27 NMB No. 73
May 16, 2000
Mr. Doug McKeen, Vice Pres.-Labor Rel.
Douglas M. Steenland, Esq.
Northwest Airlines, Inc.
5101 Northwest Drive
St. Paul, MN 55111-3034
John J. Gallagher, Esq.
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP
1299 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20004
Mr. R. Thomas Buffenbarger, Int'l President
Mr. Robert Roach, Jr., Gen. Vice President
International Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO
9000 Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-2687
Re: NMB Case No. R-6732
Northwest Airlines, Inc.
This determination addresses the April 13, 2000, Motion for Reconsideration filed by Northwest Airlines, Inc. (Northwest or Carrier). Northwest seeks reconsideration of that portion of the National Mediation Board's (Board) April 4, 2000, decision in Northwest Airlines, Inc., 27 NMB 307, which found that the Quality Service Agents (QSAs) at the Carrier are already covered by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO (IAM), certification in NMB Case No. R-5663 as the certified representative of the craft or class of Office Clerical, Fleet and Passenger Service Employees.
In Northwest Airlines, Inc., supra, the Board dismissed the IAM's application based upon its finding that the QSAs are an accretion to the Office Clerical, Fleet and Passenger Service Employees craft or class. The Board found that based upon their job descriptions and actual duties, the QSAs share a community of interest with the Office Clerical, Fleet and Passenger Service Employees craft or class. The Board further found that under Ross Aviation, Inc., 22 NMB 89 (1994), the accretion is automatic.
Northwest states that its motion is based upon "new facts" that had not yet occurred within the two-day period for the timely filing of the motion for reconsideration. Northwest asks the Board to find the motion timely. The purpose of the motion, Northwest states, is QSAs' widespread, grassroots opposition to the accretion. Northwest argues that these "facts" present public policy considerations "important to the public interest." Northwest claims that since the Board's accretion decision was issued and made known to the QSAs, Northwest management has been flooded with protests from QSAs. The QSAs are circulating petitions to demonstrate to the Board that they do not want to be part of the IAM-represented craft or class. Finally, Northwest also asks the Board to reconsider its policy under Ross Aviation, supra, and to allow the QSAs to vote whether to be included under the certification or to remain unrepresented.
The IAM responds that Northwest's motion is clearly untimely and should be denied. The IAM further states that Northwest's claim that the motion is based upon new facts is "a transparent attempt to circumvent the procedural requirements of Section 17.0 . . . ." The IAM states that the facts stated are not new, that Northwest opposed the accretion and the Board's policy under Ross Aviation, supra, in the underlying case and, therefore, raises nothing new here.
Section 17.0 of the Board's Representation Manual provides:
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 the 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.
Northwest's motion is untimely. The "new facts" Northwest claims, QSAs' opposition to the accretion, were available during the underlying case.
Moreover, the Board granted relief upon motions for reconsideration only in very limited circumstances. As the Board stated in Virgin Atlantic Airways, 21 NMB 183, 186 (1994),
The Board recognizes the vital importance of the consistency and stability of the law as embodied in . . . NMB determinations . . . . Accordingly, the Board does not intend to reverse prior decisions on reconsideration except in the extraordinary circumstances which, in its view, the prior decision is fundamentally inconsistent with the proper execution of the NMB's responsibilities under the Railway Labor Act.
Northwest does not dispute the Board's factual finding of accretion. Despite the apparent view of some QSAs that they do not desire IAM representation, the Board addressed the issue of accretion elections and fragmentation of crafts and classes in Ross Aviation, supra, at 93, where it stated:
The Board's practice is to conduct elections across a carrier's entire system. See Summit Airlines, Inc. v. Local 295, 628 F. 2d 787 (2d Cir. 1980); International Total Services, 20 NMB 537, 545 (1993); America West Airlines, Inc., 16 NMB 135, 141 (1989); Norfolk Southern, 16 NMB 355 (1989); Simmons Airlines, 15 NMB 124, 128 (1988).
Similarly, the Board has often stated its policy against fragmenting crafts or classes. American Airlines, 21 NMB 60 (1993); Eastern Airlines, Inc., 12 NMB 29 (1984); Galveston Wharves, 4 NMB 200 (1962).
In this case, creating a separate craft or class . . . would be contrary to the established precedent regarding the composition of the . . . craft or class and would cause fragmentation and instability.
The QSAs would be voting if there were an election in the entire Office Clerical, Fleet and Passenger Service craft or class. Therefore, permitting QSAs to be separate or to have a separate election would promote fragmentation of the craft or class.
The Board has considered the submissions by Northwest and the IAM. The Board finds that the Carrier's motion is untimely and does not state a basis for reconsideration. Accordingly, the motion is denied.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff