In the Matter of the
alleging a representation dispute
pursuant to Section 2, Ninth,
involving employees of
28 NMB No. 52
CASE NO. R-6810
February 21, 2001
This determination addresses the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO's (IAM or Organization) application, filed with the National Mediation Board (Board) pursuant to 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, alleging a representation dispute among "Draftsmen" employees of United Air Lines, Inc. (United or Carrier). The IAM is the certified representative of the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class at United. United Air Lines, NMB Case No. R-1376 (1945) (not reported in Board volumes) (Case No. R-1376). The IAM asserts that Draftsmen are part of the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class.
The Board assigned Sean J. Rogers as the Investigator.
For the reasons discussed below, the Board finds that Draftsmen are included in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class and, therefore, the application is dismissed.
On October 3, 2000, the IAM filed an application alleging a representation dispute among Draftsmen at United. The IAM requested that the Board accrete Draftsmen into the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class.
On November 2, 2000, United filed a position statement asserting the IAM's application must be dismissed. The IAM responded on December 5, 2000, asserting that its request be granted. United replied on December 15, 2000, and the IAM replied on January 5, 2001.
Should United's Draftsmen be included in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class?
The IAM supports its application for accretion of Draftsmen into the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class as follows:
United Draftsmen share a work-related community of interest with Mechanics and Related Employees. Draftsmen all work at United's Training Devices and Facilities Division, Flight Training Technical Center, Denver, Colorado (DENTK) in one of the two buildings where the flight simulators are located. Draftsmen work closely with Flight Simulator Technicians (FST). FSTs are also assigned to DENTK and are included in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. Within the DENTK organization, Draftsmen are assigned to the Engineering and Technical Service group within the Training Devices and Facilities Division (TD&FD) along with FSTs who are in the Training Device Maintenance group.
Working closely with FSTs, Draftsmen create and modify engineering diagrams, drawings, schematics and technical documentation used by FSTs. When an FST decides that flight simulators require electronic or mechanical changes, the Draftsmen create all new technical drawings or change existing technical drawings. Nearly 95 percent of Draftsmen's time is spent changing flight simulator drawings requested by FSTs. Consequently, Draftsmen and FSTs communicate and interact extensively. The Draftsmen's work is integrally related to the FSTs' work. Specifically, the United/IAM Mechanics and Related Employees' collective bargaining agreement requires FSTs to be qualified to trouble-shoot, maintain, and modify flight simulators from "engineering prints" prepared by Draftsmen. In addition, Draftsmen and FSTs receive similar training from flight simulator manufacturers and some Draftsmen train with the FSTs.
Unlike other carriers, United makes programming changes to flight simulators and Draftsmen make the necessary corresponding changes to flight simulator technical drawings. Currently, Draftsmen are involved in an audit of all simulator drawings. Draftsmen work on this audit directly with the FST assigned to each flight simulator.
United's initial position statement says that in United Airlines, Inc., 27 NMB 356 (2000) (Case No. R-6710), the IAM applied for representation of United's Office Clerical Employees. In Case No. R-6710, United included the three (now four) Draftsmen on the list of potential eligible voters provided to the Board. The IAM "overlooked and failed to challenge" the inclusion of the three Draftsmen out of a final total of 3,149 eligible voters. However, in Case No. R-6710 the Board did not make an affirmative determination that Draftsmen were part of the Office Clerical Employees craft or class. Therefore, the Board's determination on the IAM's application should be based on the work-related community of interest the Draftsmen share with the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class.
United asserts the IAM's accretion application of Draftsmen into the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class must be dismissed for the following reasons:
In Case No. R-6710, United included Draftsmen in the list of potential eligible voters in the Office Clerical Employees craft or class sought to be represented by the IAM. The IAM did not object to the Draftsmen job classification in the Office Clerical Employees craft or class. The IAM cannot change its position now. On April 26, 2000, the Board dismissed the IAM's application in Case No. R-6710 because less than a majority of eligible employees voted for representation. The Board's rule in 29 CFR § 1206.4(b) bars the IAM's application for one year, and the Board must not accept this accretion application.
Draftsmen do not share a work-related community of interest with the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. While Mechanics perform maintenance on aircraft, engine, and accessory equipment, the work of Draftsmen is entirely clerical. Draftsmen work in the "DENTK office setting" and not at United's San Francisco and Indianapolis maintenance centers, or airports where mechanics work. Furthermore, Draftsmen do not share a community of interest with FSTs, Fleet Technical Instructors (FTI) or Training Device Engineers (TDE) in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. In addition, Draftsmen typically have a high school degree while FSTs, FTIs, and TDEs are highly trained employees with positive technical experience and educational qualification requirements.
Draftsmen are based at United's Denver Training Facility, Engineering and Technical Services department because they rarely communicate with FSTs. Draftsmen's training by flight simulator manufacturers is separate and distinct from FSTs' training. Draftsmen's responsibilities include modifying existing engineering drawings. They make only minor modifications to flight simulator technical drawings. Draftsmen work on computers exclusively organizing, cataloging, revising, and developing drawings.
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:
United 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
I. History of the Mechanics and Related Employees at United
The original certification of the IAM covered the craft or class of "mechanics, helpers and apprentices (including those servicing and maintaining airplanes and equipment)." Case No. R-1376, above. The certification in Case No. R-1376 was amended to include "utility employees and ground communications technicians." United Air Lines, NMB Case No. R-1838 (1947) (not reported in Board volumes).
In response to an application by Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), the Board re-examined the craft or class boundaries in relation to a number of United job classifications. The Board's determination in that case provides an historical overview of the incremental growth and development of the "mechanics, helpers and apprentices" craft or class at United represented by the IAM. United Airlines, Inc., 5 NMB 65, 68 (1968). By 1953, the Board noted, the collective bargaining agreement covered "Mechanical Inspectors, Mechanics, Mechanic Helpers, Apprentice Mechanics, Fuelers, Utility Employees, Seamstresses, Ground Communications Technicians, Flight Simulator Technicians and Cleaning Women." (Emphasis added.) The Board concluded that all of these job classifications comprised the "Airline Mechanics and Related Employees" craft or class at United. Id.
In United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 134 (1977), the Board once again re-examined the proper craft or class boundaries and found that 49 job classifications constituted the "Mechanic and Related Employees" craft or class at United.
II. Case No. R-6710
On November 4, 1999, the IAM applied for representation of the Office Clerical Employees craft or class at United. Case No. R-6710. United's list of potential eligible voters included the three (now four) Draftsmen who are the subject of this IAM application. The IAM did not challenge United's inclusion of the Draftsmen's job classification in the Office Clerical Employees craft or class. On April 27, 2000, the IAM's application was dismissed because less than a majority of eligible employees cast valid ballots in the election.
III. Draftsmen Position Description
United's Draftsmen are classified as Draftsmen-A or Draftsmen-B. The latter classification is entry level and the former the full performance level. United's Draftsmen position description states:
Draftsman. Prepares clear, complete, and accurate working plans and detail drawings from rough or detailed sketches, notes oral instructions, or models, according to specified dimensions. Makes mathematical computations and calculations, prepares bills of materials, and drawing and stock change notices. Performs related duties as assigned.
Education: Equivalent of two years of college training in mechanical engineering or architecture, depending upon the specific type of drafting to be performed.
B (2088-05) Persons in this grade normally perform duties where the individual specializes in drawings and specifications of aircraft parts and ground equipment or mechanical installations for any fixed plant facility. They determine views and details to be shown and exercise some judgment in the execution of design details and perform other duties as assigned.
Experience: Equivalent of three years of outside experience where the individual has demonstrated his or her ability to perform engineering or architectural drafting work comparable in difficulty to the Draftsman-B position in a competent manner with a minimum of supervision.
A (2087-08) Persons in this grade perform the more difficult phases of duties, where the individual specializes in drawings and specifications for aircraft parts and group equipment, or architectural drawings and specifications of interior and exterior perspectives. Performs other related architectural drafting duties and provides work guidance to other Draftsmen.
Experience: Equivalent of three years of successful working experience as a Draftsman-B, or five years of outside experience in engineering or architectural drafting. Where the individual has demonstrated his or her ability to perform the work of the Draftsman-A position in a competent manner and with a minimum of supervision.
IV. Draftsmen Work, Functions, Duties and Responsibilities
Draftsmen use Computer Assisted Drawing software and equipment and must have a working knowledge of electronics. Draftsmen work with and on approximately 225,000 diagrams, drawings and schematics, as well as technical documentation. These include diagrams and drawings of cable and control assembly, electrical, mechanical, wiring, keyplan, site installation, mechanical assembly, power supplies, crew compartment assembly, panel assembly, and system and unit schematics. Draftsmen create, modify, and update diagrams, drawings, and schematics as required by the TD&FD. Draftsmen's work assignments are often initiated by FSTs and come through their TD&FD supervisor.
The IAM submitted multiple affidavits from the four Draftsmen concerning their work. According to the Draftsmen, drafting is an essential part of simulator maintenance. Like FSTs, Draftsmen are directly involved in the maintenance of flight simulators and team with FSTs to perform flight simulator maintenance. Draftsmen spend time at the flight simulator replacing drawings that have been modified or damaged during maintenance.
The Draftsmen say that FSTs and Draftsmen work in close proximity to the flight simulators and communicate with each other about drafting work. Draftsmen receive assignments for new or changed drawings from an FST through a drafting supervisor after approval of the work. One Draftsman estimated that 95 percent of a Draftsman's work involves changes to flight simulator drawings requested by FSTs. The FSTs and the Draftsmen maintain a high level of communication as the work progresses. Currently, Draftsmen work directly with the FSTs assigned to each flight simulator performing an audit of all simulator drawings.
Draftsmen say that the training by simulator manufacturer is not exactly the same as FSTs' flight simulator training, but some training involves Draftsmen training with FSTs.
Flight simulator manufacturers provide United with the simulator's original documentation, such as engineering drawings. Thereafter, United employees make modifications and updates to the simulator, including programming changes. In support of these efforts, Draftsmen modify and update the appropriate schematic drawings. Recently, the IAM says United's TD&FD team built a 737 Fixed Base Simulator, and Draftsmen prepared new sets of schematic drawings for the device. The FSTs use these drawings for maintenance of this United-built flight simulator.
The IAM submitted a number of affidavits from FSTs, Equipment Control & Configuration Managers (ECCM), and Training Device Engineers (TDE) concerning the work of Draftsmen. These employees say that the flight simulator schematics prepared by the Draftsmen are essential to flight simulator maintenance and that FSTs spend a large percent of their time using these schematics. Several FSTs say that Draftsmen are present during maintenance discussions between and among FSTs, ECCMs, and TDEs since explanations of drawing changes are often communicated in this fashion. The FSTs say that the current audit of all flight simulator drawings has heightened the communication between the FSTs and Draftsmen to ensure flight simulator safety.
V. Functional Organization
All four Draftsmen work at United's DENTK. Draftsmen, FSTs, ECCMs, and TDEs are assigned to TD&FD. Within TD&FD, Draftsmen are in the Engineering and Technical Services group; FSTs, in the Training Device Maintenance group; ECCMs, in the Fleet Training and Devices group; and TDEs, in the Training Devices Engineering group. According to the Draftsmen's, FSTs', ECCMs', and TDEs' affidavits, they work together in a cooperative team environment within the TD&FD organizational component.
As a threshold matter, United argues that Draftsmen must be included in the Office Clerical Employees craft or class based on the list of eligible voters in Case No. R-6710. In that case, less than a majority of eligible employees cast valid ballots voted for representation, and the IAM's application was dismissed. Therefore, United contends that this application must be dismissed because the one-year bar in 29 CFR § 1206.4(b) applies. These circumstances do not create a precedent for including Draftsmen in the Office Clerical Employees craft or class. The Board finds that the bar in 29 C.F.R. § 1206.4(b) does not apply.
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 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 has examined the proper scope of the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees at United a number of times. United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 134 (1977); United Air Lines, Inc., 5 NMB 65 (1968); Case No. R-1376 (1945) (not reported in Board volumes); Case No. R-1838 (1947) (not reported in Board volumes).
In United Air Lines, Inc., 6 NMB 134, 135 (1977), the Board said that,
[N]ational Airlines Inc., 1 NMB Det. 423, 428 (1947) afford[s] what has proved to be a most workable and consistently relied upon definition of the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class in the airline industry:
"A. Mechanics who perform maintenance work on aircraft, engine, or accessory equipment.
B. Ground service personnel who perform work generally described as follows: Washing and cleaning airplane, engine and accessory parts in overhaul shops, fueling of aircraft and ground equipment, maintenance of ground and ramp equipment, maintenance of buildings, hangars and related equipment, cleaning and maintaining the interior and exterior of aircraft, servicing and control of cabin service equipment, air conditioning of aircraft, cleaning of airport hangars, building, hangar and ramp equipment.
C. Plant maintenance personnel - including employees who perform work consisting of repairs, alterations, additions to and maintenance of buildings, hangars, and the repair, maintenance and operation of related equipment including automatic equipment."
In US Airways, 28 NMB 104 (2000), the Board reiterated this Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class definition and stated,
In subsequent decisions, the Board has included classifications other than mechanics in the craft or class. US Airways, 28 NMB 350 (2000) (Quality Assurance Consultants); United Parcel Service, 27 NMB 3 (1999) and Allegheny Airlines, 26 NMB 487 (1999) (Maintenance Controllers); US Airways, 26 NMB 359 (1999) (Maintenance Operations Control Supervisors); Pacific Southwest Airlines, 14 NMB 10 (1986)(Flight Simulator Technicians); U.S. Air, 8 NMB 524 (1981) (Technical Specialists); Allegheny Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 359 (1977) (Planners and Technical Specialists); World Airways, 7 NMB 420 (1980) (Maintenance Training Instructor, Senior Technical Writer, Technical Writer, Production Planners, Specialist Avionics, and Specialist Sheet Metal); United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 252 (1977) (Meteorologists).
In United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 134 (1977), the Board cited its determination in Eastern Airlines, 4 NMB 54, 63 (1965): "The related employees . . . while of different skill levels from the mechanics, nonetheless are closely related to them in that they are engaged in a common function - the maintenance function . . . . See also Federal Express Corp., 20 NMB 360 (1993)."
The preponderance of the Draftsmen's work is on flight simulator diagrams, drawings, and schematics supporting the maintenance of these highly complex devices performed by the FSTs, ECCMs and TDEs. Draftsmen's work is highly technical and entirely computer-based. Draftsmen often work in ad hoc teams and project-based groups with the FSTs, ECCMs and TDEs. These teams and groups foster direct communications between and among Draftsmen, FSTs, ECCMs, and TDEs. The record establishes that Draftsmen and FSTs interact extensively and that the work of the Draftsmen is integrally related to the work of the FSTs. The Draftsmen's and FSTs' work is highly interdependent. United's functional organization of the TD&FD reflects the interdependent working relationship between Draftsmen and FSTs. At United, Draftsmen have different skill levels from FSTs; nonetheless, the work of these employees is closely related in that they engage in a common function - the maintenance of flight simulators. Therefore, the Board finds that a community of interest exists between United's Draftsmen and the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class.
CONCLUSION AND DISMISSAL
The Board finds that Draftsmen are part of the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class at United. The IAM's application is converted to NMB Case No. R-6810 and dismissed.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Jennifer Coyne, Esq.
Robert Roach, Jr.
David Neigus, Esq.