AH – 27




(the "Company")



(The "Union")






There appeared on behalf of the Company:

M. A. Cocquyt – Labour Relations Assistant, Montreal

K. L. Crump – Assistant Manager, Labour Relations, Montreal

R. J. Wilson – Senior Agreements Analyst, Montreal

L. H. B. Gooding – Area Manager, Winnipeg

N. Dilay – Assistant Labour Relations Officer, Winnipeg


And on behalf of the Union:

J. R. Hastie – General Chairman, Winnipeg.



A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal, November 15, 1965.





At Winnipeg an August 15, 1964, hostler T.A. Ager moved a locomotive from the Symington Diesel Shop to the Union Station. Hostler Ager claimed payment for the foregoing movement at the mainline hostler’s rate of pay. The Company declined the claim for the mainline hostler’s rate of pay and compensated Ager at the outside hostler’s rate of pay. The Brotherhood is claiming violation of Article 6.10 in the collective agreement.

As indicated in the statement of Issue, this matter requires a determination as to whether the lead-in switches to the Symington Yard itself should be the governing point of travel to establish a claim for payment as a main line hostler.

Article 6.10 deals with hostlers:

When hostlers are employed in handling engines between passenger stations and roundhouses or yards, or required to make a main line movement between outer switches of a yard to service the locomotive or turn on wye, they will be paid outside hostler rates for the pay on which such service is performed. When required to make a main line movement beyond outer switches of yards for the same purpose that will be paid ‘main line hostlers’ rates for that day only on which such movement is made.

The various classifications and rates of pay for hostlers are described in Article 6.1. That of main line hostler is the highest.

On August 15, 1964, the grievor moved a diesel locomotive from the Symigton diesel shop to the passenger station known as the Union Depot in Winnipeg.

The crux of Mr. Hastie’s argument was that any movement of an engine by a hostler outside the limits of Symington Yard itself should bring Article 6.10 into effect; that an operating manual issued by the Company when the Symington Yard was put into effect defined the limits of that yard as being located north of the Sprague subdivision between mileage 147.1 and 148.9.

Mr. Hastie rejected the Company’s contention that the terminal limit rules that apply to road employees at the Winnipeg Terminal are applicable to hostlers as well. Mr. Hastie also pointed to the fact that the grievor was appointed a hostler in the Symington Yard, after an opening had been bulletined specifying that particular location as his base.

Mr. Hastie referred the Arbitrator to a letter from the General Manager at Winnipeg dated February 3rd, 1949, addressed to the then General Chairman of the Brotherhood, reading:

I concur in the following description of a mainline hostler:

A main line hostler is a hostler who is required to move engines outside recongnized outer switches of a yard and within yard limits.

The essence of Mr. Cocquyt’s argument on behalf of the Company was that the grievor ignored the fact that Symington Yard was but a unit in the Winnipeg Terminals, the outposts of which were designated by ‘outer switches ‘specified in the agreement; that the lead-in switches to Symington Yard itself were not so designated or recognized.

The Arbitrator was supplied with a schematic diagram of this terminal, with these outer switches shown.

The course taken by the hostler on this occasion was southward out of Symington Yard, through Paddington Yard, past a terminal cut-off and into the Winnipeg union depot. To reach a designated outer switch going into that direction, he would have had to continue on a southerly course through Fort Rouge Yard, past Portage Junction and the westward to St. James Junction. It was claimed for the Company that the trip actually made was all within the area covered by the Winnipeg Terminals.

Mr. Cocquyt pointed to the fact that the outer switches for these terminals are described in Article 8.13, reading in part:

The limits of Winnipeg terminals will be mileage 145.7 (Navin) for Sprague Subdivision, St. James Junction for Gladstone, Harts and Oak Point Subs …

As indicated, the outer switches there described are recognized for payment by road crews coming off or going out on the main line. Section 5 of Article 3 provides:

1. Initial terminal time will be paid for on the minute basis at pro rata rates, computed from time required to be on duty until departure from outer switch.

3. Outer switch means the switch used in heading into or out of the yard.

It was Mr. Cocquyt’s contention that Article 6.10 does not in any way depart from or modify the term outer switch); that any reference to outer switches contained therein can only refer to the same outer switches as are described in Article 3.5, or as in the case of the Winnipeg Terminals to the limits … as appears in the first paragraph of the note to Article 8.13.

A study of the applicable provisions convinces there is nothing in the agreement itself, apart from any definition given by a railway official, that makes the trackage traversed by this hostler a main line operation as defined in Article 6.10. This was succinctly summarized by Mr. Cocquyt:

A movement made merely outside the confines of the lead switch to any individual yard within the Winnipeg Terminals could not be anywhere else but within yard limits unless such movement was to proceed and go beyond an outer switch of the Winnipeg Terminals.

It seems clear Section 6.10 was designed to compensate hostlers at a higher rate when their movement takes them beyond the area bounded by recognized outer switches or when a movement is required on a main line when it takes place entirely within the area bounded by the recognized outer switches.

As indicated, this movement took the grievor to a point only part way between Symington Yard and St. James Junction’s outer switch. That is the point beyond which he would have had to travel on this occasion in order to qualify for main line rates.

A study of Section 8.13 is helpful, it commences:

The following stations constitute terminals …

Among numerous in the Manitoba District "Winnipeg" appears.

In the Note to this provision the use of the plural as it relates to Winnipeg is important: "The limits of Winnipeg Terminals will be … "

This undoubtedly contemplates the inclusion of various yards in the Winnipeg Terminals, including Symington.

What this claim would require to place Symington Yard in an independent position would be inclusion in this Note among the yards as distinguished from terminals; such as the description of the limits of the Port Arthur Yard, or the Rainy River Yard, or the Saskatoon Yard. Obviously the parties have not yet negotiated the lead- inswitches of Symington as limits or outer switches, the term used in Article 6.10.

Because reference was made by Mr. Hastie to claims paid in somewhat similar circumstances on the decision of an individual railway official, it perhaps may be usefully emphasized that isolated instances of such payments do not affect the legal interpretation of an applicable provision in a contract unless it contains ambiguity.

It would lessen confusion if such railway officials recognized that despite their comprehensive knowledge of railroading, they may not similarly excel as interpreters of the provisions of a collective agreement. It would be better if they spoke through the experts they employ for the purpose of administering the agreement, namely, the members of the Labour Relations Department. This practice would result in the Company speaking with one voice in such matters, whether correctly or not.

For the reasons given, I find the grievor was properly compensated under Article 6.10 for a movement made entirely within an area bounded by the recognized outer switches of the Winnipeg Terminals.

This claim must therefore be dismissed.

Dated at Brampton, Ontario, this 20th day of November, 1965.

J. A. Hanrahan (sgd)