27 NMB No. 16
November 5, 1999
Mr. R. Thomas Buffenbarger, Int'l President
International Association of Machinists &
Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO
9000 Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-2687
Tom A. Jerman, Esq.
Counsel for US Airways
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
555 13th Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20004-1109
Re: NMB Case No. R-6692
US Airways, Inc.
This determination addresses US Airways' Motion for Reconsideration of the National Mediation Board's (Board) decision in US Airways, 26 NMB 359 (1999). For the reasons set forth below, after consideration of the Carrier's Motion, the Board declines to grant the relief sought.
On March 31, 1999, the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO (IAM or Organization), filed an application pursuant to 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, covering "Maintenance Control Technicians" of US Airways (US Airways or Carrier). Attached to the IAM's application was a letter requesting accretion of these employees into the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees. The application itself did not raise the issue of accretion. The IAM represents Mechanics and Related Employees pursuant to Board certification in R-4593. After reviewing submissions from the Carrier and the Organization, the Board found in US Airways, supra, that the employees at issue were not management officials, as alleged by the Carrier. Based upon the Board's analysis of their job functions, the Board found further that the employees in question, "Maintenance Operations Control (MOC) Supervisors," were encompassed by the certification in R-4593.
US Airways' Position
The Carrier seeks reconsideration of the Board's decision based upon its assertion that it did not have an opportunity to brief the issue of whether accretion was appropriate. Included in the Carrier's position statement in support of its Motion is a several-page discussion arguing that accretion is inappropriate in this case.
The Organization takes the position that it "properly filed an application to accrete" and that the Board "properly allowed both parties to submit arguments as to why the employees should or should not be . . . represented by the IAM." The IAM requests the Board to dismiss the Carrier's Motion so it may commence contract negotiations.
Findings on the Motion for Reconsideration
Section 17.0 of the Board's Representation Manual provides as follows:
Motions for Reconsideration of Board decisions concerning jurisdiction, craft or class, challenges or objections or election interference will be given consideration only upon the following circumstances: 1) the motion (original and one (1) copy is received by the Chief of Staff within two (2) business days of the decision's date of issuance; 2) the motion is accompanied by a certificate of service which attests to its simultaneous service on the designated participants in the proceeding; and 3) the motion states with particularity the points of law or fact which the movant believes the NMB has overlooked or misapplied and the detailed grounds for the relief sought. Upon consideration of a Motion for Reconsideration, the NMB will decline to grant the relief sought absent a demonstration of material error of law or fact or under circumstances in which the NMB's exercise of discretion to modify the decision is important to the public interest. The mere reassertion of factual and legal arguments previously presented to the NMB generally will be insufficient to obtain relief. Reconsideration may not be sought from the Board's certification or dismissal.
The Board's review of the record in this case establishes that US Airways did not receive a copy of the IAM's letter accompanying the application. At the time the application was filed, it was the Board's practice not to provide either a copy of the application or any accompanying materials to the Carrier, in order to protect any confidential information, such as showing of interest, which might be included in the materials. While the Board still withholds confidential information from the carriers, it has changed its practice, and now provides copies of both the application and any accompanying non-privileged materials to the carriers. US Airways was not apprised of the accretion issue, and arguably did not have the opportunity to address the issue. The Carrier has raised circumstances permitting the Board to re-consider its decision pursuant to Section 17.0. In view of these circumstances, the Board turns its attention to the arguments raised and relief requested by the Carrier in its brief in support of its Motion.
The Carrier's Accretion Arguments
US Airways argues that MOC Supervisors are not appropriately part of the craft or class. According to the Carrier, MOC Supervisors are not functionally integrated and do not share a work-related community of interest with Mechanics and Related Employees. US Airways contends that the MOC Supervisors are geographically separate from mechanics and generally interact with mechanics only by telephone. The Carrier asserts additionally that the MOC Supervisors are distinctly different from mechanics. The MOC Supervisors are "white collar employees who sit at a desk and coordinate maintenance, resolve Minimum Equipment List (MEL) issues, analyze mechanical and operational performance of aircraft, and maintain listings of aircraft estimated time-to-return-to service status." The mechanics "repair and maintain aircraft."
US Airways argues that MOC Supervisors do not perform the work of Mechanics and Related Employees as outlined by the Board in United Air Lines, Inc., 6 NMB 134 (1977). The Carrier also contends that accretion without an election is inappropriate, citing Hawaiian Airlines, 15 NMB 193 (1988), Pacific Southwest Airlines, 14 NMB 10 (1986), and Allegheny Airlines, 6 NMB 359 (1977) and other cases.
The Carrier also renews its assertion that the MOC Supervisors "are managerial employees." According to US Airways, MOC Supervisors are on a management salary plan, and receive the "same fringe benefits . . . as other management employees."
Findings on Accretion
In US Airways, supra, the Board evaluated the job functions of the MOC Supervisors as outlined in the position description, as well as testimony provided by the Carrier's Vice President of Line Maintenance.
The record established that MOC Supervisors are responsible for coordinating aircraft maintenance and providing technical evaluation and recommendations for resolution of maintenance problems. The record established further that MOC Supervisors advise mechanics on repairs of mechanical problems if the mechanics are unable to resolve the problems. MOC Supervisors also determine whether an aircraft is airworthy or whether maintenance action is necessary.
In United Parcel Service Company, 27 NMB 18 (1999),(UPS), the Board found that the Carrier's Maintenance Controllers were part of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees. The Controllers were responsible for monitoring aircraft maintenance, and worked with mechanics and other maintenance personnel to perform that function. The Board found employees with similar responsibilities to be part of the Mechanics and Related craft or class in Allegheny Airlines, Inc., 26 NMB 487 (1999) and Mesaba Airlines, 26 NMB 227 (1999), as well as in Aerovias de Mexico, 20 NMB 584 (1993).
In UPS, supra, the Carrier made arguments similar to those advanced by US Airways here, including that the employees at issue did not perform the functions specifically described in United, supra. UPS also argued that the Board should conduct an election. The Board, after consideration of those arguments, found that the Controllers shared a work-related community of interest with Mechanics and Related Employees. The Board cited its decision in Ross Aviation, 22 NMB 89 (1994), and several subsequent decisions in finding that a separate election "would contravene the Board's policy, regarding fragmentation of crafts or classes."(1) UPS, supra, at 16. See also Allegheny Airlines, supra, at 496.
Consistent with Board policy as discussed above, and after full consideration of the Carrier's arguments, the Board finds that US Airways' MOC Supervisors are part of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees. The employees share a work-related community of interest.(2) As stated in US Airways, supra, these employees are already covered by IAM's certification in R-4593. Therefore, an election is unwarranted.
Upon reconsideration, the Board finds there was no demonstration of material error of law or fact or important public interest. Therefore, US Airways has failed to provide a basis for the Board to grant the relief requested. The Board's decision in US Airways, 26 NMB 359 (1999) remains in effect.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Mr. Robert Roach
Mr. John Hedblom
1. The cases cited by US Airways pre-date Ross Aviation. Therefore they are inapplicable.
2. The Board previously considered the issue of whether the MOC Supervisors were management officials. The Carrier has not provided a basis for reconsideration of the Board's finding that they are not managers.