MUKILTEO SCHOOL DISTRICT, DECISION 1008 (PECB, 1980)

Mukilteo Educational Office Personnel v. Mukilteo School District

                   DIRECTION OF ELECTION

 

On July 23, 1979 the Mukilteo Education Office Personnel filed a timely petition with the Public Employment Relations Commission seeking certifi­cation as bargaining representative of certain employees of Mukilteo School District No. 6. A formal hearing was conducted on February 11, 1980 and March 25, 1980 before Rex L. Lacy, Hearing Officer.  The intervenor submitted a post-hearing brief.  The petitioner and employer did not submit post-hearing briefs.

 

POSITION OF THE PARTIES:

The Employer has declined to recognize the Mukilteo Educational Office Personnel for employees in the unit requested by the petitioner, citing Article I Sections 1.1 and 1.2 of the collective bargaining agreement between the District and Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel.  The District is willing to bargain with whomever the Commission determines represents the employees.

The petitioner contends that secretaries, clerical, professional and tech­nical should be allowed to form their own bargaining unit because they are more aligned  with management than labor; they do not have the same community of interest as other classified employees; and that the petitioned for employees constitute an appropriate bargaining unit.

 

The intervenor contends that the petitioned for bargaining unit consti­tutes an inappropriate bargaining unit within the meaning of RCW 41.56.060 and RCW 41.56.070; that the unit claimed by MEOP has historically been included in a district wide classified employees bargaining unit; that since 1969 'secretaries, clerical, professional and technical employees have had the same community of interest as all other classified employees; and that severance of the Petitioned-for bargaining unit would be an un­necessary fragmentation of the existing bargaining unit.

 

BACKGROUND:

Mukilteo School District No. 6 is an employer within the meaning of RCW 41.56.030(1). The district has approximately 5,850 students enrolled in its K-12 academic program.  Dr. Rodney Hermes is superintendent; Clifford Gillies is assistant superintendent; and James H. Jenft is director of business and operations.

The petition for severance in this matter stems from a desire of secre­tarial, clerical, professional and technical employees to disassociate themselves from the current bargaining unit which is described as follows:

"Section 1.2 The District hereby recognizes the Association as the exclusive representative of all employees in the bargaining unit, and the Association recognizes the responsibility of representing the interests of all such employees.

 

 

 

Section 1.3 Nothing contained herein shall be construed to include in the bargaining unit those employees in positions that are not listed in Schedule A, provided the position of Section 1.4.1 are met."

 

 

The job classifications set forth in Appendix A are  as  follows:

 

 

FOOD SERVICES              CUSTODIAL

 

Food  Service  I           Custodian              I

Food Service II            Custodian              IA

Food Service III           Custodian              II

                           Custodian              III

SECRETARIAL/BOOKKEEPING    Custodian              IV

                           Custodian              V

Clerk I

Clerk II                   MAINTENANCE

Secretary I/Clerk III/

  Bookkeeper   I           Groundskeeper I

Secretary II/Bookkeeper 11 Groundskeeper II

Bookkeeper   III           Maintenance I

                           Maintenance II

TRANSPORTATION             Maintenance III

 

Bus Driver                 PROFESSIONAL/TECHNICAL

Dispatcher

Mechanic I                 Graphics  I

Mechanic II                Graphics  11

Mechanic III               Aquatics  I

                           Aquatics  IT

The "Mukilteo Association of Educational Secretaries" was the first organ­ization for classified employees of the District.  MA originally included only secretaries, but that structure was altered when aides were introduced into the education program.  Based upon the desires of the superintendent and the district, aides were merged into the bargaining unit and joint negotiations took place.

 

The Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel was formed next.  It used the MAES by-laws and constitution as the framework upon which it was formed. MACP has elected officers; President+, First Vice-President, Second Vice President, Immediate Past-President. Secretary and Treasurer who serve one year terms; and has one representative from each represented group: Secretarial and Clerical, Educational Aides, Maintenance and Grounds, Mechanics, Custodial, Transportation, and Food Services.

 

Negotiations with the employer are conducted by a committee consisting of representative of the various sections of MACP.  The secretarial, clerical, professional, and technical employees seeking severance from MACP participated, as a group, through their representative on the bar­gaining committee.

 

DISCUSSION-

The Commission's authority and responsibility regarding determination of bargaining units is set forth in RCW 41.56.060 which states:

 

1141.56.060   -Determination of bargaining unit-­Bargaining representative.  The commission, after hearing upon reasonable notice, shall decide in each application for certification as an exclusive bargain­ing representative, the unit appropriate for the pur­pose of collective bargaining.  In determining, modifying, or combining the bargaining unit, the commission shall consider the duties, skills, and working conditions of the public employees, the history of collective bargaining by the public employees and their bargaining representatives; the extent of organization among the public employees; and the desire of the public employees.  The commission shall determine the bargaining representative by (1) examination of organization membership rolls, (2) comparison of signatures on organization bargaining authorization cards, or (3) by conducting an election specifically therefore."

 

Secretarial and clerical employees were severed from district-wide classi­fied employee bargaining units in Franklin Pierce School District, Decision No. 78-B (PECB, 1977) and in Snoqualmie School District, Decision No. 529 (PECB, 1977) where it was determined that their duties, skills, and working conditions were different from other classified employees.

 

Secretarial and clerical employees in Franklin Pierce had bargained separately from other district classified employees until 1968 when voted to affiliate with Public School Employees of Washington. Snoqualmie, the clerical employees lacked the history of separate representation found in Franklin Pierce.  In both of those cases the employer took no position for or against severance and the record disclosed little interchange of employees between the classifications set forth in the collective bargaining agreements.

 

Unlike Franklin Pierce and Snoqualmie, transfer between job classifica­tions within the bargaining unit has occurred with some frequency in Mukilteo.  At least seven of the employees who testified have changed jobs from bakers, food service, bus drivers, and aides to secretarial, clerical, professional, and technical Positions.  Unlike Franklin Pierce, where the secretarial and clerical employees association affiliated with previously existing organized units , the Mukilteo Association of Educational Secretaries was the original bargaining representative, since grown up to become the Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel.

 

The intervenor raises the issue of a "confidential employee" status of Alverna Casey, Glenda Klein, and Madege Jacobsen.  Those questions of voter eligibility must be determined in accordance with RCW 41.56.030. Ms. Jacobsen is secretary to Clifford Gillies, Assistant Superintendent.  He is the District's representative in these proceedings and is responsible for the District's personnel functions.  Gillies participates in contract administration and negotiations for classified and certificated employees.  Ms. Jacobsen assists Gillies in the performance of his duties and necessar­ily possesses knowledge of confidential labor relations information which the District uses in the formation, implementation, and effectuation of its labor relations policy.

 

Alverna Casey and Glenda Klein are classified as bookkeepers.  They work for and are supervised by James Jenft, director of business and operations.  Ms. Casey and Ms. Klein perform routine bookkeeping functions of the District including the preparation of the District's budget, computer operations, preparation of bid lists, processing purchase orders and investment account reports.  More importantly, both Casey and Klein are involved in the preparation of salary schedules for certificated and classified employees which are used by Jenft during collective bargaining.  Klein testified as follows:

 

Q.  Ms. Klein, would you describe more carefully your involvement with negotiations?

 

A.   My involvement with negotiations mainly centers around computing salary schedules, different percentages, processing any necessary reports or statistics or documentation that Mr. Jenft or ­that Mr. Jenft requires or that has been required of him.

 

Q.   Now, are we to understand that you are making salary computations for the District's use in collective bargaining?

A.I am running salary schedules on percentage levels;  I am given a percentage and asked to compute the salary schedule.  It's then given to Mrs. Casey to recheck and Mr. Jenft rechecks it an I type it and it's what is taken as part of the board's package.  I don't compute them on my own; I'm given the figures and I am running the salary schedules, I am typing --

 

Q.   (Interposing) To your knowledge are those then used as proposals by the School District?

 

A.   Definitely, and it's always been stressed that it's a very confidential type of work and I have tried to keep it as a very confidential type of work.

 

Ms. Casey testified that her duties are similar to Klein's and that she considered the information regarding her job, including negotiations information, to be of a confidential nature.

Confidential employees, regardless of the amount of time involved, are excluded from the definition of "public employee" set forth in RCW 41.56.030.

 

Based upon unrefuted testimony in these proceedings, Casey, Klein and Jacobsen all have access to confidential information concerning the formulation, implementation, and effectuation of the employers labor relations policy.  They are, therefore, confidential employees who should be excluded from the collective bargaining unit.  See: City of Yakima, 91 Wn.2d 101 (1978).

FINDINGS OF FACT

 

 

          1.  Mukilteo School District No. 6 is a school district organized under Title 28A, RCW, and is a public employer within the meaning of RCW 41.56.

          2.  Mukilteo Educational Office Personnel, a labor organization and bargaining representative within the meaning of RCW 41.56, timely filed a petition for investigation of a question concerning representation of certain employees of Mukilteo School District No. 6 in a bargaining unit described as: Secretarial, clerical, professional and technical (graphics and aquatics) personnel.  The bargaining unit claimed appropriate consists of forty-four employees.

          3.  Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel, an affiliate of Public School Employees of Washington, a labor organization and bar­gaining representative within the meaning of RCW 41.56, timely moved for intervention in the matter on the basis of its status as the recognized exclusive bargaining representative of a unit which includes all classified employees of the District and of all the employees claimed by the petitioner herein.  Such recognition has been in effect since 1969, and MACP was party to a collective bargaining agreement with the District for the period September 1, 1977 through August 31, 1979.

          4.  The employees in the petitioned-for bargaining unit are office-clerical and professional-technical (aquatics and graphics) employees who perform routine secretarial, bookkeeping, and ministerial duties associated with employees employed by school districts in similar job classifications.  These are the only classified employees of the district whose duties are primarily clerical and related in nature.

5.   The employees in the existing bargaining unit and the

employees in the petitioned-for bargaining unit do not have common

supervision.

 

     6.   There is evidence of interchange between office-clerical employees and other classified

employee classifications in the existing bargaining unit.  Separate pay scales and work year provisions are made for each such classification in the existing bargaining unit.

          7.  The Mukilteo Association of Educational Secretaries was the recognized collective bargaining representative upon which the Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel was founded. Mukilteo Educational Office Personnel has continued its existence as a sub-division of MACP and has bargained accordingly since 1969.

          8.  The fringe benefits, overtime compensation and other terms and conditions of employment are uniform for all classified employees of the District.

          9.  The Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel, an affiliate of Public School Employees of Washington, has represented the classified employees of the District since 1969. MACP continues to be viable organization interested in the representation of the affected employees.

          10. Alverna Casey, Glenda Klein, and Madge Jacobsen routinely perform duties and functions on behalf of the District which necessarily involve formulation, implementation and effectuation of the employers labor relations policy and are confidential in nature.

          11. The severance of an office clerical unit from the existing bargaining unit would not change the extent of organization among the employees of the employer.

          12. The petitioner has supported its petition with a showing of interest demonstrating that it has the support of employees in the petitioned-for bargaining unit.  It is unclear from testimony of witnesses whether a majority of the affected employees desire to sever the relationship with Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel.

 

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 

 

          1.  The Public Employment Relations Commission has jurisdiction over this matter under RCW 41.56.

 

          2.  A bargaining unit composed of all secretarial, clerical, and professional and technical (graphics and aquatics) employees of Mukilteo School District No. 6; excluding the superintendent of schools, confidential employees, certificated employees and all other classified ­employees could be a unit appropriate for the purpose of collective bargaining pursuant to RCW 43.56.060, and could be appropriately severed from the existing bargaining unit of classified personnel if the desires of employees so indicate.

 

          3.  Alverna Casey, Glenda Klein, and Madge Jacobsen are confidential employees within the meaning of RCW 41.56 and, as such, are excluded from either of the bargaining units involved in the proceeding.

 

          4.  A question concerning representation will exist in the bar­gaining unit described in paragraph 2 if the employees in that unit vote in favor of creation of a separate bargaining unit in an election to determine the desires of employees.

 

 

ORDER

 

1.   An election by secret ballot shall be held under the

direction of the Public Employment Relations Commission among all secretarial, clerical, and professional and technical (graphics and aquatics) employees of Mukilteo School District No. 6 excluding the Super­intendent of Schools, administrative officers of the District, confidential employees, non-supervisory certificated educational employees, and all other classified employees, to determine whether a majority of the employees eligible to vote in such election desire to constitute themselves a bargaining unit separate and apart from all other employees of the employer.

          2.  An election by secret ballot shall be held under the direction of the Public Employment Relations Commission among all secretarial, clerical, and professional and technical (graphics and aquatics) employees of Mukilteo School District No. 6, excluding the Superintendent of Schools, administrative officers of the district, confidential employees, non-supervisory certificated educational employees, and all other classified employees to determine whether a majority of such employees desire to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining by Mukilteo Association of Classified Personnel, an affiliate of Public School Employees of Washington, or by Educational Office Personnel, or by no representative.  The conduct of this representation election is conditional based upon the results of the unit vote.  In the event that a majority of those eligible fail to vote in 'favor of the creation of a separate unit, the ballots cast on the question concerning representation shall be impounded.

 

DATED at Olympia, Washington, this  14th  day of October, 1980.

 

PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION

 

 

MARVIN L. SCHURKE, Executive Director