In the Matter of the
TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA
alleging a representation dispute
pursuant to Section 2, Ninth,
involving employees of
AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC.
29 NMB No. 43
CASE NOS. R-6872,
FILE NOS. CR-6751
March 27, 2002
This determination addresses an application filed by the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU or Organization). TWU requests the National Mediation Board (Board) investigate whether American Airlines, Inc. (American), and TWA Airlines, LLC. (TWA-LLC),(1) operate as a single transportation system.
The weight of the evidence establishes that American and TWA-LLC operate as a single transportation system.
On December 13, 2001, TWU filed an application alleging a representation dispute involving the following: Mechanics and Related Employees; Fleet Service Employees; Stock Clerks; Dispatchers; Simulator Technicians; Instructors; Technical Specialists; and Meteorologists of American. TWU asserted that American and TWA-LLC constitute a single transportation system. The application was assigned NMB File No. CR-6743.
The Board assigned Eileen Hennessey to investigate.
On December 19, 2001, the Board requested that American and TWA-LLC provide information. American and TWA-LLC jointly responded on January 3, 2002. TWU filed a response on February 1, 2002. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO (IAM) filed a response on February 1, 2002.
Are American and TWA-LLC a single transportation system? If so, what are the representation consequences?
TWU contends as follows:
American and TWA-LLC are a single carrier and the TWU's application should be granted. The factual record was, for the most part, correctly stated in the Carriers' submission in this case as well as the Allied Pilots Association's submission in CR-6736. All critical management functions at TWA-LLC, including labor relations, are completely controlled by American. In addition, American now specifically represents to the public that "TWA is now American Airlines" and routes and schedules are combined. These are the core factors in a single carrier system pursuant to Board precedent. Trans World Airlines/Ozark Airlines, 14 NMB 218 (1987); Flagship Airlines, et al., 22 NMB 331 (1995).
The IAM contends as follows:
TWU's application should be denied or, in the alternative, the Board should hold a hearing to determine whether and when the American and TWA systems will be sufficiently integrated to warrant a single transportation system. In support of its opposition in this case, the IAM's submissions in NMB File No. CR-6742 (Flight Attendants) are incorporated.
American and TWA-LLC are not sufficiently integrated to be a single transportation system under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). Maintenance of TWA-LLC aircraft is and will, for the foreseeable future, be separate from the maintenance of American aircraft. TWA-LLC aircraft continue to be maintained by TWA-LLC mechanics in accordance with TWA-LLC's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved maintenance practices and procedures manual.
American and TWA-LLC
It is American and TWA-LLC's position that a single transportation system existed as of December 2, 2001.
FINDINGS OF LAW
Determination of the issues in this case is governed by the RLA, as amended, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-188. Accordingly, the Board finds as follows:
American and TWA-LLC are common carriers as defined in 45 U.S.C. § 181.
TWU and IAM 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 FACT
On April 9, 2001, American acquired certain assets of TWA, Inc. Simultaneously, American transferred the assets to a newly created subsidiary known as TWA-LLC. TWA-LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines and is certified by the FAA and Department of Transportation (DOT) as a Part 121 direct air carrier pursuant to 14 C.F.R. Part 119.
TWU is the certified collective bargaining representative for the following crafts or classes at American: Airline Mechanics, Ground Service, Plant Maintenance and Fleet Service Personnel R-1640 (1946); Stock and Stores employees R-1447 (1945); and Meteorologists R-4191 (1970).
TWU was certified as the representative of the Dispatchers at American in R-4265 (1972) and as the representative of the Dispatchers at TWA, Inc., in R-3653 (1964).
TWU is the voluntarily recognized representative of the following American employees: Flight Simulator Technicians; Instructors; and Technical Specialists.
The IAM is the certified collective bargaining representative of the following crafts or classes at TWA, Inc.: Mechanics and Related (including Fleet Service) R-1471 (1945); and Stock Clerks R-1606 (1946). Effective January 8, 1957, TWA, Inc., recognized the IAM as the representative of its Flight Simulator Technicians and incorporated that position into the TWA, Inc./IAM collective bargaining agreement.(2)
The employees covered by this application are:
|Mechanics and Related||13,229||3,272|
American and TWA-LLC operate under separate FAA Air Carrier Certificates. TWA-LLC's Flight Dispatch, Flight Safety, and Maintenance & Engineering's Quality Assurance and Quality Surveillance functions are controlled by TWA-LLC.
The FAA requires that aircraft registered to a certificate holder be operated in accordance with the certificate holder's specific procedures. 14 C.F.R. §121.133; 14 C.F.R. §121.400. TWA-LLC and American have separate operating certificates. Therefore, mechanics at TWA-LLC do not work on American aircraft and American's mechanics do not work on TWA-LLC aircraft.
According to the TWA-LLC/IAM agreements, TWA-LLC employees receive pay and benefits equivalent to American pay rates and benefits, effective January 1, 2002. As of January 1, 2002, work rules equivalent to American work rules became applicable for TWA-LLC Mechanics and Related Employees, Fleet Service Employees, Stock Clerks, Dispatchers, Simulator Technicians and Instructors. TWA-LLC employees will be covered by American/TWU collective bargaining agreements when an integration agreement among the TWU and the Carriers becomes effective or when the Board determines that a single transportation system exists and resolves any representation issues.
Management and Labor Relations
Since January 1, 2002, the following functions at TWA-LLC are managed and operated by American Airlines: Legal, Advertising, Marketing, Passenger Service, Flight Service, certain sections of Maintenance and Engineering, Labor/Employee Relations, Human Resources, Finance, Revenue Management, Scheduling, Government Affairs, Corporate Communications, and Cargo.
FAA regulations require that Flight Dispatch, Flight Safety and Maintenance & Engineering's Quality Assurance and Quality Surveillance functions remain under TWA-LLC's control until it surrenders its certificate. TWA-LLC retains a separate Director of Operations, Chief Inspector, Director of Maintenance, Chief Pilot, and Director of Safety.
Since approximately October 2001, labor relations at both American and TWA-LLC have been the responsibility of Jeff Brundage, Vice President, Employee Relations, American Airlines. Brundage reports to Sue Oliver, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, American Airlines.
TWA-LLC's Managers are analogous to members of a board of directors. All of TWA-LLC's Managers are also officers of American. William F. Compton, President, TWA-LLC, reports to Robert Baker, who serves as both CEO of TWA-LLC and Vice Chairman of American.
The present American/TWU collective bargaining agreements covering the crafts and classes in this application provide for arbitration of disputes over seniority integration pursuant to Sections 3 and 13 under the process established by the Civil Aeronautics Board in Allegheny-Mohawk Merger Case, 59 CAB 19 (1972). An arbitration concerning the seniority integration issue has been scheduled and the IAM is participating.
Routes and Schedules
American's Scheduling Department schedules for the combined American/TWA-LLC route network. As of December 2, 2001, American's designator code "AA" replaced TWA-LLC's designator code on all reservation systems in the Official Airline Guide and on printed schedules and tickets for former TWA-LLC flights.
Marketing and Advertising
American took over TWA-LLC marketing on April 9, 2001. All "TWA Aviators'" members are now part of American's "AAdvantage Miles" program. American is creating AAdvantage accounts for every TWA Aviators' member. TWA frequent flyer account balances will be transferred to the American system until November 30, 2002.
On November 3, 2001, TWA-LLC began the process of removing TWA-LLC flights departing on or after December 2, 2001, from all airline booking sources. Concurrently, American replaced these flights with American-marketed flights using the "AA" designator code and flight number. All previously booked TWA-LLC reservations and e-tickets were moved from the TWA-LLC flight to the corresponding "American-marketed" flight. Customers traveling on TWA-LLC flights after December 2, 2001, call American reservations or book "American-marketed" TWA-LLC flights with their travel agent. DOT regulations require that American disclose to ticket purchasers and passengers that the flight is operated by TWA-LLC.
In November 2001, American registered the name "American Airlines" with the FAA and DOT to be used in connection with TWA-LLC's operations. Effective December 2, 2001, American's trade name and logo replaced TWA-LLC's on advertising, printed schedules, ticket stock and jackets, stationary and name tags.
American and TWA-LLC passengers are processed at American ticket counters, and fly from American gates. TWA Inc.'s website, www.twa.com directs users to the American website. American's in-flight magazine is used on TWA-LLC flights.
Signs, Logos, and Uniforms
American developed a transitional aircraft livery for TWA-LLC, incorporating both the TWA and American Airlines insignia. Prior to December 2, 2001, 48 of the 166 TWA-LLC aircraft were painted in the transitional livery. The Carriers state that by May 2002, all TWA aircraft will be converted to full American livery and carry a small placard to the right of the cabin entry door identifying it as "TWA an American Airlines company operated by TWA Airlines LLC."
All TWA and TWA-LLC corporate insignia and logos were replaced by American corporate insignia and logos as of December 2, 2001.
Uniforms will be provided to TWA-LLC employees once the integration agreements are completed with American's labor organizations.
The Board's Authority
45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth, authorizes the Board to investigate disputes arising among a carrier's employees over representation and to certify the duly authorized representative of such employees. The Board has exclusive jurisdiction over representation questions under the RLA. Switchmen's Union v. National Mediation Board, 320 U.S. 297 (1943); General Committee of Adjustment v. M.K.T. Railroad, 320 U.S. 323 (1943). In Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l v. Texas Int'l Airlines, 656 F.2d 16, 22 (2d Cir. 1981), the court stated, "the NMB is empowered to . . . decide representation disputes arising out of corporate restructurings."
Single Transportation System
In Trans World Airlines/Ozark Airlines, the Board cited the following indicia of a single transportation system:
[W]hether a combined schedule is published; how the carrier advertises its services; whether reservation systems are combined; whether tickets are issued on one carrier's stock; if signs, logos and other publicly visible indicia have been changed to indicate only one carrier's existence; whether personnel with public contact were held out as employees of one carrier; and whether the process of repainting planes and other equipment, to eliminate indications of separate existence, has been progressed.
Other factors investigated by the Board seek to determine if 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.
14 NMB 218, 236 (1987).
The Board recently found that American and TWA-LLC operate as a single transportation system for the craft or class of Flight Deck Crew Members and for the craft or class of Flight Attendants. American Airlines, Inc./TWA Airlines, LLC., 29 NMB 201 (2002); American Airlines, Inc./TWA Airlines, LLC., 29 NMB 223 (2002). Based upon the facts established by the investigation and the determinations cited above, the Board finds that American and TWA-LLC operate as a single transportation system for the following: Mechanics and Related Employees; Fleet Service Employees; Stock Clerks; Dispatchers; and Meteorologists.
Once the Board determines that a single transportation system exists, it examines the potential representation issues.
Mechanics & Related Employees/Fleet Service Employees
Over 50 years ago, the Board determined that the appropriate craft or class for "maintenance of equipment employees" at American was Airline Mechanics, Ground Service, Plant Maintenance, and Fleet Service Personnel. American Airlines, Inc., 1 NMB 394 (1945). TWU currently holds the certification for this craft or class at American.
The Board cited American Airlines, Inc., 1 NMB 394 (1945), when it concluded that the Mechanics and Related craft or class at Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc., (a predecessor of TWA, Inc.) includes mechanics, inspectors, fleet service helpers and ground service helpers. Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc., 1 NMB 412 (1945). The IAM was certified to represent this group at Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc., on November 20, 1945.
Subsequent Board determinations have redefined the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class in the airline industry. United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 134 (1977). In United, above, the Board stated "it is th[e] functional connection between Mechanic classifications and those employees performing related maintenance operations that has historically formed a basis for their identity as a single craft or class." In addition, the record in this case establishes that the participants, over time, have divided these employees into two crafts or classes, Mechanics and Related Employees and Fleet Service Employees. The Board, therefore, finds that the single craft or class of Airline Mechanics, Ground Service, Plant Maintenance, and Fleet Service Personnel is no longer a proper craft or class at either American or TWA-LLC. The proper crafts or classes are: Mechanics and Related Employees and Fleet Service Employees. TWU represents Mechanics and Related Employees and Fleet Service Employees at American. The IAM represents Mechanics and Related Employees and Fleet Service Employees at TWA-LLC.
TWU is the certified representative of Dispatchers at both American (R-4265) and TWA, Inc. (R-3653). The Board extends TWU's certification in R-4265 to include Dispatchers at TWA-LLC and extinguishes TWU's certification in R-3653.
Stock & Stores
TWU is the representative of Stock and Stores employees at American (R-1447) and the IAM is the representative of the Stock Clerks at TWA-LLC (R-1606).
There are no Meteorologists at TWA-LLC. Therefore, TWU's certification in R-4191 for the Meteorologist craft or class is extended and covers the single transportation system.
Flight Simulator Technician
TWU and the IAM are the voluntarily recognized representatives of Flight Simulator Technicians on American and TWA-LLC, respectively. The Board held that the position of Flight Simulator Technician at American is "properly includ[ed]" in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class at American. American Airlines, 5 NMB 248 (1976). Therefore, the position of Flight Simulator Technician at American is covered by TWU's certification in R-1640.
Instructors and Technical Specialists
TWU is the voluntarily recognized representative of the Technical Specialists at American and Instructors at American. TWU filed an application seeking to become the certified collective bargaining representative of these employees. Pursuant to the Board's Representation Manual (Manual) Section 19.401, TWU submitted portions of a current collective bargaining agreement for these employees.
Cases to Remain Open Pending Further Action by the Board
The Board finds that American and TWA-LLC operate as a single transportation system for purposes of representation of the following crafts or classes: Mechanics and Related Employees; Fleet Service Employees; and Stock and Stores Employees. TWU's application included copies of portions of the relevant collective bargaining agreements for the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class, the Fleet Service Employees craft or class, and the Stock and Stores craft or class. Accordingly, the TWU's application to represent Mechanics and Related Employees, Fleet Service Employees, and Stock and Stores Employees in NMB File No. CR-6743 is converted to NMB Case Nos. R-6872 (Mechanics and Related), R-6873 (Fleet Service), and R-6874 (Stock and Stores). The IAM has 30 days from the date of this determination to file an application for each of these crafts or classes, supported by a showing of interest of at least 35 percent of the single transportation system or to supplement the showing of interest in accordance with Manual Section 19.601. The participants are reminded that existing certifications remain in effect until the Board issues new certifications or dismissals. See Manual Section 19.602.
TWU's application to become the certified collective bargaining representative of Technical Specialists as well as Instructors in NMB File No. CR-6743 is converted to NMB File No. CR-6751 (Technical Specialists) and NMB File No. CR-6752 (Instructors). Pursuant to Manual Section 19.6, these cases will remain open and the investigation will proceed to address the issue of the proper craft or class for these positions.
Cases to be Closed
The Board finds that American and TWA-LLC operate as a single transportation system for representation of Dispatchers. Accordingly, the TWU's application for Dispatchers in File No. CR-6743 is converted to NMB Case No. R-6875 (Dispatchers). The Board extends TWU's certification in R-4265 to include Dispatchers in the single transportation system. The Board extinguishes TWU's certification in R-3653. Accordingly, Case No. R-6875 (Dispatchers) is closed.
The Board finds that American and TWA-LLC operate as a single transportation system for purposes of representation of the craft or class of Meteorologists. Accordingly, the TWU's application to represent Meteorologists in NMB File No. CR-6743 is converted to NMB Case No. R-6876 (Meteorologists). TWU's certification in R-4191 for the Meteorologist craft or class at American remains in effect and is extended to cover the craft or class of Meteorologists in the single transportation system. Accordingly, NMB Case No. R-6876 (Meteorologist) is closed.
The Board has previously determined that the position of Flight Simulator Technicians on American is properly included in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. TWU's certification in NMB Case No. R-1640 covers this position and TWU's application to represent Flight Simulator Technicians in NMB File No. CR-6743 is converted to NMB Case No. R-6877 (Flight Simulator Technicians) and closed.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Benetta M. Mansfield
Chief of Staff
(see attached list)
Harry A. Rissetto, Esq.
Sheldon M. Kline, Esq.
Richard A. Malahowski
David Neigus, Esq.
James C. Little
Arthur M. Luby, Esq.
Marie Chopra, Esq.
Clay Warner, Esq.
1. TWA-LLC and American, when used collectively, will be referred to as "Carriers."
2. The IAM and TWA, Inc., agreed to establish the classification of Lead Systems Technician in 1970. In the April 10, 1992, collective bargaining agreement, TWA, Inc. and IAM combined the Instrument, Electrical and Radio specialties into the Avionics specialty.