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ASSOCIATION, (Aircraft rescue and 	)
fire fighting specialists), 		)
	Petitioner, 			)
vs. 					)
	Respondent, 			)
and, 					)
AFL-CIO, 				)
	Intervenor. 			)
_____________________________		)
CASE NO. 94-310-RD


This case was heard on March 8 and 10, 1995, before a panel of the Alaska Labor Relations Agency, with board members Stuart H. Bowdoin, Jr., and Karen J. Mahurin, participating at the hearing, and board member James W. Elliott, participating on the basis of a review of the record. Hearing examiner Jan Hart DeYoung presided. The record closed on March 10, 1995.


James A. Gasper, Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens, P.C., for petitioner Public Safety Employees Association; Art Chance, labor relations analyst, for respondent State of Alaska; and Don Clocksin, attorney, for intervenor Alaska State Employees Association, AFSCME Local 52, AFL-CIO.


The petitioner has not demonstrated either (1) that aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists share a community of interest with the regularly commissioned public safety officers unit and are appropriate to include in the RCPSO unit; or (2) that the representation the specialists receive from their current representative is inadequate.


A hearing was conducted on March 8 and 10, 1995, at which the parties presented testimony and other evidence. Upon consideration of the record, the Agency finds the facts as follows:

Findings of Fact

1. The Public Safety Employees Association (PSEA) is the recognized bargaining representative of the members of the regularly commissioned public safety officers’ unit (RCPSO) employed by respondent State of Alaska.

2. PSEA was first recognized in 1979 as a unit of fully commissioned State troopers. In 1987 the unit was expanded to include the airport safety officers(ASOs). All PSEA members are classified for purposes of strike eligibility as Class 1, ineligible. There are approximately 350 troopers and 80 ASOs and PSEA divides the bargaining unit into the trooper and ASO chapters. The unit also includes the job classes court service officers, who are in the troopers’ chapter, and the job classes constable, investigator, demolition specialist, security specialist, and the deputy fire marshals. PSEA/State Agreement (1990-1991), Exh. 106.

3. PSEA seeks to sever from the general government unit and add to its RCPSO unit approximately 10 aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists employed at the Kulis Air National Guard Base under the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Petition (May 25, 1994), Exh. 108; M. Deppner Memo. to P. Arnaud (Feb. 8, 1995)(listing specialists), Exh. 101, at 2.

4. The aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists currently are in the general government unit represented by the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA).

5. ASEA is the representative of the general government unit, which consists of a broad range of positions, from clerical employees, professionals such as nurses and engineers, and a variety of other job classes, covering all strike classifications in AS 23.40.200. Approximately 2000-2500 employees in the unit are classified as Class 1, ineligible to strike.

6. The job class aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialist, which was first called crash/rescue specialist, was created in 1990. Exhs. 2 & 33.

7. The class specification for aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialist I-IV states that the positions perform or lead aircraft rescue and fire fighting safety functions at Kulis Air National Guard Base and assist personnel at the Anchorage International Airport next to the base. Exh. 2, at 1.

8. Ronald J. Adams, assistant fire chief of operations on the B shift and one of the first of the specialists hired in 1990, described their work and responsibilities. The specialists are assigned to work at Kulis Air National Guard base and serve mainly as a rescue team for occupants of military aircraft. They also respond first to fires in structures at Kulis and perform fire fighting and rescue operations at the Anchorage International Airport. See Anchorage Area Mutual Aid Agreement, Exh. 5. The Kulis fire station is located about 700-800 feet off of runway 6 of the Anchorage International Airport so the Kulis specialists are in a good position to respond to emergencies there. The specialists operate a crash truck, see e.g., Exhs. 8 & 9, hoses and other equipment. They are trained first to establish a rescue path. Their first priority is to mitigate the situation to save lives, which usually involves attacking the fire with water.

9. Adams states that he responds to about 30 in-flight emergencies per month. Of those, only one or two might involve military aircraft. The bulk of the emergencies involve civilian aircraft. Common problems include hydraulic problems or one engine being out. A class 1 alert means a concern exists about a crash; class 2 means that a crash is likely; and class 3 means that a crash has occurred. Adams has had to respond to several class 3 alert incidents, usually involving small frame civilian aircraft.

10. The journey level aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialist functions as an airfield and structural fire fighter at installations where the facilities, equipment, and operating activities present very complex and highly hazardous fire fighting situations. Exh. 2, at 1; see also Exh. 102, at 1. The hazards include work around large volumes of fuel and highly flammable cargo. Id., at 2. The specialists must drive and operate rescue and fire fighting equipment, including hatch release mechanisms, oxygen supply systems, engines, and ejection systems. They must enter wrecked or burning aircraft or structures to rescue military personnel or commercial aircraft passengers and administer emergency first aid. The specialists must be members of the Alaska Air National Guard and meet the medical and physical fitness requirements required by the National Fire Protection Association. They must satisfy a background check and obtain federal secret security clearance. Id., at 6. They receive specialized training in aircraft rescue fire fighting similar to that required for holders of airport operating certificates. Federal aviation programs for training of aircraft rescue and fire fighting personnel (Mar. 9, 1994), Exh. 4. They are trained in hazardous materials response. See also Position description questionnaire for 090208 (Ronald J. Adams), Exhs. 3 & 103; Position description questionnaire for 090203 (Donald E. Gee, Jr.), Exhs. 5 & 105; Position description questionnaire for 090207 (Barry D. Clark), Exh. 104; Recruitment bulletin (Dec. 13, 1993), Exh. 37.

11. The duties are similar to those described for airport safety officers(ASOs) in the Fairbanks airport emergency control plan and in an ASO position description, although there are differences. Exhs. 15 (part of Fairbanks airport emergency control plan) & 16 (part of a PDQ); see also State of Alaska, Airport Certification Manual (may be outdated), Exh. 13. The fire fighting responsibilities and tools are very similar and the uniforms worn when assigned to fire fighting duties are similar. Work as an ASO can qualify a person, in part, to work as a rescue and fire fighting specialist at Kulis. Exh. 2, at 5.

12. The training of ASOs and the Kulis specialists is similar, although there are differences. Kulis specialists and Airport safety officers receive an 80-hour crash, fire, and rescue course and one year of on the job training. Most receive emergency medical training. The ASOs have training to use firearms. The Kulis specialists have some training with firearms such as the M-16 as part of their Air National Guard membership but they do not receive weapons training to perform law enforcement duties. The Kulis specialists are not trained in law enforcement and, unlike the ASOs, the specialists are eligible to attend extensive United States Air Force training. Id., at 1. Adams stated that the ASOs do not receive some of the same training in rescue operations as the Kulis specialists.

13. The key difference between the aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialist and the airport safety officer positions is the ASOs’ law enforcement duties. Id. ASOs do police work. Unlike the ASOs the Kulis specialists are not required to take a polygraph test or be certified by the police standards council. The Kulis specialists do not engage in any law enforcement duties. There are also differences between the Kulis specialists and the ASOs’ fire fighting responsibilities. Unlike the ASOs, the Kulis specialists do not perform water rescue or transport the injured. The Kulis specialists are primarily a rescue crew that is trained in fire suppression. Fire fighting must begin before the specialists can begin a rescue operation. If the specialists are first on the scene they will begin the fire suppression. The ASOs will take over and the specialists become a rescue unit.

14. For the ASOs the division between fire fighting and law enforcement duties ranges between 40-60 percent fire fighting and 50-70 percent law enforcement. See e.g., February 26, 1995, work schedule, Exh. 12 (Anchorage); Tentative duty roster (Feb. 16--Mar. 15, 1995), Exh. 14 (Anchorage); February 1995 work schedule, Exh. 19 (Fairbanks).

15. Initially the State placed the specialists in the 30-year retirement plan, although since December 16, 1990, the State has classified the specialists as fire fighters under the 20-year retirement plan.

16. The Kulis specialist would come into contact with other Kulis employees such as clerical employees, custodial workers, and maintenance and warehouse supply workers, who are members of the general government unit represented by ASEA. ASEA represents a total of 81 employees at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The specialists also would have contact at the base with members of Public Employees Local 71. The Kulis specialists work closely with the airport safety officers in PSEA. The contact between the Kulis specialists and the ASOs at the Anchorage airport was described variously as daily and as ranging between contact two and three times a day to no contact for several weeks. However, they work side by side responding to emergencies and they train and drill together.

17. Other general government unit positions with fire suppression responsibilities include park rangers and forest technicians. Class specification park ranger, Exh. 119; Class specification forest technician, Exh. 120. Park rangers are assigned a number of duties, of which only one is the suppression of fires. These can include presentations to visitors and others, operation and maintenance of the parks, maintenance and construction of park structures, law enforcement activities, search and rescue activities and fire suppression, according to the class specification. Exh. 119. One park ranger stated, however, that he did not have the tools, training, or skills to fight a fire. Wild lands fire suppression is the principal responsibility of the forest technician class series. Exh. 120, at 3. The techniques and training for wild lands fires differ from those used for aircraft and structural fires. The tools can be different. The tools for wild land fires include shovels, hoses, and air drop, among others.

18. ASEA represents employees in addition to the Kulis specialists who regularly face hazards in the course of their duties as employees of the State. Corrections officers, adult and juvenile probation officers, Alaska Psychiatric Institute employees, and nursing home employees are several examples.

19. Kulis specialists work shifts and a 48-hour work week. ASEA represents other workers who work shifts or alternate work week schedules, such as corrections officers in the Department of Corrections and the security guards at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

20. The president of the Anchorage local of the International Association of Fire Fighters is Joseph W. Albrecht. He has worked as a fire fighter 17 years in Anchorage. He believes that fire fighters are unique due to factors including their work schedule and the hazards they face. He believes fire fighters should not be combined with other employees in collective bargaining units.

21. Ronald Adams was shop steward for his shift on the Kulis site until March 1, 1995. He is unhappy with ASEA’s representation on a number of issues of concern to the specialists at Kulis.

22. These issues include a grievance that the specialists were not being paid as strike ineligible (Class 1) employees under the contract. On February 14, 1991, ASEA business representative Penny Palmquist filed a grievance on this issue. Exh. 34. The grievance was denied at level one on February 22, 1991. Id. However, while the ASEA failed to establish a change in the strike class under the grievance procedures, it did obtain a change in strike class shortly after it filed a petition seeking that change with this Agency. ALRA case management file, Exh. 118. See ASEA/State Agreement (Jan. 21, 1993) (classifying crash rescue specialists as Class 1, effective February 1, 1993), Exh. 35.

23. Another issue is the 48-hour work week (37.5 plus 10.5 hours of overtime). Adams states the overtime the specialists work is a red flag issue for their federal funding source. Adams has attempted to work with ASEA business agents to obtain a change in the way pay is structured. A related issue is the fact that the Kulis specialists do not receive a shift differential under the contract.

24. Yet another work schedule issue is the disparate impact of holiday pay on the shifts, which ASEA is attempting to address in negotiations. Adams believes that, like the Anchorage fire fighters, all specialists should receive the same holiday pay regardless who works.

25. The specialists take issue with the fact that Air National Guard membership is a condition of employment. Because of this requirement, retirement from the guard would mean loss of employment as an aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialist.

26. Other concerns affect compensation and include hazard pay and a uniform allowance. Adams is aware of the separate scale negotiated for corrections officers and believes the Kulis specialists should have one as well. Adams also expressed a desire to bring the wages of the Kulis specialists to the level of the ASOs or the Anchorage Fire Department.

27. Many of the concerns expressed by Adams and other Kulis specialists are contract goals. ASEA has had some success addressing some of the shift or work schedule issues through letters of agreement with the State. Letter of Agreement (Mar. 3, 1993) (addressing work shifts), Exh. 114-4; Letter of Agreement (May. 28, 1993) (also addressing work weeks and shifts), Exh. 114-7; Letter of Agreement (June 15, 1993) (addressing work shifts), Exh. 114-9; Letter of Agreement (Oct. 5, 1993) (addressing holiday change), Exh. 114-10; see also Exh. 111.

28. ASEA is also trying to address these concerns in the negotiations for its successor agreement with the State. ASEA business agent Richard Seward is a cospokesperson for ASEA in the negotiations. Seward stated he had met with shop steward Ron Adams about bargaining interests for the Kulis aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists. Seward says that Adams was active in the preparation of the proposals made. Adams offered to present the issues during negotiations with the State and on at least one occasion made the presentation. Extract of bargaining notes, Exh. 112. Adams has also been present during negotiations.

29. Seward states that ASEA supports the specialists’ desire to work six-24 hour shifts in a 21-day period (a Kelly shift). The parties have exchanged bargaining proposals on shift issues. According to Seward the current problem in reaching agreement is sick and annual leave accrual and use. The Kulis specialists rejected the State’s proposal and ASEA is continuing to assert the specialists’ position. Other issues ASEA has asserted on behalf of the Kulis specialists include a clothing allowance for uniforms and removal of the requirement of membership in the National Guard. Overtime and the pay scale for these workers are also issues on the table. Seward represents the proposed pay scale for the specialists as a conservative proposal and a bargain for the State. Currently the specialists are on the GGU pay scale.

30. Seward estimates that he has spent in excess of 80 hours preparing for issues related to the Kulis specialists and probably 20 hours in actual negotiations, which he states is disproportionate to their numbers in the unit. Seward estimates that he has spent a total of 240 days in bargaining on the successor agreement.

31. Adams characterized the ASEA negotiators as very capable people, but because of the number of issues the specialists had, he thought it was prudent to get personally involved.

32. At the time of the hearing, one grievance was pending involving a Kulis specialist allegedly working out of job class.

33. In response to a notice from the fire chief that hours would be reduced to 37.5 hours per week due to a budget shortfall, the ASEA filed a complaint on February 23, 1993, with the office of safety and health in the Alaska Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards and Safety. Exh. 36. This complaint was filed at the request of the specialists as a strategy to avoid the impact of budget cuts.

34. ASEA has four business agents employed in Anchorage and each is responsible for approximately 1000-1200 employees in the unit.

35. Kulis specialists have had three business agents assigned to them since 1990 and Adams states he has spent a lot of time educating them. For a period ASEA did not assign a particular agent to Kulis. The Kulis specialists took a vote of no confidence against one of the agents. Kulis specialist Donald E. Gee, Jr., complained about the lack of responsiveness to telephone messages he left for the business agent assigned to them. Adams complained about the background and expertise of the agent on issues important to them to ASEA business manager Jenny Day Peterson. He requested a specific agent; Peterson denied the request.

36. The current ASEA business agent assigned to the Kulis base is David Burdette. He has been assigned to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which includes Kulis, for the past one and one-half years. His current assignment also includes the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Department of Corrections’ adult probation officers, Department of Public Safety, Department of Fish and Game, and Department of Commerce, and he is responsible for State employees in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and Kodiak Island. He has worked as a business agent for ASEA since October of 1991. Before that he was employed with the International in West Virginia for two years and was the president of a local and a shop steward before that.

37. Although Adams appears to be dissatisfied with the success rate ASEA has had with the matters it has pursued on behalf of the Kulis specialists, ASEA has apparently pursued the issues both by grievance and in negotiations. ASEA business agent Burdette stated that he had never refused to pursue a request for help from the Kulis aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists.

Procedural History

38. PSEA filed its petition to represent the Kulis aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists on May 26, 1994. At the time of filing, PSEA was an affiliate of the International Union of Police Association(IUPA), which is a member of the AFL-CIO.

39. On April 14, 1994, ASEA, which is an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, also a member of the AFL-CIO, filed a complaint under the provisions of the AFL-CIO internal disputes plan that PSEA was seeking to represent employees for whom it had an established bargaining relationship.

40. On June 17, 1994, AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland requested that this Agency hold the petition in abeyance pending the AFL-CIO’s internal dispute proceedings. On June 20, 1994, the hearing examiner ordered that action be suspended on the petition for a period of 45 days.

41. Ultimately PSEA withdrew from IUPA and, on October 24, 1994, asked that the Agency amend its caption on the petition to drop PSEA’s affiliation with IUPA and asked that this Agency proceed with the representation petition.

42. On November 14, 1994, intervenor ASEA filed its notice of objection to the petition and to the removal of employees from the general government unit.

43. On November 14, 1994, ASEA filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the basis that the original petitioner no longer existed. PSEA opposed the motion on November 28, 1994.

44. This Agency confirmed that PSEA met the required showing of interest and the work sites of affected employees were posted on December 8, 1994.

45. On December 12, 1994, the hearing examiner denied ASEA’s motion to dismiss the petition.

46. On December 16, 1994, respondent State of Alaska filed its objection to the petition.

47. On December 22, 1994, ASEA filed a request for a subpoena for the production of the following documents: a blank showing of interest card; copies of all executed showing of interest cards collected by PSEA, front and back; the affiliation agreement between PSEA and IUPA; and any charter issued by IUPA for PSEA.

48. The hearing examiner denied the request on December 22, 1994, for the reason that the documents were not relevant, as set forth in the order denying the motion to dismiss dated December 12, 1994, and under 8 AAC 97.060(d).

49. At a prehearing conference on January 9, 1995, this matter was set for hearing on March 8, 1995.

50. On February 14, 1995, ASEA filed an appeal of the hearing officer’s ruling on the request for subpoena. On February 24, 1995, PSEA responded to the appeal.

51. The decision of the hearing officer to deny ASEA’s subpoena request and grant PSEA’s subpoena request is affirmed for the reasons set forth in Public Safety Employees Ass’n (FWEO) v. State of Alaska, Department of Public Safety, Decision & Order No. 186, at 9-12 (May 25, 1995).

Conclusions of Law

1. The State of Alaska is a public employer under AS 23.40.250(7) and the Public Safety Employees Association and Alaska State Employees Association are employee organizations under AS 23.40.250(5). This Agency has jurisdiction under AS 23.40.090 and AS 23.40.100 to consider this case.

2. PSEA as the petitioner has the burden to prove each element of its claims by a preponderance of the evidence. 8 AAC 97.350(f).

3. PSEA must establish that the unit it proposes, combining the aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists with the existing RCPSO unit, would be an appropriate unit for purposes of collective bargaining based on such factors as community of interest, wages, hours, and other working conditions of the employees involved, the history of collective bargaining, and the desires of the employees. In addition, units must be as large as is reasonable and avoid unnecessary fragmenting. AS 23.40.090.

4. Because PSEA seeks to sever a group of employees from an existing unit, it must also satisfy the requirements of 8 AAC 97.025(b):

In addition to the requirements of (a) of this section, if a petition for certification proposes to sever a bargaining unit from an existing bargaining unit, the petition must state

(1) why the employees in the proposed bargaining unit are not receiving adequate representation in the existing unit;

(2) whether the employees in the proposed bargaining unit are employed in jobs that have traditionally been represented in the same unit;

(3) why the employees in the proposed unit have a community of interest that is not identical with that of the employees in the existing unit;

(4) how long the employees in the proposed bargaining unit have been represented as part of the existing unit; and

(5) why the grant of the petition will not result in excessive fragmentation of the existing bargaining unit.

5. This Agency also takes into account the six factors that the NLRB reviews in craft severance cases listed in Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 162 N.L.R.B. No. 48, 64 L.R.R.M.(BNA) 1011, 1016 (1966):

1. Whether or not the proposed unit consists of a distinct and homogeneous group of skilled journeymen craftsmen performing the functions of their craft on a nonrepetitive basis, or of employees constituting a functionally distinct department, working in trades or occupations for which a tradition of separate representation exists.

2. The history of collective bargaining of the employees sought and at the plant involved, and at other plants of the employer, with emphasis on whether the existing patterns of bargaining are productive of stability in labor relations, and whether such stability will be unduly disrupted by the destruction of the existing patterns of representation.

3. The extent to which the employees in the proposed unit have established and maintained their separate identity during the period of inclusion in a broader unit, and the extent of their participation or lack of participation in the establishment and maintenance of the existing pattern of representation and the prior opportunities, if any, afforded them to obtain separate representation.

4. The history and pattern of collective bargaining in the industry involved.

5. The degree of integration of the employer's production processes, including the extent to which the continued normal operation of the production processes is dependent upon the performance of the assigned functions of the employees in the proposed unit.

6. The qualifications of the union seeking to "carve out" a separate unit, including that union's experience in representing employees like those involved in the severance action.

International Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Fairbanks North Star Bor. Schl. Dist., Decision & Order No. 153, at 3-4 (Mar 24, 1993).

6. Community of interest: The aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists are highly trained in the rescue of people from military and other aircraft. They share responsibility with airport safety officers for fire fighting at the Anchorage International Airport. The similarity of the work and their close proximity to the airport safety officers, who are members of the RCPSO unit, is the linchpin of the specialists’ argument to be included in the RCPSO unit.

7. The fundamental issue dividing the aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists from current members of the RCPSO unit is that the specialists have no law enforcement function. The RCPSO unit has always been a law enforcement unit. This difference is a significant one.

8. Public safety personnel do have interests different in many respects from other public employees. Their work schedule, strike classification, training, and the hazards they face, do distinguish them from the majority of the members of the general government unit. Units of fire fighters are common in the public sector, probably for these reasons. But we do not believe a unit that combines law enforcement officers with other employees best serves the interest of the unit and the State. One of the reasons for segregating law enforcement personnel is the conflict of interest with other employees inherent in their duties and the importance of undivided loyalty to the employer. See paragraph 17, infra.

9. We conclude that the dissimilarity over law enforcement duties outweighs the similarity of fire fighting duties with one of the job classes assigned to the RCPSO unit. When the two units are reviewed as a whole, we conclude the community of interest with the GGU is greater. The GGU contains various job classes who share interests with the specialists, such as fire suppression, alternate work schedules, and high hazard work.

10. Wages: The Kulis specialists currently are paid on the scale established for the general government unit. Because of their work schedules, however, they are seeking a change to a pay scale that they believe better reflects their shift schedules. Both PSEA and ASEA have employees paid on this type of schedule. The Kulis specialists also are seeking an increase in wages so that their pay is comparable to wages paid the airport safety officers in the RCPSO unit.

11. Hours: The Kulis specialists work a shift schedule as do most of the PSEA unit members and some of the employees covered in the ASEA unit.

12. Other working conditions: Other working conditions do not justify a change in units. The Kulis specialists are specially trained, as are employees in both the PSEA and ASEA units. They confront hazards, as do employees in both units. They work independently, exercising judgment and discretion, as do some of the employees in the ASEA and the employees in the PSEA.

13. Desires of employees: The two Kulis specialists testifying at the hearing supported representation by PSEA, including an ASEA shop steward.

14. Unnecessary fragmenting: Fragmentation is not an issue in this case. The number of bargaining units would not change. The proposed change would only shift a group of employees from the GGU to the RCPSO unit. Public Safety Employees Ass’n, Inc., and Alaska Public Employees Ass’n, SLRA Order & Decision No. 106, at 6 (May 17, 1987).

15. Adequacy of representation: The Kulis specialists since their creation in 1990 have been represented in the general government unit by the ASEA, which was certified as the representative of the unit after an election in 1988. Although the specialists did not have an opportunity to participate in the selection of the representative, they have had opportunities to participate in their representation. The shop steward has worked closely with the ASEA negotiating team to identify and assist in advocating in bargaining the contract goals of the Kulis specialists. The evidence shows that ASEA is vigorously advocating the interests of the Kulis specialists at the bargaining table. At the time of the hearing, ASEA had not obtained agreement from the State on all of the goals set by the Kulis specialists. No evidence supports the conclusion that delay in reaching agreement or the time spent in negotiations can be attributed to inadequate representation.

16. Kulis specialists expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of experience or understanding ASEA representatives had on their issues. However, the evidence showed that the specialists worked with the representatives to obtain results on their issues. ASEA represented the specialists in grievances, letters of agreement, and contract bargaining. It had successfully negotiated shift issues in letters of agreement and had obtained Class 1 strike status sought by the specialists. While the relationship of the shop steward with one of the business agents was not completely satisfactory, the ASEA agents responded to the concerns raised by the specialists and obtained in at least some instances the result sought. The standard required to establish inadequate representation requires something more than personal dissatisfaction with the personnel or level of service provided in this case. The only evidence in the record supporting the specialists’ dissatisfaction with ASEA’s level of representation is ASEA’s delay in returning telephone calls and the refusal of the business manager to assign the particular business agent requested by the specialists. This evidence does not establish that the Kulis specialists are not receiving adequate representation. The evidence regarding the amount of time the business agents spent with Kulis specialists in learning their business and concerns and the opportunity to be present during negotiations and to present proposals relating to the Kulis specialists is evidence supporting the adequacy of the representation. One commentator has stated, "The Board’s reluctance to disrupt an established stable bargaining relationship will generally prevail over a claim that a separate craft unit is entitled to different representation." 1 Patrick Hardin, The Developing Labor Law 467 (3d ed. 1992).

17. Craft history: There is a tradition under PERA and in labor relations generally of separate units for law enforcement personnel. Public Employees Local 71 v. Bristol Bay Borough, Decision & Order No. 181 (Dec. 16, 1994); Public Safety Employees Ass’n and Alaska Public Employees Ass’n, SLRA Order & Decision No. 106, at 4 (May 17, 1987); Pertaining to a Unit Authorization Petition by the Public Safety Employees Ass’n, SLRA Order & Decision No. 28 (Jan. 3, 1977); National Labor Relations Act § 9(b)(3), 29 U.S.C. § 159(b)(3) (prohibiting units mixing plant guards with other employees). These units, however, have not included fire safety personnel in the law enforcement unit. Law enforcement duties have been the common thread tying the members of the RCPSO unit together.

18. There is a tradition in labor relations for separate representation of fire fighters and there are fire fighter units certified under PERA. See e.g. Fairbanks Fire Fighters Ass’n, Local 1324, Int’l Ass’n of Fire Fighters v. City of Fairbanks, Decision & Order No. 142, at 2 (Aug. 7, 1992). The proposed unit, however, would combine these fire fighters with law enforcement personnel. These fire fighters specializing in aircraft fire and rescue are a homogenous group of 8 to 10 employees with limited interaction with other employees except the ASOs who are also engaged in fire suppression at the Anchorage International Airport. The tradition of separate representation for fire fighters is a factor that could help justify craft severance under Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 162 N.L.R.B. No. 48, 64 L.R.R.M.(BNA) 1011. However, this factor does not support moving the specialists to another unit that would combine them with other employees who do not have fire fighting responsibilities. See generally 1 Patrick Hardin, supra 463.

19. History in unit and potential for disruption: The NLRB under Mallinckrodt weighs this factor heavily. In this case, the Kulis specialists are a relatively new job class. They have been in the general government unit since the job class’s creation in 1990. Moving them is potentially disruptive. ASEA is in the process of negotiating specific terms for the Kulis specialists and the PSEA contract does not cover them. Moving the specialists would disrupt the status quo.

20. PSEA: If adding the specialists to the RCPSO would make an appropriate unit, PSEA would be qualified to represent the specialists. It has represented the RCPSO unit since 1977. Pertaining to a Unit Authorization Petition by the Public Safety Employees Ass’n, SLRA Order & Decision No. 28 (Jan. 3, 1977). Within that unit are the airport safety officers whose duties, in part, are very similar to the duties of the Kulis specialists.

21. In weighing the criteria under the burden a petitioner must carry to justify severance of a group of employees from an existing unit, we conclude that the Public Safety Officers Association has not justified severing the aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists from the general government unit represented by ASEA. The determining factor was the absence of law enforcement responsibilities and the fact that the very essence of the regularly commissioned public safety officers unit is its law enforcement responsibilities. These responsibilities and the potential for conflicts of interest these responsibilities could create with other employees justifies a distinct unit dedicated to law enforcement employees.


1. The petition of the Public Safety Employees Association to sever the aircraft rescue and fire fighting specialists from the general government unit and add them to the regularly commissioned public safety officers unit is hereby DISMISSED;

2. The State of Alaska is ordered to post a notice of this decision and order at all work sites where members of the bargaining unit affected by the decision and order are employed or, alternatively, serve each employee affected personally. 8 AAC 97.460.


Stuart H. Bowdoin, Jr., Board Member

James W. Elliott, Board Member

Karen J. Mahurin, Board Member


An Agency decision and order may be appealed through proceedings in superior court brought by a party in interest against the Agency and all other parties to the proceedings before the Agency, as provided in the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Administrative Procedures Act.

The decision and order becomes effective when filed in the office of the Agency, and unless proceedings to appeal it are instituted, it becomes final on the 31st day after it is filed.


I hereby certify that the foregoing is a full, true and correct copy of the Decision and Order in the matter of PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (AIRCRAFT RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING SPECIALISTS) v. STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AND MILITARY AFFAIRS, AND ALASKA STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, AFSCME LOCAL 52, AFL-CIO, Case No. 94-310-RD, dated and filed in the office of the Alaska Labor Relations Agency in Anchorage, Alaska, this 25th day of May, 1995.

Victoria D. Scates

Administrative Clerk III

This is to certify that on the 25th day of May, 1995, a true and correct copy of the foregoing was mailed, postage prepaid, to

James A. Gasper/PSEA

Don Clocksin/ASEA

Art Chance/State