In the Matter of the
alleging a representation dispute
pursuant to Section 2, Ninth,
involving employees of
27 NMB No. 102
CASE NO. R-6761
August 18, 2000
This determines the craft or class issue raised by National Airlines, Inc. (National or Carrier). For the reasons described below, the Board finds that the proper craft or class is Fleet Service Employees, and authorizes an election.
On June 28, 2000, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM or Organization) filed an application with the National Mediation Board (Board) pursuant to 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, alleging a representation dispute among Fleet Service Employees of National. The employees are currently unrepresented.
The Board assigned Benetta M. Mansfield as the Investigator.
In response to IAM's application, National filed an initial position statement on July 12, 2000. National contended that the proper craft or class is Fleet and Passenger Service Employees. The Carrier stated that in its locations outside of Las Vegas, Nevada (Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Illinois, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Newark, New Jersey, Miami, Florida, and JFK Airport in New York), Passenger Service Employees perform weight and balance calculations on a regular basis. National presented no evidence to support its contention.
On July 24, 2000, the IAM responded that National failed to provide any substantive evidence to support its position.
On August 3, 2000, the Carrier supplemented its position with a declaration from Kevin J. Tourek, the Carrier's Senior Vice President-Legal and Human Resources, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel. On August 8, 2000, the IAM responded, asking the Board to reject the Carrier's arguments.
Whether Fleet Service Employees is the proper craft or class at the Carrier.
National states that the proper craft or class is "Fleet and Passenger Service Employees." The Carrier contends that Ground Operations Agents (fleet service employees) in Las Vegas have a "clear community of interests [sic] with employees who have the classification of Customer Service Agents and are located in the various other stations serviced by National Airlines."
The Carrier states that the Las Vegas operations, if viewed in isolation, would support separate Fleet Service and Passenger Service crafts or classes. However, viewed system-wide, the Carrier contends that the Customer Service Agents in the other stations have a community of interest with both the Customer Service Agents and the Ground Service Agents in Las Vegas. The Carrier notes that the Customer Service Agents in the other stations perform weight and balance calculations and load planning, and, therefore, "could have been" classified as Ground Service Agents by the Carrier.
The Carrier also states that all employees are subject to centralized employment policies and the same benefits.
Finally, National states that either the Board should find "Fleet and Passenger Employees" craft or class proper, or, in the alternative, the Customer Service Agents in the other stations should be included in the "Fleet Service Employees" craft or class.
The IAM asserts that the proper craft or class is Fleet Service Employees. IAM contends that National has failed to support its argument that Fleet Service Employees and Passenger Service Employees should be combined into a single craft or class. The IAM states that National makes an illogical argument: National claims that "some" of its Customer Service Agents perform fleet service work, yet admits that "all" of its fleet service work at the stations other than Las Vegas (other stations) is contracted out.
The IAM also states that while National claims that the percentage of Customer Service Agents performing weight and balance calculations and load planning at the other stations is "high," its figures demonstrate that less than twenty-seven percent of the overall combined craft or class and less than one-third at any location perform these tasks.
The IAM states that the Carrier has failed to respond to IAM's claim that all Customer Service Agents at other stations perform the same basic Passenger Service work as the Customer Service Agents in Las Vegas. IAM asks the Board to reject National's arguments and proceed with an election among the Fleet Service Employees.
FINDINGS 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:
National 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 "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
The only substantive evidence submitted by National was the Tourek declaration. Tourek states that ninety-one of the Carrier's Las Vegas employees are classified as Ground Operations Agents performing traditional fleet service functions including weight and balance calculations and load planning. In Las Vegas, the Carrier also employs 150 Customer Service Agents, who perform functions traditionally associated with the Passenger Service Employees craft or class.
Tourek states that at the other stations, there are no employees classified as Ground Operations Agents. He states that "many, but not all, of the duties that are performed by Ground Operations Agents in Las Vegas are contracted out in the other locations." At the other stations, however, the Carrier has employees who are classified as Customer Service Agents. Tourek states that a "substantial number of these employees perform weight and balance calculations and/or load planning functions." He also states that these employees bid shifts where weight and balance and load planning constitute their job functions for the entire shift. Otherwise, Tourek states, the Customer Service Agents in the other stations perform the same duties as the Customer Service Agents in Las Vegas.
Tourek states that the following percentage of Customer Service Agents in the other stations "have, on a regular basis" performed weight and balance calculations and load planning functions: Miami (twenty-five percent); JFK (twenty-five percent); Midway (twenty percent); Los Angeles (thirty-five percent); Dallas/Fort Worth (thirty-five percent); Newark (twenty percent); Philadelphia (fifteen percent) and San Francisco (ten percent).
Tourek also states that National is engaged in ongoing training to train more Customer Service Agents to perform weight and balance calculations and load planning. Finally, Tourek states that all Customer Service and Ground Operations Agents of the Carrier work in the "Customer Services Division" under the same employee policies and benefits.
Based on the record, the Board finds that the combined craft or class the Carrier seeks would have approximately 401 employees. Given the Carrier's statements, approximately 128 employees do fleet service work and/or weight and balance calculations and load planning. This represents approximately thirty-two percent of a combined Fleet Service Employees and Passenger Service Employees craft or class.
The Board makes craft or class determinations based upon a work-related community of interest. American Airlines, Inc., 26 NMB 106 (1998); LSG Lufthansa Services, Inc., 25 NMB 96 (1997). In determining the proper craft or class for employees, the Board is guided by Section 5.1 of the Representation Manual which states:
Individual cases require consideration of facts peculiar to particular situations, but, in addition, there are general factors to be considered. They may include, among others, the composition and relative permanency of employee groupings along craft or class lines; the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the employees; the general nature of their work; and the extent of community of interest existing between job classifications.
The Board looks to actual duties and responsibilities of employees, not merely job titles. USAir, Inc., 21 NMB 402 (1994). In this case, the Carrier has failed to provide any job descriptions for Ground Operations Agents or Customer Service Agents. The Board has found that the essence of passenger service is "customer contact," and that is the difference between the two crafts or classes. American Airlines, Inc., supra, at, 119 (1998); China Airlines, LTD, 6 NMB 434 (1978).
In United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 180 (1977), the Board refused to combine fleet service and passenger service employees. The Board stated, "[t]hough it is uncontested that certain Passenger Service Employees at smaller stations perform Fleet Service or other duties beyond their principal responsibilities, such diversification of function becomes significant only upon a showing that the primary responsibilities of the position in question have been substantially obscured." Id. at 184. See also USAir, 15 NMB 369 (1988); Continental Airlines, 10 NMB 433 (1983). Moreover, the Board has not included Load Planners in the Fleet Service Employee craft or class. See, e.g., American Airlines, Inc., 21 NMB 60 (1993).
The Carrier demonstrated, at most, that thirty-two percent of its proposed combined craft or class regularly perform weight and balance calculations and load planning functions. The Carrier has not shown that these employees perform any other fleet service functions. The Carrier has not shown that Fleet Service Employees in Las Vegas perform any Passenger Service functions. The Board finds that the Carrier failed to provide sufficient evidence that the Fleet and Passenger Service Employees should be combined into a single craft or class.
CONCLUSION AND AUTHORIZATION OF ELECTION
The Board finds that the proper craft or class is Fleet Service Employees at National.
The Board finds a dispute to exist in NMB Case No. R-6761, among Fleet Service Employees of National Airlines, Inc. An all mail ballot election is hereby authorized using cut-off date of June 23, 2000, with applicant IAM on the ballot.
Pursuant to Section 11.2 of the Representation Manual, the Carrier is hereby required to furnish, within five calendar days of this decision, alphabetized peel-off labels bearing the names and current addresses of those employees on the list of potential eligible voters. The count will take place in Washington, DC.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
James T. Winkler, Esq.
Mr. R. T. Buffenbarger
Mr. Robert Road, Jr.
David Neigus, Esq.