In the Matter of the
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS
alleging a representation dispute
pursuant to Section 2, Ninth,
involving employees of
29 NMB No. 74
CASE NO. R-6899
July 2, 2002
This decision addresses the application of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT or Organization) alleging a representation dispute pursuant to the Railway Labor Act(1) (RLA) 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth (Section 2, Ninth), among Ground Service Equipment Mechanics (GSE Mechanics) employees at Frontier Airlines, Inc. (Frontier or Carrier). The IBT is the certified representative of the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class(NMB Case No. R-6823). Frontier Airlines, 28 NMB 527 (2001). The IBT asserts that the GSE Mechanics are part of the craft or class.
For reasons set forth below, the National Mediation Board (Board or NMB) concludes that the GSE Mechanics are already covered by the IBT's certification. Therefore, the Board dismisses the application.
On April 4, 2002, the IBT filed an application alleging a representation dispute among Frontier's GSE Mechanics. The Organization requested the Board accrete GSE Mechanics into the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. This application was assigned NMB File No. CR-6753. Eileen M. Hennessey was assigned as the Investigator.
Frontier submitted a position statement on April 22, 2002. On April 29, 2002, the IBT filed a response to Frontier's position statement.
Should Frontier's GSE Mechanics be included in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class?
The Carrier asserts that GSE Mechanics should not be included in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class because GSE Mechanics do not share a work-related community of interest with aircraft mechanics. Frontier states that GSE employees are functionally segregated from the aircraft mechanics within Frontier's organizational structure. In addition, "the job
content of GSE employees is limited to performing maintenance work on group equipment, thereby creating a lack of community of interest with the Company's aircraft mechanics." The Carrier also argues that GSE employees are on a separate pay scale from aircraft mechanics and are paid significantly less than aircraft mechanics. Finally, the Carrier states that the IBT "itself seemed to have some question about the appropriateness of including GSE Mechanics in the aircraft mechanic class or craft, otherwise they would have included the GSE in the original organization petition."
The IBT contends that its certification of Frontier's Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class includes the GSE Mechanics and an accretion election is not necessary. The IBT states that the Board has traditionally included GSE Mechanics in the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. US Airways, Inc., 28 NMB 91 (2000); Federal Express Corp., 20 NMB 360 (1993); United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 134 (1977).
The Organization further states that GSE Mechanics share a work-related community of interest with Mechanics and Related Employees. The IBT concurs with the Carrier's description of GSE Mechanics' duties and notes that the common maintenance functions performed by both GSE Mechanics and aircraft mechanics create a work-related community of interest between the two groups. The IBT argues that the Board has repeatedly determined that the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class is not limited to aircraft mechanics. Federal Express Corp., above; Eastern Air Lines, Inc., 4 NMB 54 (1965).
FINDINGS OF LAW
Determination of the issues in this case is governed by the RLA, as amended, 45 U.S.C. § 151, et seq. Accordingly, the Board finds as follows:
Frontier 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.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On May 31, 2002, in response to the Board's request for job descriptions for the positions covered by the application, Frontier provided a position description for Ground Support Equipment Technician (GSE Technician).
According to the position description the essential functions of the position are:
Perform scheduled preventative maintenance on company ground equipment.
Perform complex repair on vehicles and aircraft support equipment, both electrical and mechanical.
Perform diagnostic procedures on vehicles and equipment to determine needed repairs.
Perform electrical diagnostics and repair on vehicles and equipment.
Perform welding repairs with MIG welding; stick welding, or acetylene gas welding.
Order, receive, and inventory parts and supplies.
Fuel and wash ground equipment as needed.
Report any heavy maintenance requirements to management and communicate as needed with contract maintenance personnel.
The position description lists the qualifications as follows:
High School Diploma or GED preferred.
Valid Driver's License required.
Two years technical accredited training.
The knowledge, skills and abilities listed on the position description are:
Minimum four years on the job experience as a vehicle technician.
Ability to interpret printed or computerized maintenance manuals.
Write legibly and complete forms/paperwork as required.
The Aircraft Maintenance Division at Frontier is composed of two groups: the aircraft mechanics and the tool room attendants. These positions are within the craft or class of Mechanics and Related Employees at Frontier. Frontier Airlines, Inc., 28 NMB 527 (2001). See also Frontier Airlines, Inc., 29 NMB 28 (2001) (accreting tool room attendants into Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class.)
According to the Carrier, GSE employees perform all maintenance and service on non-aircraft motorized vehicles, including tugs, belt loaders, trucks, golf carts and other motorized equipment. Frontier employs five GSE employees. There is no licensing requirement to be a GSE employee, however, GSE Mechanics receive pay premiums for any licenses and certifications. Typically, the GSE Mechanics have a master mechanic certification. Aircraft mechanics have several types of licenses including Airframe, Powerplant, FCC/Repairmen, Machinist and Welder.
GSE Mechanics are on duty for a single shift during the day. There is no cross-utilization of mechanics between GSE employees and aircraft mechanics. Aircraft mechanics at Frontier have daily schedules with three shifts in order to provide 24-hour service.
The aircraft mechanics at Frontier are within the Aircraft Maintenance Division. GSE Mechanics are within the Customer Service & Station Operations Division at Frontier. The pay range for GSE employees at Frontier is from $13.91 to $20.39 per hour. An aircraft mechanic with an Airframe and Powerplant license is paid between $16.65 and $23.47 per hour. Tool Room Attendants at Frontier are paid between $11.21 and $15.80 per hour.
I. Proper Craft or Class
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. United Air Lines, Inc., 28 NMB 533 (2001); 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 Servs., Inc., 25 NMB 96 (1997); Airborne Express, Inc., 9 NMB 115 (1981). The Board makes craft or class determinations on a carrier by carrier basis, based upon 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 in numerous decisions. US Airways, Inc., 28 NMB 104 (2000); United Parcel Serv. Co., 27 NMB 3 (1999); Allegheny Airlines, Inc., 26 NMB 487 (1999). It is well established that ground service employees are within the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. In United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 134 (1977), the Board, quoting National Airlines Inc., 1 NMB 423, 428-29 (1947), described the composition of the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class:
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.
The Board has further stated, "[t]he 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 . . . ." Eastern Air Lines, Inc., 4 NMB 54, 63 (1965) (emphasis added). See also US Airways, above; Federal Express Corp., 20 NMB 360 (1993).
The Board's broad discretion to determine the manner in which it conducts investigations in representation disputes was upheld conclusively in Railway Clerks v. Ass'n for the Benefit of Non-Contract Employees, 380 U.S. 650 (1965). The Court held that in determining choice of employee representative, the Railway Labor Act "leaves the details to the broad discretion of the Board with only the caveat that it 'insure' freedom from carrier interference." Id. at 669.
In Ross Aviation, Inc., 22 NMB 89 (1994), the Board dismissed the Organization's application, stating that an election was unnecessary because the employees at issue were already covered by Board certification. Since then, the Board has consistently followed this policy when it finds that particular job functions are traditionally performed by members of a certified craft or class. US Airways, 28 NMB 50 (2000); United Airlines, Inc., 25 NMB 365 (1998); United Parcel Serv., 25 NMB 326 (1998); Long Island Rail Road, 24 NMB 664 (1997).
The record establishes that GSE Mechanics are responsible for performing preventative maintenance and repairs on Frontiers' ground equipment. As found by the Board in United Airlines, Inc., 6 NMB 134, 135 (1977), "employees who perform work consisting of repairs, alterations, additions to and maintenance of buildings, hangars, and the repair, maintenance and operation of related equipment . . . ." are part of the Mechanics and Related Employees craft or class. Applying the rationale in United Airlines to the present case, the Board finds that Frontier's GSE Mechanics share a work-related community of interest with Mechanics and Related Employees.
The Board finds that Frontier's GSE Mechanics are covered by the certification in NMB Case No. R-6823. As there is no basis for further investigation, File No. CR-6753 is converted to NMB Case No. R-6899 and dismissed.
By direction of the NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD.
Benetta M. Mansfield
Chief of Staff
Roland Wilder, Esq.
Douglas G. Whetstine
1. 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.