United States Department of the Navy, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, San Diego, California (Petitioner/Activity) and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 726, District 725, AFL-CIO (Petitioner/Exclusive Representative) and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 16, AFL-CIO & Clc (Petitioner/Exclusive Representative) and Professional Engineers and Scientists Organization, Local 777, IFPTE, AFL-CIO & Clc (Exclusive Representative) and National Association of Government Employees, Local R12-35 (Exclusive Representative) and National Association of Aeronautical Examiners, Local 5 (Exclusive Representative) and National Association of Government Employees, Local R12-33 (Exclusive Representative) and National Association of Government Inspectors, Unit 8 (Exclusive Representative) and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1399, AFL-CIO (Exclusive Representative)

[ v63 p245 ]

63 FLRA No. 90

UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHWEST
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
(Petitioner/Activity)

and

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF MACHINISTS AND
AEROSPACE WORKERS
LOCAL LODGE 726, DISTRICT 725, AFL-CIO
(Petitioner/Exclusive Representative)

and

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION
OF PROFESSIONAL AND
TECHNICAL ENGINEERS
LOCAL 16, AFL-CIO & CLC
(Petitioner/Exclusive Representative)

and

PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS
AND SCIENTISTS ORGANIZATION
LOCAL 777, IFPTE, AFL-CIO & CLC
(Exclusive Representative)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL R12-35
(Exclusive Representative)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF AERONAUTICAL EXAMINERS
LOCAL 5
(Exclusive Representative)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL R12-33
(Exclusive Representative)

and

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF GOVERNMENT INSPECTORS
UNIT 8
(Exclusive Representative)

[ v63 p246 ] and

AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
LOCAL 1399, AFL-CIO
(Exclusive Representative)

SF-RP-08-0031
SF-RP-08-0040
SF-RP-09-0001

_____

ORDER DENYING
APPLICATION FOR REVIEW

April 21, 2009

_____

Before the Authority: Carol Waller Pope, Chairman and
Thomas M. Beck, Member

I.     Statement of the Case

      This case is before the Authority on an application for review filed by the National Association of Government Employees, Local R12-35 (NAGE) under § 2422.31 of the Authority's Regulations. [n1]  None of the parties filed an opposition to the Union's application for review.

      As relevant here, as the result of a reorganization within the United States Department of the Navy (DoN), bargaining unit employees within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, California (NAVFAC Southwest) were transferred to the Naval Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, San Diego, California (FRCSW). The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 726, District 725, AFL-CIO (IAMAW), the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 16, AFL-CIO & CLC (IFPTE), and FRCSW filed petitions seeking to clarify the bargaining unit status of the affected employees. As relevant here, the RD determined that the employees represented by NAGE accreted into the existing units represented by IAMAW and IFPTE.

      As explained below, we deny NAGE's application for review.

II.     Background and RD's Decision

A.     Background

      The DoN directed the creation of a headquarters organization and six Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs), including the FRCSW. The purpose of the change was "to consolidate intermediate and depot aircraft maintenance activities into one organization." RD's Decision at 7. On October 1, 2006, all six FRC Commanders took administrative -- but not operational -- control of their respective FRCs. Administrative control involved changing the reporting structure to the FRCSW Commander and integration of budget, military, and other issues: operational control involved completing the official paperwork changing the name and mission of the organizations, and the actual realignment of naval activities. Id.

      NAGE is the certified representative of a unit of nonprofessional NAVFAC Southwest employees whose duty station is Point Loma, California. NAVFAC Southwest is headed by a Commanding Officer who has authority over working conditions and labor relations for employees of NAVFAC Southwest. Prior to September 2007, NAVFAC Southwest included the Technical Services Group at Point Loma, California (TAG). On September 30, 2007, TAG was transferred to the Naval Air Depot North Island, North Island, California (NADEP NI) and became Code 975. NADEP NI subsequently became FRCSW. [n2]  The area of control for FRCSW includes organizations throughout California in Point Loma, North Island, Point Mugu, Miramar, Pendleton, and Yuma. Id. at 7.

      [ v63 p247 ] As a result of the transfer of Code 975 to FRCSW, 54 employees represented by NAGE were realigned to FRCSW. Most of the transferred employees held wage grade positions, such as machinist, model maker, electronics mechanic, sheet metal mechanic, and welder. At the time of the transfer, IAMAW represented over 1300 wage grade employees at FRCSW, many of whom hold positions such as machinist, electronics mechanic, sheet metal mechanic, model maker, and welder. RD's Decision at 8. The Code 975 employees also include one general schedule production controller, two WD production shop planners, and one general schedule management assistant. At the time of the transfer, IFPTE represented approximately 150 planner and estimators and production controllers at FRCSW and approximately 470 general schedule employees, including staff holding positions such as management analyst, administrative support assistant, and management and program assistant. Id.

      FRCSW is headed by a Commanding Officer and is divided into a "program side" and a "competency side." Id. at 8. As relevant here, the competency side is managed by the head of Industrial Operations and Resource Management (IORM), who reports directly to the Commanding Officer. The competency side focuses on assisting production, including human capital and labor relations issues. Competency is responsible for, among other things, establishing and administering the Performance Appraisal Review System and providing all administrative support for filing and initiating requests for personnel actions, disciplinary actions, grievance resolutions, and incentive awards. Id.

      Within the IORM is the Industrial Production Department, or Total Force Management (TFM). TFM is responsible for "all human capital issues associated with FRCSW, including hiring, dealing with labor relations issues, training, the discipline program, and employee relations programs from a line management standpoint[.]" Id. at 8-9. As relevant here, TFM's area of responsibility includes the employees of Code 975. TFM staff write disciplinary letters for supervisors; assist supervisors in preparing written grievance responses; and are directly involved in grievances once they become formal at the second step. Id. at 9. TFM "signs off" on all formal grievances and actually decides grievances and disciplinary actions, including removals. Id. The TFM Director and staff hold disciplinary status meetings every two weeks to ensure consistency across FRCSW. Further, the TFM Director or staff is involved in negotiations with the various unions.

      Code 975 is headed by a plant supervisor who does not have authority to change working conditions at Point Loma without coordinating with his production supervisor at North Island and involving TFM. Evidence at the hearing revealed that, although informal grievances for Code 975 start at Point Loma, the formal grievances at step two and any negotiations with the unions are handled at North Island by TFM. Disciplinary actions are handled by TFM, including disciplinary letters, and final disciplinary decisions. Id. Thus, responsibility for final disciplinary decisions, formal grievances, and negotiations lies above the level of the Code 975 plant supervisor and is coordinated by management at North Island, and not at Point Loma. Id.

      The positions held by Code 975 employees are similar to, or the same as, those of other FRCSW employees. Id. In this regard, Code 975 employees are "doing the same type of work [they] did prior to the realignment, with a little more of the work coming from North Island." RD's Decision at 9. The work of FRCSW employees at North Island involves manufacturing aircraft parts and performing sheet metal work. Code 975 employees perform similar work, but on a smaller scale, building missile tubes, launching tube cases, and performing other sheet metal work. Both divisions service external customers. About five to ten percent of the work performed by Code 975 employees comes directly from FRCSW. Id. The rest of the work comes from outside customers. Since the transfer, Code 975 employees at Point Loma and FRCSW employees at North Island sometimes work together in order to accomplish certain tasks and there is "some interaction" among the employees. Id.

      Since the transfer, Code 975 employees have become subject to different administrative and management policies and processes that are consistent with FRCSW. In this regard, since the transfer, Code 975 employees must list work items in an Individual Qualification Record (IQR) log book before they can begin to repair items. Id. at 9-10. Code 975 employees are also now subject to PACE, the day-to-day attendance record system that tracks attendance, annual leave, sick leave, and leave balances for each employee. FRCSW also implemented procedures and protocol for absences and late reporting for duty. Code 975 is also now subject to the "more aggressive" safety program of FRCSW. Id. at 10.

      In addition to implementing new policies for the Code 975 bargaining unit employees, FRCSW, through its upper management, is directly overseeing the work of Code 975 and will intervene if projects are not being accomplished within allotted time frames and are not on schedule for required delivery dates. Id. Further, Code 975 does not have a separate budget from FRCSW and [ v63 p248 ] all of Code 975's funding goes through the FRC Comptroller's Office, rather than the Naval Facilities' Comptroller. Id.

      Code 975 employees are in the same competitive area for promotion as other FRCSW employees and are covered by the same promotion program. The area of consideration for vacancies varies, but when a vacancy is internal to FRCSW, then it includes Code 975 employees. One difference between Code 975 employees and the other FRCSW employees at North Island is that they have a four days per week, ten hours per day (4/10) alternative work schedule. Id. However, employees at Point Mugu have a similar schedule.

      As relevant here, in Case No. SF-RP-08-0031, IAMAW filed a petition seeking a decision that the wage grade Code 975 employees duty stationed at Point Loma had accreted into its existing unit of wage grade employees at North Island. Id. at 2, 3. As relevant here, in Case No. SF-RP-08-0040, IFPTE filed a petition seeking a decision that: (1) the one general schedule management assistant of Code 975 who is duty stationed at Point Loma had accreted into its existing general schedule unit; and (2) the two production shop planners and the one production controller of Code 975 who are duty stationed at Point Loma had accreted into its existing unit of planner and estimators and production controllers at North Island. Id. at 2-4. Further, in Case No. SF-RP-09-0001, FRCSW filed a petition seeking to clarify the unit status of all employees of FRCSW.

      Before the RD, NAGE claimed that the Code 975 employees at Point Loma did not accrete into the units represented by IAMAW or IFPTE, but rather, that FRCSW is a successor employer to these employees. Thus, NAGE argued that it should be certified as the exclusive representative of a unit of employees of Code 975 who are duty stationed at Point Loma.

B.     RD's Decision

      Based on the parties' claims, the RD applied the legal framework set forth in United States Department of the Navy, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, Norfolk, Virginia, 52 FLRA 950, 958-59 (1997) (FISC) for resolving competing claims of successorship and accretion in cases arising out of a reorganization where employees are transferred to a pre-existing or newly established organization. Applying FISC, the RD first considered whether, as argued by NAGE, the Code 975 employees continue to constitute a separate appropriate unit "in the gaining organization under [§] 7112(a) of the [Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute)]." RD's Decision at 14 (citing FISC, 52 FLRA 950).

      In determining whether the NAGE unit constituted a separate appropriate unit, the RD considered whether the unit would: (1) ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among the employees in the unit; (2) promote effective dealings with FRCSW; and (3) promote the efficiency of FRCSW's operations. See id. (citing FISC, 52 FLRA at 959). The RD further noted that all three criteria must be satisfied in order for a proposed unit to be appropriate. See id. (citing FISC, 52 FLRA at 961).

      In assessing the community of interest criterion, the RD found that the Code 975 employees have become administratively and organizationally integrated into FRCSW. Id. at 15. In this regard, the RD found that the Code 975 employees no longer report to the NAVFAC Southwest Commander; they now report through a new chain of command to the FRCSW Commanding Officer. Under this new chain of command, the RD found that Code 975 employees are now: subject to the same personnel and general policies set by the FRCSW Commanding Officer; compensated from the FRCSW budget managed by the FRCSW Comptroller; and serviced by the same human resources organization, TFM, that services all FRCSW employees. Id. The RD further found that decisions related to personnel and labor relations are now handled at the level above Point Loma. Similarly, formal grievances, disciplinary actions, and negotiations are now handled by TFM, and not by the local management at Point Loma. Id.

      Further, the RD found that evidence of integration into FRSCW was also demonstrated by: implementation of FRSCW policies, such as IQRS and PACE at Code 975; the FRCSW safety office working with Code 975 to bring its safety program into alignment with FRCSW; awards having to be approved above the level of Code 975 management and the money coming out of the general award budget for all production employees; weekly meetings with the Code 975 plant supervisor and upper management to monitor all Code 975 projects; TFM working on certifying employees of Code 975 so that more work can be transferred; and the TFM Director and staff holding disciplinary status meetings every two weeks to ensure consistency across FRCSW. Id. According to the RD, "[t]he only evidence" of a difference in working conditions between Code 975 employees and other FRCSW employees was that Code 975 employees worked a 4/10 alternative work schedule. Id. In addition, the RD found that the majority of Code 975 and FRCSW employees perform similar maintenance functions and hold similar positions, [ v63 p249 ] and that there is some interaction between Code 975 and other FRCSW and evidence of the two groups of employees working together to complete jobs.

      The RD found that all of the above factors indicate that the Code 975 employees do not share an identifiable community of interest that is separate and distinct from other FRCSW employees. Id. at 15-16 (citing United States Dep't of the Navy, Naval Facilities Eng'g Command, Se., Jacksonville, Fla., 62 FLRA 480 (2008) (NAVFAC Jacksonville); FISC, 52 FLRA at 964-65).

      With respect to the second appropriate unit criterion, the RD concluded that a unit of only Code 975 employees at Point Loma would not promote effective dealings with FRCSW. Id. at 16. The RD found that the locus and scope of authority for personnel and labor relations is at the FRCSW level and not at the Point Loma level. In this regard, the RD found that labor relations policy is set at the FRCSW level and FRCSW and its employees receive additional human resources support from the same entities. Further, the RD found that having the Code 975 wage grade employees separate from the other 1300 wage grade employees of FRCSW would not promote effective dealings. The RD similarly found that separating the one general schedule employee from the other 470 FRCSW general schedule employees, and the three Code 975 production controllers and shop planners from the other 150 production controllers and shop planners, would not promote effective dealings. Id.

      With respect to the third appropriate unit criterion, the RD found that a separate unit of only Code 975 employees at Point Loma would not promote the efficiency of FRCSW's operations. In this regard, the RD found that "a unit structure that separates out a group of employees based solely on their geographic location does not bear a rational relationship to the operational and organizational structure of FRCSW[.]" Id. at 17. Further, the RD found no evidence that separating out the Code 975 employees at Point Loma would result in economic savings and increased productivity to FRCSW. To the contrary, the RD found that a separate unit of Code 975 employees would result in "unwarranted fragmentation based on geography when previous units were based on types of positions regardless of geography." Id. (citing NAVFAC Jacksonville, 62 FLRA at 488).

      Based on the foregoing, the RD concluded that the Code 975 employees were "not included in, and did not constitute a majority of employees in, a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization." Id. at 17. Having determined that the NAGE unit was no longer appropriate, the RD considered whether the disputed employees accreted into the IAMAW and IFPTE units and found that they had. Id. at 17-18.

III.     Application for Review

      NAGE argues that "established law or policy warrants reconsideration" of the RD's decision finding that the Code 975 employees were accreted into the existing units represented by IAMAW and IFPTE. Application for Review at 1. NAGE further argues that the RD "did not consider facts that would weigh in . . . favor of finding a unit of Code 975 employees located at Point Loma an appropriate unit [under the] FISC analysis." Id. In this respect, NAGE alleges that, although a unit of all Code 975 employees at Point Loma may not constitute the most appropriate unit, it is an appropriate unit and the Authority should review the RD's decision applying the principle set forth in Department of the Navy, Naval Supply Center, Puget Sound, Bremerton, Washington, 53 FLRA 173, 178-79 (1997) (Bremerton). Id. at 3

      NAGE further argues that the RD misapplied the appropriate unit factors under § 7112(a) of the Statute. With respect to community of interest, NAGE contends that the Code 975 employees at Point Loma share an identifiable community of interest that is separate and distinct from other FRCSW employees. In this regard, NAGE argues the following: the Code 975 employees "collectively market themselves out as a group with a brochure and a flyer [that] they created for themselves"; although five to ten percent of the Code 975 work comes from FRCSW, ninety percent of it comes from customers that are separate from FRCSW's customers; and Code 975 is "technically sound" and "performs more specialized tasks" than FRCSW. Id. at 4. According to NAGE, the RD failed to consider that the Code 975 employees at Point Loma are a "self-sufficient group with distinct customers [and] a separate marketing plan" who perform specialized tasks on an emergency basis. Id. at 5.

      NAGE also argues that a separate unit of Code 975 employees would promote effective dealings with FRCSW because NAGE has represented these employees for at least 20 years and NAGE representatives have an "existing relationship with the first[-]line supervisors [that] took years to develop[.]" Id. at 5. According to NAGE, that first-line supervisors now consult TFM, rather than some other human resource office, is of no consequence because the same laws and collective bargaining agreements would continue to apply to the employees if successorship were found.

      [ v63 p250 ] Referring to the specialized nature of the Code 975 employees' work, NAGE further argues that keeping the Code 975 employees in a separate unit advances the efficiency of FRCSW's operations because it allows the employees "to maintain their identity as a technically-sound, self[-]sufficient group, rather than forcing them into a larger bargaining unit where their specialized nature is lost." Id. at 6. According to NAGE, a separate unit of Code 975 employees will increase the employees' productivity and save the FRCSW money. Id.

      Finally, NAGE asserts that accreting Code 975 employees at Point Loma into the existing units represented by IAMAW and IFPTE is inappropriate because the affected employees want to be represented by NAGE and IAMAW and IFPTE are rivals of NAGE. Id. at 6-7. According to NAGE, accretion is inappropriate because the NAGE unit remains appropriate. Id. at 7.

IV.     Analysis and Conclusions

      Based on the substance of NAGE's arguments, we construe its assertions that established law warrants reconsideration and that the RD misapplied the appropriate unit criteria as a claim that the RD failed to apply established law. See, e.g., Nat'l Credit Union, Admin, 61 FLRA 349, 351 (2005) (where agency argued that "established law warrants reconsideration," the Authority, based upon the substance of the agency's arguments, construed the assertion as a claim that the RD failed to apply the established law).

      In FISC, the Authority adopted the following framework for resolving cases arising from a reorganization where employees are transferred to a pre-existing or newly established organization (the "gaining organization") and both successorship and accretion principles are claimed to apply:

(1)     Initially, the Authority will determine whether, under [§] 7112(a) of the Statute, the transferred employees are included in, and constitute a majority of, a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization. The outcome of this inquiry will govern whether successorship or accretion principles should next be applied.
(2)     If it is determined that the transferred employees are included in and constitute a majority of a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization, [then] the Authority will apply the remainder of the successorship factors set forth in [Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center, Port Hueneme, California, 50 FLRA 363 (1995) (Port Hueneme)] to the unit determined to be appropriate. The outcome of the Port Hueneme analysis will determine whether the gaining organization is a successor for purposes of collective bargaining with the labor organization that represented the transferred employees at their previous employer.
(3)     If it is determined that the transferred employees are not included in or do not constitute a majority of a separate appropriate unit in the gaining organization, [then the Authority] will apply accretion principles. The outcome of this analysis will determine whether the transferred employees have accreted to a pre-existing unit in the gaining organization.

Def. Logistics Agency, Def. Supply Ctr. Columbus, Columbus, Ohio, 53 FLRA 1114, 1121 (1998) (DSC, Columbus) (citing Bremerton, 53 FLRA at 178-79; FISC, 52 FLRA at 958-59).

      The first step in this framework "corresponds to the first factor set forth in Port Hueneme, which requires, inter alia, that `the post-transfer unit must be appropriate[.]'" FISC, 52 FLRA at 959 (quoting Port Hueneme, 50 FLRA at 368). As stated by the RD, a unit may be deemed to be appropriate under § 7112(a) of the Statute only if it will: (1) ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest among the employees in the unit; (2) promote effective dealings with the agency involved; and (3) promote efficiency of the operations of the agency involved. Id. at 959-62. A proposed unit must meet all three criteria in order to be found appropriate. United States Dep't of the Army, Military Traffic Mgmt. Command, Alexandria, Va., 60 FLRA 390, 394 (2004) (Military Traffic Mgmt. Command). Determinations as to each of these criteria are made on a case-by-case basis. Id. The Authority has set out factors for assessing each criterion, but has not specified the weight of individual factors or a particular number of factors necessary to establish an appropriate unit. Id.

      With regard to the first appropriate unit criterion -- whether employees share a clear and identifiable community of interest -- the Authority examines such factors as geographic proximity, unique conditions of employment, distinct local concerns, degree of interchange between other organizational components, and functional or operational separation. See FISC, 52 FLRA at 961 (citations omitted). In addition, the Authority considers factors such as whether the employees in the proposed unit are a part of the same organizational component of the agency; support the same [ v63 p251 ] mission; are subject to the same chain of command; have similar or related duties, job titles and work assignments; are subject to the same general working conditions; and are governed by the same personnel office. See id. at 960-61.

      NAGE argues that the Code 975 employees at Point Loma share an identifiable community of interest that is separate and distinct from other FRCSW employees. In this regard, NAGE argues that the Code 975 employees market themselves out as a group with a brochure, that ninety percent of their work comes from sources outside FRCSW, and that viewing these employees as part of the IAMAW and IFPTE units of FRCSW employees "erases their identity as a specialized group." Application for Review at 4. NAGE asserts that Code 975 is "technically sound" and "performs more specialized tasks" than FRCSW. Id.

      However, considering the factors set forth above that the Authority examines when determining whether employees share a community of interest, the RD found that the Code 975 employees were administratively and organizationally integrated into FRCSW. RD's Decision at 15. In this regard, the RD found that the Code 975 now report to the FRCSW Commanding Officer; are subject to the same personnel and general policies set by the FRCSW Commanding Officer; are compensated from the FRCSW budget managed by the FRCSW Comptroller; and are serviced by the same human resources organization, TFM, that services all FRCSW employees. Id. Further, as the RD found, decisions related to personnel and labor relations are now handled at the level above Point Loma; disciplinary actions, formal grievances, and negotiations are now handled by TFM, not by local management at Point Loma. Id.

      NAGE's assertions do not dispute the RD's findings, and do not demonstrate that the RD inappropriately applied the community of interest criterion because they do not establish that Code 975 employees: have duties that are different from those of the other FRCSW employees; report to a different chain of command than other FRCSW employees; are subject to different working conditions, organizational components, or job titles than other FRCSW employees; and support a different mission than other FRCSW employees. See FISC, 52 FLRA at 960-61.

      Based on the foregoing, NAGE has not demonstrated that the RD failed to apply established law in finding that the Code 975 employees do not share a clear and identifiable community of interest separate and distinct from other FRCSW employees. [n3] 

      In assessing the effective dealings criterion, the Authority examines such factors as the past collective bargaining experience of the parties; the locus and scope of authority of the responsible personnel office administering personnel policies covering employees in the proposed unit, the limitations, if any on the negotiation of matters of critical concern to the employees in the proposed unit; and the level at which labor relations is set by the agency. FISC, 52 FLRA at 961.

      As set forth previously, the RD found that NAGE's representation of the Code 975 employees would not promote effective dealings with the FRCSW because the locus and scope of authority for personnel and labor relations is at the FRCSW level, and not at the Point Loma level. In support of this conclusion, the RD found that labor relations policy is set at the FRCSW level and FRCSW and its employees receive additional human resources support from the same entities. Further, the RD found that having Code 975 wage grade employees separate from the other 1300 wage grade employees of FRCSW would not promote effective dealings. Similarly, the RD found that separating the one general schedule employee from the other 470 FRCSW general schedule employees, and the three Code 975 production controllers and shop planners from the other 150 production controllers and shop planners, would not promote effective dealings. RD's Decision at 16. Thus, the RD's findings support his conclusion that allowing NAGE to represent a separate unit of Code 975 employees at Point Loma would not promote effective dealings with FRCSW.

      NAGE alleges that, as it has represented the Code 975 employees for at least 20 years, it is the best qualified Union to represent them. Application for Review at 5. However, NAGE fails to establish that the RD incorrectly applied the elements set forth above for analyzing the effective dealings criteria. Although NAGE may have been involved in collective bargaining with the Code 975 employees in the past, the labor relations functions including human resources, grievances, and negotiations for Code 975 employees at Point Loma are now handled at the FRCSW through TFM and not at the [ v63 p252 ] Point Loma level. Thus, the RD's findings support his conclusion that allowing NAGE to represent a separate unit of Code 975 employees at Point Loma would not promote effective dealings with FRCSW.

      The efficiency of agency operations criterion concerns the benefits to be derived from a unit structure bearing a rational relationship to the operations and organizational structure of the agency. See FISC, 52 FLRA at 961. NAGE asserts that allowing the Code 975 employees to remain in a separate unit represented by NAGE advances the efficiency of FRCSW's operations because it allows the employees to "maintain their identity as a technically-sound, self[-]sufficient group, rather than forcing them into a larger bargaining unit where their specialized nature is lost." Application for Review at 6. NAGE argues that allowing the Code 975 employees to remain in a separate unit will increase their productivity and save the FRCSW money. Id.

      The RD found that a separate unit of only Code 975 employees at Point Loma would not promote the efficiency of FRCSW's operations because it does not bear a rational relationship to the operational and organizational structure of FRCSW. Further, a separate unit determination would not result in economic savings and increased productivity to FRCSW and would result in unwarranted fragmentation. RD's Decision at 17. NAGE alleges, without elaboration, that a separate unit of Code 975 employees would result in increased productivity and economic savings for FRCSW. However, this bare assertion is not sufficient to support such a claim nor does it overcome the RD's finding of unit fragmentation. See NAVFAC Jacksonville, 62 FLRA at 487-88. Thus, the RD's findings support his conclusion that allowing a separate unit of only Code 975 employees at Point Loma would not promote the efficiency of FRCSW's operations.

      Based on the foregoing, the RD correctly applied established law in determining that the Code 975 employees at Point Loma do not constitute a separate appropriate unit under § 7112. Accordingly, we find that NAGE has not established that the RD failed to apply established law and deny NAGE's application for review. [n4] 

V.     Order

      The application for review is denied.



Footnote # 1 for 63 FLRA No. 90 - Authority's Decision

   Section 2422.31 of the Authority's Regulations provides, in pertinent part:

(c) Review. The Authority may grant an application for review only when the application demonstrates that review is warranted on one or more of the following grounds:
(1)     The decision raises an issue for which there is an absence of precedent;
(2)     Established law or policy warrants reconsideration; or,
(3)     There is a genuine issue over whether the Regional Director has:
     (i) Failed to apply established law;
     (ii) Committed a prejudicial procedural error;
     (iii) Committed a clear and prejudicial error concerning a substantial factual matter.

Footnote # 2 for 63 FLRA No. 90 - Authority's Decision

   On March 14, 2008, NADEP NI was officially renamed FRCSW and the NADEP NI employees became FRCSW employees. See id. at 10, 11. Since administrative control of NADEP NI had been given to FRCSW prior to the official transfer, the RD uses the terms NADEP NI and FRCSW interchangeably. Id. at 7 n.1. Here, we will use only the term FRCSW, even where NADEP NI had not yet been operationally transferred to FRCSW.


Footnote # 3 for 6