative permanency of employee groupings along craft or class lines; the functions, duties and responsibilities of employees; the general nature of their work; and the extent of community of interest existing between job classifications.
The record establishes that the Training Device Engineer, the Training Device Engineer Apprentice and the Flight Simulator Engineers share a work-related community of interest. These findings are based on similar duties and responsibilities, similar wages and benefits, that they work in the same department, and share second-level supervision. Therefore, these positions share a sufficient community of interest to be included in the craft or class of Flight Simulator Technicians.
The Investigator=s rulings are sustained. The Board finds that Simulator Project Engineers, the Training Device Engineer, and the Training Device Engineer Apprentice are eligible to vote in the Flight Simulator Technician craft or class. Therefore, The count will take place as scheduled at 2 p.m., on Monday, August 2, 1999.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Mr. Michael H. Campbell
Daniel P. Casey
Jeffery D. Wall, Esq.
Mr. Ray Benning
Roland Wilder, Esq.