©b60r AD HOC 127
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
CANADIAN PACIFIC LIMITED
THE CANADIAN SIGNAL AND COMMUNICATIONS UNION
AND IN THE MATTER OF THE GRIEVANCE OF N. A. HUDYMA
SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill
A hearing in this matter was held at Toronto on October 31, 1984.
©u50rR. E. McCaughan, J. E. Platt and A. G. Cunningham, for the union.
©u35rF. R. Shreenan and R. A. Colquhoun, for the company.
The joint Statement of Fact and issue in this matter is as follows:
©u23rJOINT STATEMENT OF FACT
1. Signal Helper was dismissed from Company service on May
23, 1984, for operating a Company vehicle while under the
influence of alcohol at Edmonton, Alberta, May 1, 1984.
©u24rJOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE
1. The Union contends that Mr. Hudyma's dismissal for
operating a Company vehicle while under the influence of
alcohol was excessive and unwarranted.
2. The Company contends that the discipline assessed Mr.
Hudyma was just and warranted.
There is no substantial dispute as to facts. The grievor was hired
by the company in September, 1980, as a Signal Helper. In 1981, he
became a Signal Maintainer's Helper, and was working in that
classification at the material time.
The grievor worked as Helper for a Mr. Black, a Signal Maintainer.
The two men worked together on a defined section of the Alberta North
Division, being a total distance of 129 track miles with respect to
which their duties included the inspection, adjustment and
maintenance of interlockings, automatic block and highway crossing
signals. For the most part, access to their work sites was by
company truck, for which Mr. Black was responsible.
The grievor's regular work hours were from 0800 to 1630, Monday to
Friday, with thirty minutes for lunch. On all regular work days and
on alternate weekends, however, the grievor was "subject to call",
pursuant to article 7 of the collective agreement. At all times
material to the instant case, the grievor was so subject to call.
On Tuesday, May 1, 1984, the grievor and Signal Maintainer Black,
having finished their work at 1630 hours, then drove in the company
truck to a hotel expecting, perhaps, to have a couple of beers. It
should be said that there was nothing improper in this crew's using
the company vehicle to drive to their homes. They would require the
vehicle for any duties to which they might be called.
The grievor (and the same would appear to be true for Mr. Black),
consumed, according to his own statement, some six or seven bottles
of beer between the time he arrived at the hotel and about 18:30,
when they left. Given the quantity consumed (whether of regular or
of light beer) in the time involved, and even without any evidence of
clinical symptoms of intoxication, there can be no doubt that,
however he may have felt at the time, the grievor's facilities were
impaired to a certain degree at the time he left the hotel.
It was agreed between the two men that the grievor would drive Mr.
Black to his home and then proceed on with the company truck to his
own home, which was further away. The grievor would then pick up Mr.
Black in the morning on their way to work. There was nothing
improper about this arrangement, considered by itself. It was,
however, improper for the grievor then to have proceeded to drive the
company vehicle, given the amount he had had to drink and the time in
which he had drunk it.
The grievor drove Mr. Black to his home (some fourteen miles from the
hotel), and then proceeded on toward his own home (a further eight
miles). On the way, the grievor was involved in an accident, in
which he struck the rear of another vehicle, which had stopped at a
traffic light. As a result of that incident and its surrounding
circumstances, the grievor was charged with impaired driving and with
assaulting a police officer. The events which led to these charges,
it may be repeated, took place while the grievor was subject to call
and while he was operating a company vehicle.
The grievor, it may be noted, was convicted and fined on both
charges. Those convictions, however, occurred after the grievor had
been discharged, and were not themselves the grounds of any
disciplinary action. It may also be noted, however, that the
breathalyser test taken of the grievor at the time of the accident
revealed a blood alcohol level well beyond that at which impairment
is considered to occur.
The grievor, clearly, was in violation of Rule "G" which prohibits
the use of alcohol while on duty or subject to duty. He was in
violation of this rule while he was in fact operating a company
vehicle on the public highway. In those circumstances, he was
involved in an accident and engaged in conduct which led to criminal
charges. This was further misconduct of concern to the Company,
whose vehicle was involved.
There can, I think, be no doubt that these were circumstances in
which there was just cause for the imposition of discipline on the
grievor. Having regard to the nature of the grievor's duties, and
considering the view which has generally been taken by arbitrators
in cases of employees who are involved in accidents when operating
company vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, I do not
consider that the discharge of the grievor was a penalty which went
beyond the range of reasonable disciplinary responses to the
situation. In my view, there was just cause for the penalty imposed.
For all of the foregoing reasons, the grievance is dismissed.
DATED AT TORONTO, this 5th day of November, 1984.