ALASKA LABOR RELATIONS AGENCY
3301 EAGLE STREET, SUITE 208
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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 99510-7026
(907) 269-4895
Fax (907) 269-4898

 

 

 

PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, 	)
(RADIO DISPATCHERS), 			) 
					)
	Petitioner, 			) 
					)
vs. 					)
					)
STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENTS OF 	)
PUBLIC SAFETY AND TRANSPORTATION 	)
AND PUBLIC FACILITIES, 			)
					)
	Respondent, 			)
and, 					)
					)
ALASKA STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, 	)
AFSCME LOCAL 52, AFL-CIO, 		)
					)
	Intervenor. 			) 
_____________________________________	)
CASE NO. 95-385-RD 

DECISION AND ORDER NO. 212

Digest: (1) Adding the radio dispatchers to the State's public safety unit would not make an appropriate bargaining unit; and (2) the Public Safety Employees Association did not satisfy the requirements to sever the radio dispatchers from the general government unit.

DECISION

Statement of the Case

The Public Safety Employees Association (PSEA) seeks to sever approximately 70 radio dispatchers from the general government unit (GGU) and represent them in bargaining in PSEAís public safety unit. PSEA filed its petition to represent the radio dispatchers on February 24, 1995. On March 23, 1995, the Agency advised that PSEA had satisfied the requirement of a showing of interest and requested the State of Alaska to post copies of the notice of petition. The State advised on May 2, 1995, that it had posted the notice of the petition at various work sites between March 31, 1995, and April 25, 1995. The labor organization currently representing the radio dispatchers, the Alaska State Employees Association, AFSCME Local 52, AFL-CIO (ASEA), objected to the petition on April 3, 1995, and requested a hearing. On June 29, 1995, ASEA moved to dismiss the petition on the basis of the contract bar.

The Agency delegated to the hearing examiner the authority to conduct the hearing. This case was heard on September 20 and 21, 1995. The parties filed written closing statements on October 16, 1995. On October 24, 1995, ASEA moved to strike the attachments to PSEAís closing brief. PSEA opposed the motion on November 3, 1995. ASEA filed a reply on November 9, 1995. The record closed on November 9, 1995.

On August 30, 1996, the Agency amended the panel assignment to substitute board member Blair E. Schad for former member Stuart H. Bowdoin, Jr., and on January 9, 1997, the Agency amended the panel assignment to substitute board member Robert A. Doyle for member James W. Elliott, who recused himself.

Panel: Board members Blair E. Schad, Robert A. Doyle, and Karen J. Mahurin, participating after review of the record.

Appearances: 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.

Procedure in this case is governed by 8 AAC 97.330, 8 AAC 97.350--8 AAC 97.480. Hearing examiner Jan Hart DeYoung presided.

Issues

1. Should the attachments that PSEA appended to its closing brief be struck from the record?

2. Does the State/ASEA collective bargaining agreement bar consideration of this petition under AS 23.40.100(e)?

3. Is the proposed unit, combining radio dispatchers with the public safety unit represented by PSEA, an appropriate unit under AS 23.40.090?

4. Has PSEA satisfied the requirements in 8 AAC 97.025(b) to sever the radio dispatchers from the GGU, taking into account the factors in Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 162 N.L.R.B. No. 48, 64 L.R.R.M.(BNA) 1011, 1016 (1966)?

Summary of the Evidence

A. Exhibits

Petitioner Public Safety Employees Association offered the following exhibits, which were admitted into the record:

1. Class Specification, Radio Dispatcher I and II (1/07/85);

2. Class Specification, Radio Dispatcher III (11/01/78);

3. Recruitment Bulletin, Radio Dispatcher II (9/06/94);

4. Recruitment Bulletin, Radio Dispatcher III (10/10/94);

5. Recruitment Bulletin, Radio Dispatcher I, II, and III (9/01/89);

6. Objection sustained, not admitted;

7. Anchorage International Airport, Standard Operating Procedures Manual for Airport Safety Dispatcher (11/01/89);

8. Standard Operating Procedure Manual for the Dispatch Operation of the Alaska State Troopers (3 parts); and

9. PDQ for PCN 12-1331, Elaine Rennie, DPS (certified 8/20/95).

Respondent State of Alaska withdrew its exhibits, and they were not admitted.

Intervenor Alaska State Employees Association, AFSCME Local 52, AFL-CIO, offered the following exhibits, which were admitted into the record:

201. Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) for PCN 25-2746 DOT/PF (Recíd 8/23/90);

202. PDQ, Paul David Camp DOT/PF (certified 10/26/84);

203. PDQ, Linda Toledo, DPS (certified 3/22/91; effective 3/31/92);

204. PDQ, Wanda Bailey, DPS (certified 9/19/91; effective 3/31/92);

205. PDQ, Linda M. Carter, DNR (certified 9/3/93; effective 12/16/93);

206. PDQ Angella T. Long, DNR (certified 5/19/92; effective 12/31/92;

207. PDQ, Denise M. Dutile, DNR (certified 5/10/92; effective; 12/31/92);

208. PDQ, PCN 10-5060, DNR (reclass effective 1/1/95);

209. Position Control Listing (8/12/95);

210. Roster of Radio Dispatchers (8/30/95);

211. Harriet M. Lawlor, State of Alaska Grievance Form (4/20/93);

212. Arbitrator W. Dorsey, Arbitration Opinion and Award (June 9, 1995);

213. Class Specification, Security Guard I and II (4/6/92);

214. Withdrawn;

215. Withdrawn;

216. Class Specification, Equipment dispatcher (8/19/74);

217. H. Lawlor, letters to J. Murphey (June 14 & Aug. 17, 1993) (two letters);

218. L. Humphrey, memorandum to distribution (April 13, 1995)(transfer of airport dispatch);

219. L. Lowe, memorandum to K. Geariety (May 16, 1990);

220. No exhibit offered; and

221. Depít of Public Safety, Operating Procedures Manual extracts (Feb. 1, 1994).

B. Testimony

Petitioner Public Safety Employees Association presented the testimony of radio dispatcher II Wanda M. Wall; radio dispatcher III Daniel Skilbred; radio dispatcher II Elaine Rennie; radio dispatcher III Nancy Reed; and radio dispatcher III Terry Tafs.

Respondent State of Alaska did not present any witnesses.

Intervenor Alaska State Employees Association, AFSCME Local 52, AFL-CIO, presented the testimony of radio dispatcher II and ASEA shop steward Nancy Shafer; ASEA business agent Kathy Dietrich; radio dispatcher II Sharon Harper, Department of Public Safety human resource manager Frances Kinney, and ASEA business agent Harriet Lawlor.

C. Agency case file. 8 AAC 97.410.

Findings of Fact

The panel, by a preponderance of the evidence, finds the facts as follows:

 

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

2. PSEA seeks to sever from the general government unit (GGU) and add to its public safety unit approximately 70 radio dispatchers. The unit can be described as follows:

Included: All nonsupervisory, nonconfidential radio dispatchers I, II, and III employed by the Department of Public Safety, all nonsupervisory, nonconfidential radio dispatchers I, II, and III employed by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities at airports, and all members of the Regularly Commissioned Public Safety Officers Unit.

Excluded: All other State employees.

See Notice of Petition (Mar. 23, 1995).

3. PSEA does not seek to represent the radio dispatchers located in the Department of Natural Resources.

4. The radio dispatcher positions PSEA seeks to represent are now in the GGU and have been in that unit since its creation in 1973. State Labor Relations Agency, Decision & Order No. 1, at 13 (Feb. 2, 1973).

5. The current bargaining representative of the GGU is the Alaska State Employeesí Association, AFSCME Local 52, AFL-CIO (ASEA).

6. The PSEA sought to represent certain radio dispatchers in the Department of Public Safety when it first sought recognition as the public safety unitís bargaining representative, but the State Labor Relations Agency did not find the positions appropriate to include in the unit. State Labor Relations Agency, Order & Decision No. 28, at 4-5 (Jan. 3, 1977).

7. The key work duty distinguishing the job class of radio dispatcher is the duty to dispatch units to enforce laws or to protect the public safety. A dispatcher takes a call, evaluates it, and dispatches the appropriate personnel and equipment, such as police, fire or crash units, or ambulances. Other duties depend on the position assigned and can include clerical duties. Exhs. 1 & 2.

8. While radio dispatchers may support the work of law enforcement officers, radio dispatchers do not enforce the laws themselves. The absence of the duty to enforce the law distinguishes radio dispatchers from all of the members of the public safety unit.

9. The radio dispatchers work in shifts around the clock, as do the trooper members of the public safety unit and approximately 2000 members of the GGU.

10. The compensation scheme of radio dispatchers, including participation in the public employeesí retirement system and the collective bargaining agreementís wage scale, is shared with other members of the GGU. The members of the public safety unit have a different retirement system and wage scale.

11. The working conditions of the radio dispatchers more closely resemble the working conditions of members of the GGU than the working conditions of the Alaska State troopers and other members of the public safety unit.

12. Radio dispatchers are located organizationally in three departments: the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and the Department of Public Safety. Separating the radio dispatchers from two of the departments into a different bargaining unit from the third department could interfere with transfer, layoff, and promotion of radio dispatchers.

13. Both labor organizations provided evidence of support for the bargaining units they promote.

14. The radio dispatchers receive adequate representation by the ASEA in the GGU.

15. Radio dispatchers are found in both public safety and general government bargaining units under the Public Employment Relations Act.

16. PSEAís history of representation of the public safety unit demonstrates that it is qualified to represent that bargaining unit even if it is expanded.

Discussion

The issues in this case, as in all other cases to sever a group of employees from an existing unit, are whether the proposed unit is appropriate under AS 23.40.090 and whether the petitioner has satisfied the conditions of 8 AAC 97.025(b). The PSEA proposes to sever the radio dispatchers from the GGU represented in bargaining by ASEA and represent them in its public safety employees unit. The case also includes issues on striking certain documents from the record and the contract bar in AS 23.40.100(e).

1. Should the attachments that PSEA appended to its Closing Brief be struck from the record?

PSEA attached to its closing brief five documents: selected pages of the collective bargaining agreement between the Fairbanks Police Department, APEA/AFT, AFL-CIO, and the City of Fairbanks (Mar. 1, 1991--June 30, 1993) (attachment 1); a certificate of election by the Juneau Employee Relations Board, dated December 21, 1992 (attachment 2); and a certificate of election by this Agency, dated December 20, 1993 (attachment 3); an Anchorage Municipal ordinance showing dispatchers in the same unit with police officers (attachment 4); and the decision Waterford Township and Michigan Assín of Public Employees and Police Officers Assín of Michigan, 6 Michigan Pub. Employee Rep. 24063 (May 11, 1993) (attachment 5). The five documents are government documents showing either or both of two facts -- dispatchers have been combined with law enforcement personnel in a bargaining unit, and PSEA has experience representing bargaining units combining dispatchers with law enforcement personnel. ASEA objects to the documents because PSEA missed the deadline for submitting evidence; two of the documents are extracts and ASEA has not had any opportunity to inspect the entire document; the documents may not be current; and one of the documents lacks foundation. ASEA also objects that the documents are not self-authenticating and that no opportunity has been provided to rebut the evidence or cross examine a witness.

We note initially that attachments 4 and 5 are not evidence but rather authorities. The Agency may consider administrative agency decisions and municipal ordinances in its decision without regard to the provision of a copy of the authority by the party. Rule 202, Alaska R. of Evid. The practice of this Agency is to ask the parties to provide copies of key authorities as a matter of convenience to the staff and panel members. Attachments 4 and 5 will be considered as authorities.

Attachments 1, 2, and 3, on the other hand, are government records. This Agency can take official notice of its action in certifying an election and, thus, can take notice that it certified the unit set forth in attachment 3. The Administrative Procedure Act addresses official notice in administrative hearings and allows an agency to take notice of scientific or technical facts within its area of expertise or as provided in the rules governing the courts. AS 44.62.480.1 The rules of evidence allow notice of this fact at any time in a proceeding. Rule 201(b), Alaska R. of Evid. We therefore take notice of attachment 3 and decline to strike it from the record.

The remaining two attachments (1 and 2), the collective bargaining extract and Juneau election certificate, are evidence that would be admissible if relevant and certain other requirements were satisfied. The first problem is the records are not timely. PSEA did not comply with the filing deadline in the prehearing order. We have addressed the question of an untimely offer of an exhibit in Public Safety Employees Assín (Park Rangers) v. State, Decision & Order No. 209, at 9 (Nov. 13, 1996) appeal pending No. 3AN-96-9448 CI (Super. Ct., filed Dec. 12, 1996) (hereinafter "Park Rangers"). The Agency will look at the reliability of the evidence offered, the right to cross examine, and administrative convenience. Id., citing A.C.E. Construction, Inc. v. Chena Construction Corp., 647 P.2d 602, 604 (Alaska 1982); Stoody Co., Divín of Thermadyne, Inc., and Electrical Workers, I.B.E.W., Local 369, 312 N.L.R.B. No. 197, 145 L.R.R.M.(BNA) 1342, 1993 WL 484049, at 11 (1993).

Considering these factors, we look first at the collective bargaining extract, attachment 1. PSEA provided only a part of the collective bargaining agreement -- the table of contents and the partiesí wage scale, which includes dispatchers. ASEA has not been provided a complete copy of the document; and because the document was provided after the conclusion of the hearing, ASEA did not have any opportunity to rebut it. The fact it is offered to prove -- inclusion of dispatchers in another public safety unit -- is supported elsewhere in the record. PSEA has not offered any justification for the delay. We conclude that the factors weigh in favor of striking attachment 1.

We also conclude that these factors favor striking the Juneau certificate of election. Most important, the certificate does not show that dispatchers were included in the bargaining unit certified. In addition, the document is not inherently reliable; it does not meet the requirements for self-authentication under Rule 902, Alaska R. of Evid. ASEA has not had the opportunity to cross examine, and PSEA has provided no justification for the delay in providing the document.

In sum, we rule on ASEAís motion to strike as follows: we consider attachments 4 and 5 as authorities or documentation of the law that the Agency can consider and rely upon (see Rule 202, Alaska R. of Evid.; we take judicial notice of attachment 3; and we strike attachments 1 and 2.

2. Does the State/ASEA collective bargaining agreement bar consideration of this petition under AS 23.40.100(e)?

The panel denies the motion and adopts by reference the discussion on the motion to dismiss in Public Safety Employees Assín (Weigh Station Operators) v. State of Alaska, Department of Public Safety, Decision & Order No. 201, at 9-10 (April 4, 1996) (hereinafter "Weigh Station Operators").

3. Is the proposed unit, combining radio dispatchers with the public safety unit represented by PSEA, an appropriate unit under AS 23.40.090?

PSEA must establish that the unit it proposes, combining the radio dispatchers with PSEA's public safety 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.

a. Community of interest.

The essential, defining characteristic of all members of the public safety unit is the responsibility to enforce the law. Park Rangers, Decision & Order No. 209, at 11; State Labor Relations Agency, Order & Decision No. 30, at 2-3 (Oct. 17, 1977). Since the public safety bargaining unit was created, the Agency and its predecessors have resisted allowing PSEA to add job classes to the unit that did not have this responsibility. The State Labor Relations Agency excluded from the unit the positions laboratory technicians, latent fingerprint examiner, protection aide, fish and wildlife protection aide, dispatchers, and pilots. Id. This Agency excluded the aircraft rescue fire fighting specialists, for example, because they did not have any law enforcement responsibilities. Public Safety Employees Assín (Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Specialists) v. State of Alaska, Decision & Order No. 187, at 12 (May 25, 1995), affirmed No. 3AN-95-5208 CI (Super. Ct., October 14, 1996) (hereinafter "Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Specialist").

While the radio dispatchers in the Department of Public Safety play a role in the enforcement of the law by Alaska State troopers and interact with them on a regular basis, they do not themselves have any responsibility to enforce the law. The same can be said for the radio dispatchers in the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. They share a role in law enforcement with the airport safety officers but they do not themselves enforce the law. Because they do not enforce the law, they do not share with other members of the public safety unit a conflict of interest with other State employees. The conflict of interest between law enforcement personnel and other employees is an important justification for segregating law enforcement personnel in separate bargaining units. The absence of any responsibility to enforce the law prevents radio dispatchers from sharing a community of interest with the public safety unit.

We note also that working conditions, background, and training are important differences between the radio dispatchers and the other members of the public safety unit. See discussion below.

On the other hand radio dispatchers do share a community of interest with other GGU members. Most significant are the similarities of the radio dispatchers PSEA wants to represent with the radio dispatchers employed at the Department of Natural Resources. Compare Exhs. 9 & 203 (DPS radio dispatchers) with Exhs. 205, 206 & 207 (DNR radio dispatchers) and Exhs. 201 & 202 (DOTPF radio dispatchers). Radio dispatchers, depending on the position assigned, may also have clerical duties, like other job classes in the GGU. See, e.g., Exh. 203, at 3. More than one radio dispatcher took issue with categorizing the typing they do as clerical work and stated it was a law enforcement function. However, the fact was proven that radio dispatchers in the course of their work may perform such clerical duties as copying, faxing, data entry, and filing. The amount of clerical work performed by Department of Public Safety radio dispatchers will vary depending on the position, according to human resource manager Fran Kinney. Moreover, dispatchers at the airport do not have any clerical support and, like other job classes in the GGU, perform such clerical duties as retrieving files, filing, making copies, answering telephones, and typing stolen property and other reports. The clerical classes in the GGU can also serve as a career ladder to a position as a dispatcher. Radio dispatchers also share some of the job duties of equipment dispatchers, although there are important differences, such as the radio dispatchersí duty to monitor radio frequencies. Exh. 216.

While the radio dispatchers do share a role in law enforcement, they do not have the responsibility to enforce the law -- the defining characteristic of the public safety unit and therefore do not share a community of interest with members of the public safety unit. Their community of interest is with the other members of the GGU.

b. Wages.

The wages and benefits of radio dispatchers are more like the wages and benefits of GGU members than of public safety unit members. The radio dispatchers are on the GGU wage scale. They participate in the standard public employment retirement system with most State employees and do not participate in the 20-year retirement system of the Alaska State troopers and other members of the public safety unit. AS 39.35.300.

c. Hours.

Radio dispatchers work shifts around the clock. The public safety unit members commonly work in shifts, as do many members of the GGU. One witness estimated that 2000 members of the GGU work in shifts, including pioneer home employees and youth counselors.

d. Other working conditions.

Radio dispatchers may work closely with Department of Public Safety employees, including members of the public safety unit. For example, Department of Public Safety radio dispatchers may be supervised by a trooper shift sergeant. While radio dispatchers may work with members of the public safety unit and interact with other public safety personnel, they do not share their working conditions. Radio dispatchers do not carry weapons and are not trained to carry a weapon. They do not have the specialized and intensive training of public safety officers. One learns to be a dispatcher at Department of Public Safety by studying a training manual and learning on the job. Only the Anchorage Department of Public Safety radio dispatchers wear uniforms; most dispatchers do not.

Radio dispatchers do share working conditions with other GGU members. They work in an office setting. The duty to dispatch personnel and equipment is shared by all State dispatchers -- both by the Department of Public Safety and airport radio dispatchers PSEA seeks to represent and by the radio dispatchers at the Department of Natural Resources who would remain in the GGU. Moreover, the airport radio dispatchers have dispatch duties unrelated to law enforcement. They may dispatch maintenance and custodial personnel as well as the airport safety officers in the public safety unit. Radio dispatchers also may perform clerical duties. See discussion supra, subsection 3(a).

The most notable working condition described by the witnesses was the stress level of the work. Radio dispatching can be extremely stressful, although the stresses will vary with the particular position. One witness stated that he had transferred from a position at the Alaska State troopers to a position at the airport, which was less stressful. Stressful working conditions, however, may exist in either the public safety or GGU bargaining units.

We conclude that the working conditions of the radio dispatchers support retaining them in the GGU.

e. History of collective bargaining.

The bargaining unit of the radio dispatchers is the GGU. State Labor Relations Agency, Order and Decision No. 1, at 10-11 (Feb. 2, 1973). The PSEA sought to represent radio dispatchers in the Department of Public Safety when it first sought the creation of the public safety unit and its recognition as the unitís bargaining representative. The State Labor Relations Agency, however, did not find the positions appropriate to include in the unit. State Labor Relations Agency, Order & Decision No. 28, at 4-5. The history of collective bargaining supports retaining the radio dispatchers in the GGU.

f. Desires of employees.

PSEA argues that the desires of the employees weigh in favor of severance because PSEA has established the support of at least 30 percent of the radio dispatchers, the minimum showing of interest required to file a representation petition in AS 23.40.100(a)(1). PSEAís closing brief, p. 12. PSEA relies upon Alaska Institutional Employees Assín v. State, No. 3AN-87-5791, as support for allowing the showing of interest to be used to demonstrate employeesí desires for a particular bargaining unit.2 Reliance on the interest cards to show the desires of the employees in AS 23.40.090 could be misleading. The purpose of the interest card is to show support for the labor organization seeking to represent the employees. The factor of the desires of the employees in AS 23.40.090, however, relates to the composition of the bargaining unit or the determination of an appropriate unit. Each of the two labor organizations participating in these proceedings had their supporters -- the witnesses who testified in support of their position. We can infer that the witnesses would prefer the bargaining unit advocated by the organization they support because the issue at the hearing was severance. The inference to be drawn from the interest cards is weaker because the interest cards or their text are not part of the record. Without that information, we cannot determine whether employees indicated support for representation in the public safety unit or were even aware that a change in the bargaining unit structure had been proposed. We therefore conclude that evidence of employee desires did not weigh in favor of a public safety bargaining unit.

g. Unnecessary fragmentation.

The petition would only shift one group of employees from one bargaining unit to another; it does not propose to increase the number of bargaining units. We have held under such facts that fragmentation is not an issue. Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Specialists, Decision & Order No. 187, at 13; Public Safety Employees Assín, Inc. and Alaska Public Employees Assín, State Labor Relations Agency, Order & Decision No. 106, at 6 (May 14, 1987). However, PSEA does propose to separate a job class between two bargaining units. Separating the job class between two units could interfere with promotion, transfer, and lay-off rights. We

believe that this interference is a form of fragmentation. Weigh Station Operators, Decision & Order No. 201, at 16. We therefore conclude that the petition would result in unnecessary fragmentation.

In this case the factors weigh very strongly in support of the conclusion that the GGU is the appropriate unit for the radio dispatchers and the public safety unit is not an appropriate unit.

4. Has PSEA satisfied the requirements in 8 AAC 97.025(b) to sever the radio dispatchers from the general government unit, taking into account the factors in Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 162 N.L.R.B. No. 48, 64 L.R.R.M.(BNA) 1011, 1016 (1966)?

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).

a. Adequacy of representation.

PSEA did not establish that ASEAís representation was inadequate. In addition, ASEA came forward with evidence supporting the adequacy of its representation. Exhs. 211, 212, & 217. One radio dispatcher expressed dissatisfaction with the most recent contract because a change in the overtime provisions would affect her compensation. However, there is no reason to believe that PSEA would be more successful than ASEA in negotiations with the State on this or other issues.

One radio dispatcher supporting PSEA stated that she had received ASEA surveys and meeting announcements but elected not to participate in union affairs. However, there is at least one radio dispatcher who has been active in ASEA affairs. Radio dispatcher Terry Tafs has served as a union steward and on the judicial board.

The principal complaint that the radio dispatchers supporting PSEA had with ASEAís representation seemed to be that PSEA would be more understanding of and more experienced with the stresses of dispatching and therefore would be a better advocate. The evidence showed, however, that ASEA had been effective in representing the dispatchers in issues of concern to them. For example, radio dispatchers at the Department of Public Safety were not allowed any interruptions in their work day and consequently missed breaks and lunches. The radio dispatchers at the airport were not allowed to take their breaks away from their duty station. ASEA business agent Harriet Lawlor arbitrated a grievance on these issues and the radio dispatchers were awarded back pay. Exhs. 211 & 212. Another business agent, Kathy Dietrich, stated she had successfully pursued a grievance on staffing levels.

PSEA has not demonstrated that ASEA was an inadequate representative.

b. Tradition of representation.

Although radio dispatchers employed by the State have been represented in a general government unit -- the GGU -- radio dispatchers can be found in public safety units under the Public Employment Relations Act in Alaska. See, e.g., Public Safety Employees Assín, Local 92, IUPA, AFL-CIO v. City of Unalaska, No. 93-246-RC (certificate of representation)(PSEAís closing brief, attachment 3). Other states also recognize bargaining units mixing dispatchers with law enforcement personnel. See, e.g., Waterford Township and Michigan Assín of Public Employees and Police Officers Assín of Michigan, 6 Michigan Employee Rep. 24063. We can conclude that radio dispatchers can be represented in public safety units, although the evidence is not sufficient to find a "tradition" of representation in public safety units.

c. Community of interest.

The record did not establish that the radio dispatchersí community of interest is separate from the GGU. See discussion in subsection 3.a., supra.

d. Time in existing unit.

The radio dispatchers have been in the GGU since it was first established.

e. Excessive fragmentation.

For the same reasons addressed in subsection 3.g., supra, granting this petition could result in excessive fragmentation.

f. Mallinckrodt Chemical Works.

This Agency also takes into account the factors that the NLRB reviews in craft severance cases. See Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 162 N.L.R.B. No. 48, 64 L.R.R.M.(BNA) at 1016; International Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Fairbanks North Star Bor. Schl. Dist., Decision & Order No. 153, at 3-4 (Mar. 24, 1993). The evidence showed that, while the radio dispatchers as a group may share some sense of community and working conditions, they do not share the responsibility to enforce the law that characterizes all of the members of the public safety unit. The existing unit structure adequately responds to their needs, and the record does not provide any reason to disrupt the existing bargaining unit scheme. There are units in this State that combine dispatchers with law enforcement officers, See, e.g. Public Safety Employees Assín, Local 92, IUPA, AFL-CIO v. City of Unalaska, No. 93-246-RC; but combining dispatchers with law enforcement personnel is not the tradition or history that has been established for State of Alaska employees. While we have no reason to question PSEAís adequacy to serve as a representative of the radio dispatchers in a combined unit, we cannot conclude that combining radio dispatchers with the public safety unit would make an appropriate unit.

PSEA has not demonstrated that radio dispatchers should be severed from the GGU.

Conclusions of Law

1. The State of Alaska is a public employer under AS 23.40.250(7). 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. After consideration of the reliability of the documents provided as attachments 1 and 2, the opportunity to cross examine, and the administrative convenience, we strike from the record the collective bargaining extract in attachment 1 and the certificate of election in attachment 2. See PSEAís closing brief.

4. AS 23.40.100(e) does not bar consideration of PSEAís petition in this case.

5. 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, the GGU is the appropriate unit for the radio dispatchers.

6. 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, the public safety unit is not an appropriate unit for the radio dispatchers.

7. While moving the radio dispatchers from the GGU to the public safety unit would not create a new bargaining unit, we conclude that splitting the job class would result in problems that the prohibition against excessive fragmentation is designed to avoid.

8. PSEA has not satisfied the requirements in 8 AAC 97.025(b) to sever the radio dispatchers from the GGU.

9. Balancing the factors set forth in Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 162 N.L.R.B. No. 48, 64 L.R.R.M.(BNA) at 1016, we cannot conclude that radio dispatchers comprise a craft that would be more appropriately represented in a law enforcement unit with law enforcement personnel.

ORDER

1. The petition of the Public Safety Employees Association to sever the radio dispatchers from the general government unit and add them to the public safety 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.

ALASKA LABOR RELATIONS AGENCY

Blair E. Schad, Board Member

Robert A. Doyle, Board Member

Karen J. Mahurin, Board Member

APPEAL PROCEDURES

An Agency decision and order may be appealed through proceedings in superior court 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.

CERTIFICATION

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, (RADIO DISPATCHERS) vs. STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENTS OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC FACILITIES, and ALASKA STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, AFSCME LOCAL 52, AFL-CIO, CASE NO. 95-385-RD, dated and filed in the office of the Alaska Labor Relations Agency in Anchorage, Alaska, this 14th day of February, 1997.

Margie Yadlosky

Administrative Assistant

This is to certify that on the 14th day of February, 1997, a true and correct copy of the foregoing was mailed, postage prepaid to

Kent Durand, State

James Gasper, PSEA

Don Clocksin, ASEA

Signature

1While the Administrative Procedure Act does not govern representation petitions, the Agency can be guided by the Act on areas that are not addressed in its regulations.

2A copy of this case was not made available to the Agency and it was therefore not reviewed.