In the Matter of the
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS
alleging a representation dispute
pursuant to Section 2, Ninth,
involving employees of
28 NMB No. 43
CASE NO. R-6801
January 11, 2001
On November 6, 2000, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT or Organization), filed an application with the National Mediation Board (Board) pursuant to 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, alleging a representation dispute among full-time "Flight Attendant Training Instructors" (full-time Training Instructors), employees of COMAIR, Inc. (COMAIR or Carrier). The IBT is the certified representative of the Flight Attendant craft or class at COMAIR. COMAIR, Inc., 23 NMB 311 (1996). The IBT seeks to accrete the full-time Training Instructors into the Flight Attendant craft or class.
The Board assigned Susanna Fisher as the Investigator.
For the reasons discussed below, the Board finds that full-time Training Instructors are not included in the craft or class of Flight Attendants employed by COMAIR and, therefore, the application is dismissed.
On November 6, 2000, the IBT filed an application seeking to accrete the full-time Training Instructors into the IBT-represented Flight Attendant craft or class.
The Carrier filed an alphabetized list of potential eligible voters, signature samples, and an initial position statement on November 21, 2000. The IBT responded on November 28, 2000. Investigator Fisher asked for information from the Carrier on December 1, 2000. COMAIR responded to the Investigator's request on December 15, 2000.
Should full-time Training Instructors employed by COMAIR be included in the Flight Attendant craft or class?
The IBT asserts that full-time Training Instructors share a work-related community of interest with part-time Training Instructors and line Flight Attendants. Therefore, they should be accreted into the Flight Attendant craft or class. In support of its position, the Organization cites COMAIR, Inc., 22 NMB 175 (1995), where the Board found that part-time Flight Attendant Training Instructors were part of the craft or class of Flight Attendants. The Organization argues that since the NMB determined that part-time Training Instructors are part of the Flight Attendant craft or class, full-time Training Instructors are also part of the Flight Attendant craft or class. In addition, the IBT argues that the Board's policy of adhering to previous craft or class determinations requires the Board to include the full-time Training Instructors in the Flight Attendant craft or class. United Air Lines, 22 NMB 12 (1994); American Airlines, Inc., 21 NMB 60 (1993).
Citing the Board's Representation Manual (Manual) Section 5.301, the IBT argues that part-time employees are included in the craft or class with full-time employees. Therefore, the IBT asserts, full-time Training Instructors should be included in the Flight Attendant craft or class, especially in light of the Board's determination that part-time Training Instructors are part of the Flight Attendant craft or class. Finally, the IBT argues that full-time Training Instructors should be included in the Flight Attendant craft or class to avoid craft or class fragmentation.
The Carrier asserts that IBT's application should be dismissed because full-time Training Instructors do not share a work-related community of interest with Flight Attendants. Specifically, the Carrier asserts that full-time Training Instructors almost exclusively provide ground and classroom instruction to COMAIR's Flight Attendants and new hire trainees.
Additionally, COMAIR argues that although Flight Attendants and full-time Training Instructors are paid an hourly rate on the same wage scale and receive the same benefits, Flight Attendants have a 78-hour minimum monthly guarantee while full-time Training Instructors have a 93-hour minimum monthly guarantee and an additional $225 per month override.
Alternatively, COMAIR asserts that if the Board finds that full-time Training Instructors share a community of interest with Flight Attendants, the Board should hold an election. COMAIR asserts that the Railway Labor Act (RLA) "does not empower the Board to choose representation for them." The Carrier argues that "[f]orcing union representation upon a job classification that did not exist at the time of the election for the underlying craft or class contravenes the spirit and intent of the Act as well as violates the employees' statutory right to have representation only of their own choosing." The Carrier cites Northwest Airlines, Inc., 15 NMB 64 (1987); Pacific Southwest Airlines, 14 NMB 10 (1986); Piedmont Airlines, 10 NMB 504 (1983); and Long Island Rail Road, 9 NMB 551 (1982), in support of its position.
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:
COMAIR, Inc. is a common carrier by air as defined in 45 U.S.C. § 181.
The IBT 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
On February 3, 1995, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) filed an application with the Board to represent the Flight Attendants of COMAIR. During the investigation, the Board determined that part-time Training Instructors were included in the Flight Attendant craft or class because they flew the line. COMAIR, Inc., 22 NMB 175 (1995). The Board dismissed AFA's application on April 10, 1995, since less than a majority of employees voted for representation. COMAIR, Inc., 22 NMB 187 (1995). In 1996, the IBT filed an application with the Board seeking to represent the Flight Attendants, and on August 29, 1996, the Board certified IBT as the representative of Flight Attendants employed by COMAIR. COMAIR, Inc., 23 NMB 311 (1996). The position of full-time Training Instructor was created after the Board's determination in COMAIR, 22 NMB 175 (1995). Now, IBT seeks to include the full-time Training Instructors in the Flight Attendant craft or class.
Training Instructors provide ground and classroom instruction to COMAIR Flight Attendants and new hire trainees at the Circle Port office complex in Erlanger, Kentucky. The office complex is located off airport grounds. COMAIR's FAA-certified training program requires full-time Training Instructors to fly one revenue trip per year in order to remain qualified Flight Attendants. None of the full-time Training Instructors (Mary Amos, Holly Johnston, and Kim Sherwood) has flown the line in the past six months. Amos has not flown since February 2000, and Johnston and Sherwood have not flown since April 2000. According to Stephanie Scott-Rivera, Cincinnati, Ohio, Base Manager for COMAIR, "[f]ull-time training instructors are not regular line flight attendants. They do not bid lines of time and have flown a total of zero (0) block hours in revenue service, collectively, in the last six (6) months." However, the full-time Training Instructors have flown revenue service on rare occasions to "avoid the delay or cancellation of a flight and only when no regular line flight attendant was available to perform the flying."
The full-time Training Instructors are hired by the Manager of Inflight Training and report to the Supervisors of Training and the Manager of Inflight Training. Flight Attendants are hired by the Human Resources Manager and Flight Attendant Recruiters and report to the Inflight Supervisors/Coaches and Inflight Base Managers.
The Training Instructors' job description submitted by the Carrier provides that Training Instructors:
Conduct competency checks and flight and ground instruction in accordance with the COMAIR Training Manual. Perform duties relating to operations and training programs when required. Must be highly knowledgeable of the COMAIR inflight service manuals, FAA regulations, and company operations.
In contrast, Flight Attendants perform line functions and are responsible for the safety, welfare, and comfort of the passengers.
COMAIR's Training Instructors and Flight Attendants are paid at the same hourly rate on the same wage scale, however, full-time Training Instructors have a 93-hour minimum monthly guarantee and a $225 per month override, while Flight Attendants have a 78-hour minimum monthly guarantee and no override. Training Instructors and Flight Attendants receive the same benefits.
In determining the proper craft or class for a group of employees, the Board considers a number of factors. These factors include functional integration, work classifications, terms and conditions of employment, and work-related community of interest. Continental Airlines, Inc./Continental Express, Inc., 26 NMB 143 (1999); COMAIR, Inc., 22 NMB 175 (1995); MarkAir, Inc., 22 NMB 1 (1994). The factor of work-related community of interest is particularly important. Continental Airlines, above; LSG Lufthansa Services, Inc., 25 NMB 96 (1997); Airborne Express, Inc., 9 NMB 115 (1981). The NMB makes its craft or class determinations on a carrier by carrier basis, in view of Board policy and precedent. USAir, 15 NMB 369 (1988); Simmons Airlines, 15 NMB 124 (1988).
The Board considers several factors in determining the appropriate craft or class of employees involved in training operations, including actual duties and responsibilities of the employees; the nature and setup of the training operations; the work environment; the position retention qualifications; the employee interaction; and the role of the major training equipment. United Airlines, Inc., 9 NMB 266 (1982). In applying these factors, the Board finds that full-time Training Instructors do not share a community of interest with Flight Attendants on COMAIR.
In determining that COMAIR's part-time Training Instructors were included in the Flight Attendant craft or class, the Board considered the fact that they flew the line. More recently, in Continental Airlines, above, in determining whether Instructor Pilots were included in the Airline Pilot craft or class, the Board compared the duties and functions, hiring salary and benefits, and time spent in revenue service of Flight Instructors and Line Pilots.
Flight Attendants assist passengers while flying in revenue service and are responsible for the safety and well-being of passengers onboard COMAIR aircraft, while full-time Training Instructors provide instruction to Flight Attendants and trainees. Full-time Training Instructors do not bid for regular lines of flying. Full-time Training Instructors are hired by the Manager of Inflight Training and report to the Supervisors of Training and the Manager of Inflight Training. Flight Attendants are hired by the Human Resources Manager and Flight Attendant Recruiters and report to the Inflight Supervisors/Coaches and Base Managers of Inflight.
The IBT attaches great significance to the Board's determination in COMAIR, Inc., 22 NMB 175 (1995) where the Board found that part-time Training Instructors were part of the Flight Attendant craft or class. However, the main difference between the 1995 COMAIR decision concerning part-time Training Instructors and the full-time Training Instructors at issue here is that the part-time Training Instructors fly the line.
In America West Airlines, 16 NMB 224 (1989), the Board excluded "CSR Trainers" from the craft or class of Flight Attendants, in the absence of evidence that they performed line functions. Similarly, the Board found that Flight Instructors' and Training Pilots' primary responsibility was to train pilots. Therefore, those individuals did not share a community of interest with Flight Deck Crew Members. Offshore Logistics, Aviation Services Division d/b/a Air Logistics, 11 NMB 144 (1984). In American Airlines, Inc., 26 NMB 106 (1998), the Board found that six individuals who performed Passenger Service Training or coordinating functions were not part of the Passenger Service craft or class.
The IBT's application to accrete full-time Training Instructors to the Flight Attendant craft or class is not appropriate and is, therefore, dismissed.
CONCLUSION AND DISMISSAL
The Board finds that full-time Training Instructors are not included in the craft or class of Flight Attendants employed by COMAIR and are not accreted to that craft or class. Accordingly, IBT's application seeking to represent full-time Training Instructors as an accretion to the Flight Attendant craft or class is converted to NMB Case No. R-6801 and dismissed. The time limits of §1206.4 of the Board's rules are waived because the application does not cover an appropriate craft or class. 29 C.F.R. §1206.4.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Marc J. Esposito, Esq.
Mr. Kenneth W. Marshall
Mr. Ray Benning
Mr. Steve Greenwell
Roland Wilder, Esq.