In the Matter of the
Application of the
alleging a representation dispute
pursuant to Section 2, Ninth,
involving employees of
27 NMB No. 94
CASE NO. R-6755
(FILE NO. CR-6685)
On April 11, 2000, Bruce R. Richardson (Richardson or Applicant), an individual, filed an application pursuant to 45 U.S.C. §152, Ninth, alleging the existence of a representation dispute involving employees described as "Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen" employed by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (Carrier or District). The six employees covered by the application are the Line Foreman, Lead Lineman/Signalman, Substation Foreman, and Signal Foreman. These employees work in the Engineering Branch, Engineering Department. At the time the application was received, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) was voluntarily recognized as the representative for the Engineering Department employees, which includes the positions in the application.
The Board assigned Benetta M. Mansfield to investigate.
The applicant seeks representation of the craft or class of Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen. The following positions are included: Line Foreman, Lead Lineman/Signalman, Substation Foreman, and Signal Foreman.
For the reasons set forth below, the Board finds the Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen share a work-related community of interest with the Engineers. Therefore, the Board dismisses the application.
Following the application, the IBEW filed its position statement on May 2, 2000. On May 3, 2000, the Carrier filed a position statement. The IBEW replied to the Carrier's position statement on May 16, 2000. The Carrier responded to the IBEW's position statement on May 17, 2000, and Richardson responded on May 17, 2000. On May 23, 2000, the Investigator requested job descriptions for all Engineering Department employees and the Carrier provided this information on May 25, 2000.
Do "Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen" at the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District constitute a proper craft or class separate from the Engineering Department employees?
The Carrier did not take a position on the application, but provided the Board with the list of potential eligible voters working as Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen and other information.
Richardson states that the Linemen and Signalmen working as Foremen constitute a separate craft or class. In addition, the Applicant contends that the IBEW's internal union actions demonstrate that it views these employees as a separate craft or class. The Applicant asserts that the IBEW excluded the Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen from representation through the following actions:
The IBEW asserts that the responsibilities and duties of the Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen are virtually identical to those of the other IBEW-represented electrical workers. The IBEW states that Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen and the remaining Engineering Department employees have worked under the same collective bargaining agreement for decades. The IBEW states that the six employees covered by the application are assigned to the Carrier's Engineering Department, and are Linemen/Signalmen. These employees are on the Engineering Department seniority list, which includes eleven other Linemen/Signalmen.
FINDINGS OF LAW
Determination of the issue in this case is governed by the Railway Labor Act, as amended, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-188. Accordingly, the Board finds as follows.
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District is a common carrier by railroad as defined in 45 U.S.C. § 151, First.
The IBEW and Bruce R. Richardson are labor organizations and/or representatives as provided by 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth.
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 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.
FINDINGS OF FACT
In 1974, the District voluntarily recognized the IBEW to represent the Engineering Department employees.
There are fifty-two Engineering Department employees; twenty-four in the Engineering Branch (formerly known as the Way and Structure Department) and twenty-eight in the Mechanical Branch.
The Engineering Department seniority list consists of seventeen Linemen/Signalmen and seven Apprentice Linemen/Signalmen. The employees covered by the application are included on this seniority list.
Victor Babin, the Carrier's Chief Electrical Engineer, testifies that the responsibilities of the Linemen/Signalmen Working Foremen include:
In addition to the regular duties of Linemen/Signalmen, Foremen act as lead workers.
In an Engineering Department Bulletin job posting dated September 9, 1992, Babin outlined the qualifications for Lead Linemen/Signalmen. This bulletin stated that qualified applicants must meet the qualifications outlined in Rules 46 and 47 of the District/IBEW collective bargaining agreement which states, in part:
ELECTRICAL WORKERS' SPECIAL RULES
ELECTRICIANS-WAY AND STRUCTURE DEPARTMENT
Rule 46. Qualifications of Linemen-Signalmen.
Any man who has served an apprenticeship, or who has had four (4) years experience in line and signal work and is competent to exercise same to a successful conclusion within a reasonable time will be rated as a lineman-signalman.
Rule 47. Classification of Linemen-Signalmen.
Linemen-Signalmen's work shall consist of assembling, installing, removing, maintaining, dismantling, repairing, rebuilding, wiring, adjusting, inspecting and testing all electric generators, commutators, switches, contactors, relays, thermostats, disconnects, switchboards, meters, motors, theostats, electric control, motor generator sets, convertors, electric water coolers, and electrical insulation (insulation for electrical purposes) on all equipment, building, and other structures other than rolling equipment. Linemen-Signalmen's work shall also include electrical work on electric welding machines, steam generators, refrigeration equipment, elevators, magnetic valves, air conditioning equipment, lighting arrestors, electric clocks, electric lighting fixtures, and overall testing and inspecting air conditioning equipment on all equipment, buildings and structures other than rolling equipment . . . .
These Linemen/Signalmen qualifications and classifications are nearly identical to Rules 42 and 43 concerning Mechanical Department Electricians. Rules 42 and 43 of the collective bargaining agreement state:
ELECTRICAL WORKERS' SPECIAL RULES
Rule 42. Qualifications.
Any man who has served an apprenticeship, or who has had four (4) years experience in electrical work and is competent either with or without drawings and with the proper tools, to execute the same to a successful conclusion within a reasonable time shall constitute an electrician.
Rule 43. Classification of Work.
Electricians' work shall consist of assembling, installing, removing, maintaining, dismantling, repairing, rebuilding, wiring, adjusting, inspecting and testing of all electric generators, commutators, switches, contactors, relays, thermostats, disconnects, switchboards, meters, magnetos, distributors, motors, theostats, electric controls, motor generator sets, convertors, electric water coolers, electric headlights and tail lights, headlight generators and electrical insulation (insulation for electrical purposes) . . . .
In addition, Lead Lineman/Signalmen are responsible for performing Federal Railroad Administration inspections; installing, testing, repairing, and maintaining all electrical equipment; and maintaining signal and train control systems. Similar to the Foremen, Lead Linemen/Signalmen perform supervisory tasks in addition to regular duties of Linemen/Signalmen.
Lead Linemen/Signalmen and Foremen are appointed by the Carrier. Pursuant to Rule 13 of the collective bargaining agreement, appointees are chosen from the Engineering Department employees.
All Engineering Department employees have the same vacation and overtime allowances, union shop agreement, health and welfare benefits, job protection provisions, disciplinary rules, and mediation provisions. There are a few differences between the specific duties of Engineering Department employees and the employees in the application. For example, Linemen/Signalmen are responsible for installing telephone wires and the Mechanical Department Electricians perform work on diesel equipment. However, the majority of their duties overlap. Furthermore, the eleven other employees listed on the Linemen/Signalmen seniority list, share the same responsibilities as the employees in the application with one exception--Lead Linemen/Signalmen and Foremen have additional supervisory duties.
I. The Effect of Voluntary Recognition
In determining the proper craft or class for a group of employees, the Board considers a number of factors which include functional integration, a work-related community of interest, work classifications, terms and conditions of employment, salary and fringe benefits, history of representation, and seniority issues. Comair, Inc., 22 NMB 175 (1995); Markair, Inc., 22 NMB 1 (1994).
The Board has addressed the issue of voluntary recognition agreements. A carrier is free to voluntarily recognize a particular union as the representative of a group of employees which may or may not constitute a craft or class. Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co., 17 NMB 494 (1990); British Airways, Inc., 7 NMB 369 (1980); China Airlines, Ltd., 6 NMB 434 (1978); Galveston Wharves, supra. But, when a dispute is brought before the Board, it must determine whether the group constitutes a proper craft or class. Union Pacific Railroad, 8 NMB 434 (1981), Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Co., 6 NMB 63 (1976).
The applicant seeks to represent a portion of the Engineering Department employees. Even though this case deals with a voluntary recognition, the Board looks at the same factors when determining a proper craft or class.
II. Application Does Not Cover a Proper Craft or Class
The negligible differences between the two groups are not grounds for severing the employees covered by the application, and, therefore, the application does not cover a proper craft or class. Richardson has not established Linemen-Signalmen Working Foremen as a distinct craft or class for representation purposes. The Board will not interfere with voluntary recognition agreements. The parties to such agreements may define the scope and coverage without regard to traditional craft or class lines. Union Pacific Railroad, supra. Furthermore, the Board does not determine the propriety of a craft or class based on internal union conduct. Richardson's complaints as to the IBEW's treatment of the Foremen are not material in this determination.
The Board finds that the application is not for a proper craft or class. Therefore, NMB File No. CR-6685 is converted to NMB Case No. R-6755 and dismissed.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Bjarne J. Henderson, Esq.
F. Amin Istrabadi, Esq.
Michael S. Wolly, Esq.
Mr. Bruce R. Richardson