In the Matter of: Town of Wallingford and United Public Service Employees Union and Local 1183, Council 4, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
Connecticut case law is clear that employees must possess a community of interest for a bargaining unit to be considered appropriate and, with regard to the objective factors required to show a community of interest, such as a similarity of jobs, working conditions and common supervision, the Labor Board requires a particular showing in cases where the petition seeks to carve out a smaller group of employees from an existing unit. UPSEU, the United Public Service Employees Union, petitioned the Board of Labor Relations to represent a bargaining unit of certain Town of Wallingford clerical employees and to "carve out" the unit from an existing wall to wall unit of employees represented by Local 1183, Council 4, AFSCME, AFL-CIO. The town and AFSCME objected. The record showed that in 1966, AFSCME was certified as the collective bargaining representative of employees in the town's highway, parks, landfill and sewer departments, excluding "clerical employees" and others. In 1970, the board modified the unit to a "wall to wall" unit containing all employees not already included except part-time employees and certain others. Of the approximate 50 employees in the claimed clerical unit, 30 worked in town hall, while 20 worked at different locales. AFSCME conducted regular union meetings without written agendas at a local restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages. Certain clerical employees felt that these union meetings were dominated by Public Works employees who occasionally acted inappropriately. UPSEU argued that the recognition clause in the collective bargaining agreements specifically excluding clerical employees served as an admission by AFSCME and the town that such employees have a distinct community of interest. The Board disagreed finding it tracked the 1966 and 1970 unit determination decisions. The board concluded that the claimed unit had insufficient community of interest to justify the carve-out sought. While a majority of the clerical employees worked at town hall, many worked at different locales. All appeared to perform a variety of functions and answered to different supervisory positions. Work schedules did not offer a sound basis for differentiation. Separate wage schedules did not offer the necessary community of interest. The petition was dismissed.