May 29, 2002
Jonathan A. Cohen, Esq.
Director - Legal Department
Marcus C. Migliore, Esq.
Senior Attorney, Legal Department
Air Line Pilots Association
1625 Massachusetts Ave., NW.
Washington, DC 20036
Re: File No. C-6762/Case No. R-6450
This determination addresses the joint request from the Fedex Pilots Association (FPA) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) to transfer FPA's certification in NMB Case No. R-6450, covering Flight Deck Crew Members, to ALPA. For the reasons discussed below, the National Mediation Board (Board) grants the request and transfers FPA's certification to ALPA.
The Joint Request for Transfer of Certification
FPA was certified to represent Federal Express Corporation's (now FedEx Express) (FedEx or Carrier) Flight Deck Crew Members in NMB Case No. R-6450. Federal Express Corporation, 24 NMB 27 (1996).
The May 21, 2002, joint request is signed by David Webb, President, FPA and Duane Woerth, President, ALPA, and states, in pertinent part:
We write to request that the Board transfer certification to represent the Flight Deck Crew Members of Federal Express . . . for purposes of collective bargaining from the [FPA] to [ALPA]. The officers of both unions make this request pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement entered into by the parties. . . . The Agreement becomes effective on June 1, 2002 . . . .
The parties have met all requirements under their Merger Agreement for a transfer of certification. Consistent with their respective Constitutions and By-laws, the governing bodies of both unions have approved the Agreement, and the members of the FPA have overwhelmingly voted by secret ballot to ratify it and transfer representation rights to ALPA. . . . Following the ratification vote, ALPA's Executive Board ratified the Merger Agreement on May 21, 2002.
The joint request includes the following supporting documents:
In a May 28, 2002, letter to the Board, FedEx states, in part:
[T]he merger of FPA and ALPA is an internal union matter with respect to which Federal Express is a neutral bystander. Concerning the validity of the merger vote, we are unaware of any evidence of fraud or gross abuse in the election process. We will continue to treat with the duly certified representative of the FedEx pilots in accordance with the RLA.
The RLA requires only that the Board investigate a transfer of certification based on a union merger rather than mandating any procedures for such an investigation. Consolidated Rail Corporation, 28 NMB 30 (2000) (citing Continental Airlines, Inc., v. National Mediation Board, 793 F. Supp. 330 (D.D.C. 1991), aff'd, 957 F.2d 911 (D.C. Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 974 (1992)). The Board views an organization's decision to merge into another organization as an internal union matter and the Board will grant requests for transfers of certification based on union mergers unless there is evidence of fraud or gross abuse in the merger or election. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 18 NMB 446 (1991).
The Board generally grants a transfer request based upon assertions contained in the request letters. Big Sky Transportation Company, 25 NMB 376 (1998); Desert Sun Airlines, 24 NMB 137 (1997); Northwest Airlines, above at 448; Transtar Airlines, 14 NMB 377 (1987); Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, 13 NMB 408 (1986); Railroad Yardmasters of America, 13 NMB 6 (1985).
Based on its investigation, the Board finds that there is no evidence of fraud or gross abuse in the merger or election process. An overwhelming majority of FPA's members voted in a secret ballot election to merge with ALPA. Based on the record, it appears that both organizations have complied with their respective Constitutions and By-Laws. Since the FPA has merged into ALPA, the joint request for transfer of certification is granted. The Board's records are revised to reflect the transfer of the certification issued to FPA in NMB Case No. R-6450 to ALPA.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Benetta M. Mansfield
Chief of Staff
Mr. Donald Maliniak
John Maxwell, Esq.
Mr. Bruce Cheever