In the Matter of the
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
alleging a representation dispute
pursuant to Section 2, Ninth,
involving employees of
AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES
28 NMB No. 66
CASE NO. R-6788
April 18, 2001
This determination addresses the application filed by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) seeking to represent Mechanics and Related Employees of American Eagle Airlines. (Eagle or Carrier). For the reasons set forth below, the National Mediation Board (Board) dismisses AMFA's application.
On November 8, 2000, AMFA filed an application with the Board alleging a representation dispute pursuant to 45 U.S. C. § 152, Ninth, of the Railway Labor Act (Act). The application covered Eagle's Mechanics and Related Employees. These employees are currently represented by the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) by voluntary recognition. This case was assigned to Investigator Mary L. Johnson.
On November 15, 2000, the Carrier provided an eligibility list of 1,120 employees which included 177 individuals employed at the Regional Aircraft Maintenance Center, Inc. (RAMCI), an Eagle subsidiary. AMFA and TWU filed position statements regarding the scope of the system on December 11, 2000. The Carrier filed a response on January 16, 2001. AMFA and TWU filed replies on January 30, 2001.
On February 2, 2001, the Carrier responded to AMFA's January 30, 2001, position statement. On February 8, 2001, Investigator Johnson requested additional information. Eagle provided the information on February 20, 2001, and AMFA and TWU responded on February 27, 2001.
Are RAMCI employees part of Eagle's Mechanics and Related craft or class?
The Carrier asserts that RAMCI employees are part of the Eagle system. Eagle states that RAMCI employees work exclusively on Eagle aircraft, are trained by Eagle employees, are subject to the same management and labor relations policies as Eagle employees, and may exercise their seniority to flow back and forth in the Eagle system. In addition, Eagle asserts there are interlocking boards of directors and officers between Eagle and RAMCI.
Eagle also argues that AMFA's showing of interest must be more than 50 percent because all the mechanics on the Eagle system are currently represented. Regarding AMFA's arguments concerning the maintenance bases, Wings West Aviation Services, Inc. (WWASI), and Eagle Aviation Services, Inc. (EASI), the Carrier asserts that AMFA should not be permitted to use the Board's merger procedures to expand the scope of its application.
AMFA argues that RAMCI Mechanics are not part of the Eagle system because they are employed by an Eagle subsidiary, not by American Eagle Airlines. AMFA asserts that RAMCI is not part of the Eagle airline system because it is a heavy maintenance base and repair station. Citing the RAMCI/TWU agreement, AMFA states that there is "virtually no functional integration of operations" between Eagle and RAMCI, and RAMCI does its own hiring, firing, disciplining, and promoting. AMFA further asserts that RAMCI has its own payroll and "retains its own repair station general procedures manual." In addition, AMFA states that Eagle employees who transfer to RAMCI lose pass privileges. AMFA argues that RAMCI employees are "no more part" of the Eagle system than employees at WWASI and EASI.
TWU takes the position that RAMCI employees are part of the Eagle system. TWU states that RAMCI employees repair Eagle aircraft and have contract terms identical to the Eagle agreement. TWU states that both agreements were negotiated at the same time with the same management representatives. TWU asserts that RAMCI Mechanics wear Eagle uniforms and insignia.
FINDINGS OF LAW
Determination of the issues in this case is governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA or Act), as amended, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-188. Accordingly, the Board finds as follows:
American Eagle is a common carrier as defined in 45 U.S.C. § 181.
AMFA and TWU are labor organizations 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 the purposes of this chapter."
45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, provides that the Board has the duty to investigate representation disputes and to designate who may participate as eligible voters in the event an election is required. In determining the choice of the majority of employees, the Board is "authorized to take a secret ballot of the employees involved, or to utilize any other appropriate method of ascertaining the names of their duly designated and authorized representatives . . . by the employees without interference, influence, or coercion exercised by the carrier."
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Eagle History and Corporate Structure
In Flagship Airlines, Inc., 22 NMB 331 (1995), the Board found that Flagship, Executive Airlines, Simmons Airlines, and Wings West Airlines operated as a single transportation system - "American Eagle." In 1998, Flagship, Simmons, and Wings West combined, forming Eagle. Executive Airlines continues to exist as a separate entity, but its operations have been integrated with Eagle. Eagle is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Eagle Holdings Corp., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Corp.
RAMCI is a heavy maintenance base and repair station with a Part 145 certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). RAMCI, which was part of Simmons, became a separate subsidiary in 1996, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Eagle Holdings Corp. Eagle and RAMCI share the same President, Vice President/General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary. RAMCI has its own Vice President, Steven Rodgers.
Representation and Collective Bargaining
In 1995, TWU represented Mechanics and Related Employees on Flagship, Executive, and Simmons. When RAMCI separated from Simmons in 1996, TWU continued to represent the RAMCI Mechanics. After Eagle was created in 1998, the Carrier voluntarily recognized TWU as the representative of Eagle's Mechanics and Related Employees. In 1998, the Carrier and TWU agreed to place the TWU-represented RAMCI mechanics under a "separate but parallel" contract "with common seniority rights with . . . Eagle Mechanics."
Michael Costello, Eagle's Vice President - People, submitted a declaration regarding the Eagle and RAMCI agreements. According to Costello:
Both . . . agreements are effective April 28, 1998 and become amendable on April 28, 2003. They have virtually identical terms, with a few minor variations at RAMCI.
The terms and conditions of employment . . . are virtually identical. Indeed, many provisions of the Agreement reflect the integration of RAMCI and Eagle. The System Board of Adjustment in Article 22 of both agreements is called the "Board of Adjustment, American Eagle Airlines, Inc."; there are "me too" clauses that link benefits of RAMCI mechanics to those of [Eagle] . . . . Under Article 26, the dues checkoff form for RAMCI employees "authorize[s] and direct[s] [Eagle] to deduct . . . monthly dues . . . ."
Costello states that RAMCI initially was staffed with Simmons Mechanics who retained their Eagle seniority dates. He further states:
Both the RAMCI and Eagle collective bargaining agreements contain provisions for employees to exercise seniority to flow back and forth between Eagle and RAMCI - if they voluntarily choose to do so during reductions in force to avoid furlough. Article 14 of the RAMCI agreement provides that RAMCI employees voluntarily may transfer to other stations on the Eagle system-they exercise their seniority in the same manner as Eagle employees.
According to Leonard Olgren, a RAMCI Mechanic and President of the RAMCI local union, all Eagle and RAMCI disputes involving interpretation of the agreement appealed to arbitration anywhere in the system are presented in Dallas, Texas. Olgren also states that RAMCI's "function did not change when Simmons became part of Eagle and RAMCI was made into a subsidiary." Olgren states further that in his experience, "all significant company decisions concerning labor relations or maintenance policy impacting RAMCI are made by American Eagle officials in Dallas."
Employee Rights and Assignments
RAMCI employees exclusively repair Eagle aircraft. RAMCI employees may be temporarily assigned to Eagle stations, particularly on holidays. According to Olgren, when assigned to Eagle stations, RAMCI mechanics work alongside Eagle line mechanics. Sections 9 L and 14 of the Eagle agreement with TWU provide that employees may move back and forth between RAMCI and Eagle and retain their seniority. RAMCI employees have airline travel pass privileges on Eagle identical to those of Eagle employees. Unlike other Eagle employees, RAMCI employees do not have pass privileges outside the AMR corporate family.
Management and Control of Labor and Personnel Relations
Article I, Paragraph C, of the RAMCI/TWU agreement provides:
The rights of ownership, the management of the Company and the direction of the working forces, including the right to hire, promote, demote, transfer, layoff and recall, the right to direct, plan and control operations, and to establish and change work schedules, and the right to determine the type of work to be performed . . . are vested exclusively with the Company so long as the exercise of such rights shall not be in conflict with the specific provisions of this Agreement.
Costello states that there are "[t]welve Eagle management employees . . . stationed at RAMCI: three maintenance pilots, one supervisor of production, two engineers, two records clerks, one training instructor, two inventory control analysts, and one analyst maintenance programer." Further, according to Costello, the Eagle and RAMCI employment and labor relations policies "generally are identical and are applied uniformly to all employees at Eagle and RAMCI."
Nina Ingales, RAMCI's Human Resources Representative, reports "directly" to Steve Rodgers at RAMCI. She reports "indirectly" for equal employment matters to Roger Barsamean, Manager of Human Resources at Eagle. On labor relations matters, she consults with Robert Granger, Employee Relations Counsel at Eagle.
In his declaration, Granger states:
I am responsible for ensuring that Eagle labor relations policies and the collective bargaining agreements for mechanics are applied consistently throughout the American Eagle System, i.e., American Eagle Airlines, Inc., Executive Airlines, Inc., and [RAMCI].
I am heavily involved in guiding and counseling RAMCI, about labor relations problems relating to RAMCI mechanics. For example, I guide RAMCI's interpretation of its collective bargaining agreement and application of rates of pay, rules and working conditions to make sure they are applied consistently with Eagle. I consult and guide RAMCI in processing grievances, which, if unresolved, would end up in the Eagle System Board of Adjustment.
Payroll, Uniforms and Training
Payroll checks for Eagle and RAMCI employees are centrally issued and administered. RAMCI checks bear the Eagle logo.
RAMCI employees are not required to wear uniforms, but if they choose to do so, they wear uniforms with the Eagle logo. RAMCI uniforms are ordered from Eagle.
RAMCI's only training instructor is an Eagle employee. Although training generally is performed at RAMCI, according to Costello, "some specialized classes are offered by Eagle at locations around the Eagle system."
WWASI and EASI
WWASI and EASI are wholly-owned subsidiaries of AMR Eagle Holdings Corp., and separately incorporated companies which provide heavy maintenance. EASI provides maintenance for entities other than Eagle, including Mesaba Airlines, Business Express, CCAir, MC Finance, Fairbrook Leasing, Mellon Bank, and Kelley-Springfield. EASI Mechanics wear EASI - supplied uniforms with "Eagle Aviation" insignia. WWASI Mechanics wear uniforms supplied by WWASI with the WWASI logo. WWASI and EASI Mechanics have no seniority at Eagle or RAMCI.
WWASI and EASI do share corporate officers and directors with Eagle and RAMCI. Management officials from WWASI and EASI provided evidence that they direct and control the WWASI and EASI employees in the performance of their jobs, in the maintenance of discipline and in the resolution of employee complaints. Rates of pay, hours, and working conditions at WWASI and EASI are not the same as on Eagle and RAMCI. Eagle's Employee Relations Counsel, Robert Granger, does not have any labor relations contact with EASI and WWASI.
Single Transportation System
In Trans World Airlines/Ozark Airlines, 14 NMB 218 (1987), the Board enunciated certain factors which it examines to determine whether a single transportation system exists. Among these factors are:
[I]f the carriers have combined their operations from a managerial and labor relations perspective. Here the Board investigates whether labor relations and personnel functions are handled by one carrier; whether there are a common management, common corporate officers and interlocking Boards of Directors; whether there is a combined workforce; and whether separate identities are maintained for corporate and other purposes.
Id. at 236.
In Continental Airlines and Continental Express, 20 NMB 326 (1993), the Board found a single transportation system to exist because the two entities were under common control, shared common officers, and had centralized labor relations and personnel functions. The two carriers also shared common marketing, common markings and insignia, scheduling, and reservations. See also Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation Railroads, 24 NMB 307 (1997); Shuttle, Inc. d/b/a US Air Shuttle, 19 NMB 388 (1992); Guilford Transportation Industries, Inc., 18 NMB 413 (1991). In Guilford, above, the Board held that the RLA provides for representation on a craft or class, system-wide basis, regardless of work locations.
In Midway Airlines, Inc., 14 NMB 447 (1987), the Board found that a separate corporation, a heavy maintenance base, was part of a single transportation system. The Board noted that Midway was the largest customer for the base and that the services performed by the bases' mechanics were essential to Midway's operations. The Board stated:
The Board has consistently held that mechanics performing maintenance on an aircraft are part of the same craft or class of mechanics and related employees. . . . The Board has not distinguished between heavy base maintenance and line maintenance. It is Board policy that all employees of a carrier who perform similar work constitute a single craft or class for representation purposes. . . .
Id. at 459.
The Board considers integration of labor relations and personnel functions to be a significant factor. American Airlines and Reno Air, 26 NMB 467, 479 (1999); AirTran Airways and Air- Tran Airlines, 25 NMB 429, 435 (1998). In Flagship, above, the Board found that labor relations and personnel functions on Eagle were under common control.
The Board's investigation establishes a single transportation system comprised of American Eagle Airlines and RAMCI. RAMCI and Eagle share interlocking officers and directors. Eagle and RAMCI employees are subject to the same terms and conditions of employment, and labor relations are centrally managed. Eagle and RAMCI employees exercise their seniority to flow back and forth. RAMCI employees work exclusively on Eagle aircraft and wear uniforms with the Eagle logo. Eagle provides training for RAMCI employees. Payroll for Eagle and RAMCI is centralized.
The Board finds that WWASI and EASI are not part of the Eagle system. Therefore, it is unnecessary to address the applicability of the Board's Merger Procedures. Based on the record, the Board finds that RAMCI is part of the Eagle system.
Showing of Interest
The entire craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees on Eagle is currently represented by TWU. RAMCI is part of the Eagle system and RAMCI's Mechanics are part of Eagle's Mechanics and Related craft or class. Therefore, the Board finds that AMFA's application is subject to the showing of interest requirement set forth at 29 C.F.R. 1206.2(a) of the Board's Rules.(1)
The investigation established that AMFA failed to support its application with the required number of authorizations from the employees in the craft or class as set forth in Part 1206.2(a) of the NMB Rules.
Therefore, the Board finds no basis upon which to proceed in this matter and the application is hereby dismissed subject to Part 1206.4(b) of the NMB Rules.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Stephen E. Crable
Chief of Staff
Copies to: (See Attached List)
John J. Gallagher, Esq.
Margaret H. Spurlin, Esq.
Mr. Michael F. Costello
Mr. John J. Kerrigan
Robert B. Rosen, Esq.
Arthur M. Luby, Esq.
Mr. Terry Harvey
George Diamantopoulos, Esq.
Mr. Kevin McCormick
1. 29 C.F.R. § 1206.2(a) provides:
Where the employees involved in a representation dispute are represented . . . and are covered by a valid existing contract . . . a showing of proved authorizations . . . from at least a majority of the craft or class must be made before the Board will authorize an election. . . .