©b59r AD HOC 129















BOARD OF REVIEW: J.F.W. Weatherill, Referee

G.W. McDevitt, Union Member

S.T. Cooke, Company Member


A hearing in this matter was held at Ottawa on May 13, 1977.


©u14rD. C. Fraleigh, for the company

©u12rF. R. Oliver, for the union

©b39rA W A R D


This matter arises as a result of a company proposal made in

November, 1975, as part of the contract renewal proposals for

collective agreement 4.16. The company sought amendment of article

57 of the agreement to provide for the qualification period for

promotion of brakemen to conductor to be reduced from three years'

cumulative service to two years' cumulative service for employees on

the seniority districts in question, that is, Seniority Districts 12,

Consolidated 13 and 14, and 15.

The parties subsequently renewed the collective agreement. There was

no agreement, with respect to the seniority districts here in

question, relating to the proposed amendment to article 57: instead,

the parties provided for further negotiations and for the

establishment of a board of review which would, ultimately, be

empowered to decide the matter, and thus to settle the terms of the

collective agreement in this respect by a form of voluntary

arbitration. The dispute now before this board is therefore in the

nature of an "interest dispute"; although it arises under a

collective agreement, the issue is ,that shall be the terms of that

agreement with respect to this particular matter.

Terms such as those proposed by the company (that is, a reduction of

the period of service as a brakeman necessary before an employee may

qualify or be forced to qualify as a conductor) have been accepted by

the union with respect to other seniority districts. Similarly, a

reduction of the qualifying period for promotion to yard foreman has

been accepted with respect to all seniority districts, including

those in question here. That is not to say, however, that a similar

provision ought to be forced on the union with respect to the

seniority districts in question here, or at any rate that such a

provision ought not, with respect to these seniority districts, to be

made subject to certain qualifications.

The union's submission in this case referred to a number of respects

in which these seniority districts differ from others, and the board

propose to deal with this matter having regard to the particular

characteristics of these districts, and to the proper interests of

both parties.

The company's proposal to reduce the qualifying period is based on

its need for qualified conductors for its operations. Conductors are

the employees under whose direction trains are run (Rule 106, Uniform

Code of Operating Rules). The position is one of serious

responsibility. For many years, the collective agreement has

contained a provision requiring that a person have worked for three

years as a brakeman before qualifying as a conductor. It has

apparently been accepted that a railroad employee, like anyone else,

can be expected to learn and to mature with experience. While the

company does not denigrate the importance of experience, it contends

that the requirement of three years' experience can be reduced to a

requirement of two years' experience because of changes which have

taken place in the nature of the work load, and because of the

training programs which it now operates, both for newly-hired

brakemen and yardmen, and for brakemen promoting to conductor.

There has certainly been no change in the nature of a conductor's

responsibility, and there can be no doubt that a conductor's

knowledge in terms of the Operating Rules and operating procedures

must be extensive, or that he must have practical familiarity with

the operations for which he bears an important responsibility. The

training now given to newly-hired brakemen and yardmen is, it seems,

well-regarded by all concerned, and would, it can fairly be said,

make the experience subsequently gained more meaningful and easier to

assimilate. The training given those promoting to conductor would,

again, make possible the quicker and more efficient assimilation of

some of the knowledge which might more gradually be gained in daily

experience. Finally, there has, to an important extent, been a

reduction in the amount of "paper work" required of a conductor.

This is, therefore, an aspect of such work on which it will be less

necessary to gain experience.


There is, then, a case to be made for allowing the company to help

meet its personnel requirements through a reduction in the

conductors' qualifying period. In its submission to the board

opposing such an amendment to the agreement, the union raised a

number of matters which we shall now deal with in turn. These

matters relate either to the effect such an amendment might have on

safety, or to the effects it might have on related working

conditions. Having considered all of the material which the parties

have put before it, it is the opinion of the board that a reduction

of the conductors' qualifying period from three years to two years

can be made, subject to certain qualifications, without an adverse

effect on safety.

At the hearing the parties dealt with a number of points which had

been the subject of negotiations between them in their efforts to

resolve the question. This award will deal with these in order, and

in most cases, quite briefly.

1) The union expressed concern with the sufficiency of the training

program, and especially with its relationship to practical

experience. In the course of the parties' earlier discussions it had

been requested that employees under training for promotion to

conductor be provided with two trial trips in passenger service and

two trial trips in freight service. The two-year experience such an

employee would already have gained would, in the board's opinion,

obviate the need for such trips in freight service. The company

would, however, accept that two trial trips in passenger service be

given, and the board considers that this should be a condition of the

reduction in qualifying time.

2) The union sought to have applied to conductors the 20 cents per

hour increase in the basic rate of yard foremen which was negotiated

in the collective agreement. This question is, in the board's view,

one relating to the overall question of wage rates and differentials

and goes beyond the bounds of what it is reasonable to consider in

determining the issue before it. To grant this request would be to

create special terms for conductors on certain seniority districts,

and the board is not persuaded that such an imbalance would be


3) The union sought to have qualified conductors considered as

protected employees with relation to freight crews. This matter,

like the preceding, involves consideration of the relationships

between groups of employees which would take the board beyond the

proper scope of its enquiry.

4) The union argued that if the company's request is granted, there

should be an amendment to article 19.2 of the collective agreement

which would extend a conductor's right to be accompanied by a pilot

over a line with which he is unacquainted to situations arising on

his own promotion territory. Such an extension recognizes the lack

of experience a newly-promoted conductor may have. It is the board's

views that where the qualifying period is being reduced, an increase

in the scope of familiarization is appropriate. The board would, in

conjunction with such an award, require the amendment of article 19.2

in the manner suggested by the union.

5) The union requested that the company provide free uniforms for all

men on the spare board to enable them to become familiar with

passenger work. Conductors and brakemen not regularly assigned to

passenger service are now permitted to purchase uniforms at one-third

of cost. While the board understands the desire of those who are not

regularly assigned, but are liable to be used in such service, to

have free uniforms, this is a general negotiating matter and has no

particular relation to the problem of the qualifying period on these

seniority districts. The company did offer to provide uniforms for

certain employees, but the board does not consider that one group

should be singled out for such a benefit.

6) The union requested that conductors, notwithstanding that they may

have qualified as such after two years' service, not be permitted to

enter the company's locomotive engineer training program until after

an additional year. Recognizing the uncertainty the possible loss of

conductors to the engineer training program might create among

conductors whose relative seniority might be affected, the company

offered to continue its existing practice for a period of one year

from the acceptance of its proposal. In the board's view, this

should be made a condition of the reduction of the qualifying period.

7) The union sought an increase in trainer rates and expense

allowances. In this respect, it is the board's view that the trainer

allowance of $18.50 per shift or tour of duty (for conductors who

provide on-the-job training to those in training to be conductors),

should be increased by the application of the general percentage wage

increase. There is a $7.50 per day meal allowance for conductors in

training. While the company opposed any change in that allowance, it

had offered to provide, in addition, a $20.00 per week expense

allowance. This should be made a condition of the reduction in the

qualifying period.

8) The union requested a payment to conductors who provide on-the-job

training for men on trial trips as brakemen or conductors. The board

has already indicated that there is to be an increase in the "trainer

rate" with respect to the training of conductors. That payment

should also be made with respect to trial trips, and it should be in

the same amount. The board does not, however, consider that it

should make an award dealing with the payments to be made with

respect to brakemen.

9) (This was "item 11" in a list of matters raised by the union.

Items 9 and 10 on that list have been sufficiently dealt with

elsewhere in this award). The union considered that the training

program for conductors should be supplemented in some way with

respect to train order territory. The company had been willing to

undertake to have a preponderance of trial trips for new brakemen

made on train order territory where that is practical and possible.

While the company argued that such a provision involved brakemen and

not conductors, it is the board's opinion that it relates to the

nature of the experience which is accumulated as a prerequisite to

becoming a conductor, and that it involves a valid concern of the

union, and should be a condition of the reduction in the qualifying


10) ("Item 12") The union contended that payment for attendance at

the training course should cover all lost-time earnings and expenses.

The training program, it is noted, replaces the requirement that

employees qualify as conductor on their own time. Employees are paid

at a daily rate and there are expense allowances, as noted above.

Such arrangements are usual in situations where an employee's skills

and earning capacities are enhanced, and should prevail in this case.

11) ("Item 13"). The union seeks, as a condition of reduction of the

qualifying period, the deletion of the words "and/or on the joint

spare board" from article 57.2 of the collective agreement. This

proposal is made because there exist certain terminals where a

preponderance of the work for men on joint spare boards is yard work.

The experience gained on such work could not properly be considered

as equivalent to road work. While the proposed amendment to article

57.2 might create new problems while solving another, the parties did

reach tentative agreement, in their negotiations, to a proposal to

establish separate brakemen's and yard helpers' spare boards at

Sarnia, subject to review at each change of timetable, and to

consider other locations where such a problem may come to light. It

is the board's opinion that such an arrangement should be a condition

of the reduction in the qualifying period.

12) (items "14" and "15"). These reflect the union's quite proper

concern that conductors be qualified in more than just the operating

rules, but that their training and practical experience be such as to

justify the conferring on them of the important responsibility under

Rule 106. There is no doubt that both parties share this concern.

While the board does not consider that the training program should be

made the subject of negotiation., it does consider that the union

should have the right - and indeed the board would encourage its

exercise - to make proposals to the company with respect to the

contents of the training program,and that the company should be

obliged to give serious consideration to such proposals. In

addition, the company should notify the union in advance of any major

changes in the content of the program. For the foregoing reasons,

the board makes the following award in this matter:

1. Article 57.2 of the collective agreement shall, from and

after the date of this award, read as follows:

"Brakemen shall be examined for promotion to Conductor

according to seniority on the Brakemen's seniority list

after twenty-four months' cumulative service. On other

than the 11th Seniority District, such service will

include service as Brakeman and/or Yard Helper, at least

sixteen months of which must be in road service and/or on

joint spareboards."


2. Article 57.6 of the collective agreement shall, from and

after the date of this award, read as follows:

"Any Brakeman who, because of the sixteen- month road

service/joint board requirement of paragraph 57.2 of this

Article, is promoted to Conductor after Brakeman junior

to him have been promoted, shall, provided that he

qualifies at the first opportunity, rank on the

Conductors' seniority list ahead of those junior Brakemen

who were promoted before him."

3. The formal training program provided by the company for

employees qualifying as conductors shall not be less than

that offered by the company at the time of this award.

4. Article 19.2 of the collective agreement is amended by

the deletion of the words "off their own promotion


5. For a period of one year from the date of this award,

employees may not enter the engineer training program

until they have completed three years' continuous


6. The trainer allowance of $8.50 per tour shall be

increased by the amount of the general percentage wage


7. Employees taking the conductor training program shall

receive, in addition to other payments and allowances, a

$20.00 per week allowance for incidental expenses.

8. The trainer allowance referred to in (6) above is to be

paid where training is carried on on trial trips.

9. The company is to arrange to have a preponderance of

trial trips for new brakemen made on train order

territory where this is practical and possible.

10. The company is to establish separate brakemen's and yard

helpers' spare boards at Sarnia, subject to review at

each change of timetable, and shall give consideration to

other locations where they may be advisable.

11. The company shall receive and consider any proposals the

union may put forward relating to the content of the

conductors' training program. It is directed that the

company and the union meet within thirty days from date

of this award (subject to extension mutually agreed to),

to review the existing training syllabus. It is further

directed that the company notify the union in advance of

any major changes in the syllabus.

12. The parties should meet within thirty days from the date

of this award to make the collective agreement amendments

necessary for the implementation of this award.



DATED at Toronto this 17th day of June, 1977.



Referee J.F.W. weatherill


Union Member G.W. McDevitt


Company Member S.T. Cooke