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. 73
(File No. CR-6655)
This decision addresses the application filed by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO (IAM or Organization), alleging a representation dispute amongAMaintenance Control Technicians,@ employees of US Airways. IAM is the certified representative of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees on US Airways (R-4593)and the Organization asserts that AMaintenance Control Technicians@ are part of that craft or class.
For the reasons set forth below, the Board finds that the employees at issue are already covered by its certification issued to the IAM in R-4593. Therefore, the Board dismisses the application.
On March 31, 1999, the IAM filed an application pursuant to 45 U.S.C.' 152, Ninth, covering AMaintenance Control Technicians@ of US Airways. This matter was assigned NMB File No. CR-6655. The Organization takes the position that these individuals are covered by the IAM=s certification as the representative of US Airways= Mechanics and Related Employees in R-4593.
On May 7, 1999, US Airways submitted a position statement asserting that the Carrier does not employAMaintenance Control Technicians@ but employs AMaintenance Operations Control Supervisors@ (MOC Supervisors) who are management officials excluded from the certified Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. In the alternative, the Carrier argues that if the Board finds these individuals to be employees or subordinate officials, the Board should conduct a separate election. IAM filed a response on May 27, 1999, re-affirming its earlier position.
The first issue in this matter is whetherAMOC Supervisors@ are employees or subordinate officials within the meaning of the RLA. The second issue is, if these individuals are not management officials, are they part of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees?
The IAM asserts that the job responsibilities of the MOC Supervisors are essentially the same as they were in 1977. At that time the Board found that the position, then known as Technical Specialist, consisted of employees or subordinate officials whoAproperly could be included in a larger craft or class of mechanics and related.@ Allegheny Airlines, 6 NMB 359, 365 (1977). According to the Organization, although the job title changed first to Technical Services Foreman, and then in January 1999 to MOC Supervisor, the job description and actual duties remain the same.
US Airways takes the position that MOC Supervisors are first line management officials. According to the Carrier, MOC Supervisors receiveAmanagement-like compensation and benefits,@ perform their duties with Aminimal@ supervision, have the authority to bind the Carrier in Amajor dealings with outside parties and commit carrier funds,@ and exercise a great degree of supervisory authority.
FINDING 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:
US Airways is a common carrier by air as defined in 45 U.S.C.' 181.
The IAM is a labor organization and/or representative as provided by 45 U.S.C.' 152, Ninth.
45 U.S.C.' 152, Fourth, gives employees subject to its provisions Athe right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.@ The majority of the craft or class of employees shall have the right to determine who shall be the representative of the craft or class for purposes of this chapter.
45 U.S.C.' 152, Ninth, provides that the Board has the duty to investigate representation disputes and shall designate who may participate as eligible voters in the event an election is required.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
US Airways has submitted a position description for the MOC Supervisors and declarations from two management officials. The position description, dated July 1, 1998, states, in part, as follows:
Additional significant duties in the position description include:
Daryl Hartzell, Vice President of Line Maintenance, submitted a declaration which states that MOC Supervisors are Afirst-line management employees.@ According to Hartzell, MOC Supervisors report to one of four Managers of Maintenance Control. These managers report to the Director of Maintenance Control, who reports to Hartzell. Hartzell states further that, Awhile the MOC Supervisors do not report directly to a Duty Manager, the latter is available to handle issues related to the minute-to-minute operation.@ (Duty Managers are on the same level as the Managers of Maintenance Control).
Hartzell states that MOC Supervisors have four major functions, and has provided examples of how the MOC Supervisors operate.
At maintenance stations, MOC Supervisors generally coordinate aircraft maintenance through line mechanics. Typically, a line mechanic will call a MOC Supervisor to request advice on how to repair a mechanical problem after his own attempts . . . have proven unsuccessful. [A] MOC Supervisor will then exercise independent judgement and provide the mechanic with technical advice . . . . [At] non-maintenance stations, MOC Supervisors are vested with substantial authority to coordinate maintenance. [If there is] a problem with the aircraft [t]he MOC Supervisor is then responsible for making the initial determination as to whether the aircraft is airworthy or whether direct maintenance action is required. In the latter situation, the MOC Supervisor is charged with the authority to coordinate >on-call maintenance=. . . . [T]he MOC Supervisor will generally hire one of several maintenance providers with whom US Airways has an in-place contract [or] may alternatively decide that it is more expedient to bring in a US Airways Mechanic to handle the job.
According to Hartzell, in the situation described above, the MOC Supervisors direct the work of the mechanics, Aassign overtime, provide technical advice, and even terminate the service if the MOC Supervisor concludes that the mechanic is not competent to do the job.@ Hartzell states that the decisions made by the MOC Supervisors regarding aircraft repair Asubstantially impact the Company=s revenue.@
Hartzell states further that when the MOC Supervisors deal with Apersistent mechanical problems@ they Aexercise independent judgement with very limited review by higher management.@ According to Hartzell, the MOC Supervisors exercise the same kind of judgement when coordinating information concerning the MELs. For example, an MOC Supervisor can determine the need for the acquisition and installation of a replacement piece of equipment.
Hartzell also asserts that the MOC Supervisors= responsibility of maintaining a current ETR listing and providing this information to the planning unit Ais significant because it directly impacts the Company=s ability to operate the airline.@
If the MOC Supervisor provides the Planning unit with the wrong ETR, then the Company will have to cancel a flight at the last minute, which . . . has expensive ramifications, including re-routing unhappy customers and possibly providing them with food and hotel accommodations. In addition, if the flight is not timely canceled, the Company is responsible to compensate a crew which has not worked.
According to Hartzell, Ain or around@ 1977, the MEL and ETR duties, now handled by the MOC Supervisor, were handled by the Duty Manager.
In early 1999, all Aforemen@ titles in the Maintenance area were changed to Asupervisor@ titles. US Airways also converted the compensation system from one tied to the IAM pay scale to a Amanagement salary@ plan, which is performance based. As of January 24, 1999, all Maintenance Supervisors received a 3.5% salary increase, and on April 4, 1999, they received their first Amerit@ increase. The Carrier plans to eliminate overtime compensation for the Supervisors on January 1, 2000.
According to the Carrier, MOC Supervisors are on the same level as Line Maintenance Production Supervisors. Both positions have the same salary range ($55,440-$67,000 per annum), and receive Amanagement@ benefits (officers and high level managers receive additional compensation). The Carrier asserts that Line Maintenance Production Supervisors Apossess and execute the authority to hire, fire and discipline employees.@
The IAM has submitted a declaration from one of the individuals at issue. According to this individual, there has been no change in job functions since he assumed the position in 1989. The individual further asserts the only changes which have occurred is that the MOC Supervisors are paid on a salaried rather than hourly basis and that they have been physically re-located to the hangar. This individual also states that AMOC Supervisors are supervised around the clock . . . . It is the job of the [MOC] Supervisor to supply technical advice to the Duty Manager and the Duty Manager decides how to proceed next.@
Regarding the Carrier=s assertion that MOC Supervisors can commit Carrier funds, the declarant states:
MOC Supervisors can request the borrowing, leasing, purchasing and/or loaning of aircraft tools or parts. The . . . Duty Manager must approve the purchase/buying/borrowing of parts/tools that are considered big expenditures.
MOC Supervisors do not have the authority to bind the company in major dealings with outside parties . . . . [They] do not hire independent contractors to handle . . . maintenance at non-maintenance stations. The contract maintenance at each station is set up in advance, through a contract . . . US Airways sets up several companies . . . and the MOC Supervisor is instructed to use the primary company and then the secondary when not available. MOC Supervisors do not approve overtime for independent contractors . . . .
According to this individual, the MOC Supervisor provides technical advice to contract Mechanics over the phone. In addition, he asserts that when the MOC Supervisor is sent into the field he does not supervise. It is the Line Maintenance Supervisor who supervises the Mechanics.
The IAM also has provided a vacancy announcement dated May 11, 1999, which states, in part:
Must hold an A&P license. Five years broad working knowledge of mechanical/electrical and powerplant systems on transport aircraft. Working knowledge of aircraft structures and repair processes. Demonstrated ability through previous job performance in applying problem solving skills for optimal resolutions. Demonstrated ability to be proficient in the use of aircraft manuals in an airline maintenance environment. Strong personal skills to deal effectively with management, Maintenance, Operations and the Flight Crews in a tactful and positive manner. . . .
Shift work required. Responsible for monitoring maintenance reliability of assigned aircraft types, assist in timely troubleshooting, repair and return of aircraft to service. Responsible for monitoring systems operations, fleet reliability and resolving repetitive mechanical discrepancies.
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.
When the Board applies these criteria, the Board 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, 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). In many cases, the Board finds that while there may be certain factors indicating some degree of authority, when the factors are viewed cumulatively, the individuals at issue frequently are supervisors, not management officials.
In Mesaba Airlines, 26 NMB 227 (1999), the Board applied the standards cited above in determining that Mesaba=s Maintenance Supervisors were not management officials. While the individuals at issue had a degree of supervisory authority, there was insufficient evidence that they exercised management authority. They did not hire, fire, or commit funds to purchase aircraft parts in excess of $5,000. The Board found the Maintenance Supervisors were part of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees.
In reaching its conclusion in Mesaba, the Board was guided by its past decisions involving similar issues. For example, in Aerovias de Mexico, 20 NMB 584 (1993), the Board found that individuals who had authority to grant overtime and borrow or purchase aircraft parts, but who reported to Maintenance Supervisors and Station Managers, were employees or subordinate officials and part of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees. Similarly, in Midway Airlines, Inc., 18 NMB 193 (1991), the Board found that individuals who could authorize overtime, co-sign checks for fuel purchases, and recommend disciplinary actions were not management officials.
In American Airlines, Inc., 24 NMB 521 (1997), cited by the Carrier, the Board applied these standards in determining that American=s Maintenance Supervisors were management officials. There, the Board found that American=s Maintenance Supervisors directed and assigned work through a Crew Chief, had the authority to discipline employees, and regularly exercised such authority. In addition, the record established that American=s Maintenance Supervisors played a Akey role in the investigation of incidents@ which Amight lead to discipline,@ and were involved in the hiring process, possessing the authority to Aeffectively recommend hiring decisions.@ Other factors which the Board considered persuasive included the fact that the Maintenance Supervisors evaluated the Crew Chiefs (who supervised the Mechanics), could grant or deny a grievance, authorized and granted overtime and participated in the budget process.
In Allegheny Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 359 (1977), the Board found that the Carrier=s Technical Specialists were not management officials. Although the job title and some of the duties have changed in the twenty-two years since, the record in this case fails to establish that US Airways= MOC Supervisors are management officials. While these individuals arguably possess a certain level of supervisory responsibility, their primary function appears to be coordinating maintenance operations. The MOC Supervisors generally do not supervise mechanics but only provide technical advice when problems arise. These individuals report to Managers of Maintenance Control, as well as to Duty Managers, and there are two levels of management within the Maintenance Department above those Managers. While the MOC Supervisors exercise independent judgement in particular operational circumstances, they are exercising judgement based upon technical expertise. The MOC Supervisors do not exercise the same kind of judgement which the Board finds is typically exercised by management officials. There is no evidence that these individuals hire, fire or discipline employees, nor is there persuasive evidence supporting the Carrier=s assertions that MOC Supervisors commit Carrier funds or bind the Carrier in dealings with outside parties.
The level of authority exercised by these individuals is significantly less that exercised by the Maintenance Supervisors in American, supra. The fact that the MOC Supervisors receive Amanagement-like@ benefits is insufficient to persuade the Board, in view of the overall evidence in the record, that these individuals are management officials. Therefore, the Board finds that US Airways= MOC Supervisors are not management officials. Further, these individuals share a work-relate community of interest with Mechanics and Related Employees. Accordingly, they are part of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees.
The Board finds that US Airways= MOC Supervisors are encompassed by the certification issued to IAM in R-4593. As there is no basis for further investigation, NMB File No. CR-6655 is converted to NMB Case No. R-6692 and dismissed.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Mr. R.T. Buffenbarger
Mr. Robert Roach
Mr. John Hedblom
Tom A. Jerman, Esq.