©b41r AD HOC 132

























A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal on January 15, 1982.


©u26rR.T. O'Brien and J. McLeod for the union

©u25rJ. Sparrow and B.P. Scott for the company


©b69r A W A R D


This grievance arises under the provisions of a Special Agreement

dated July 7, 1978, made between these and other parties and

providing for certain conditions and benefits to apply to employees

adversely affected by changes in railway passenger services made in

accordance with government initiatives introduced pursuant to the

Railway Passenger Services Adjustment Assistance Regulations. The

undersigned was appointed arbitrator of this matter pursuant to the

provisions of the Special Agreement.

The parties have, in conformity with the provisions of the Special

Agreement, submitted a Dispute and Joint Statement of Facts as



Applicability of paragraph J.1 of the Special Agreement

signed July 7, 1978, to the change in train schedules of

trains 1 and 2, effective September 29, 1980.


Effective September 29, 1980, at the request of VIA Rail

Canada Inc., changes in the train schedules of trains I and

2, transcontinental passenger service, were effected.

The Union contends that these changes adversely effect

passenger crews working between Medicine Hat, Alberta, and

Field, B.C. , due to revision of their runs to now work

between Medicine Hat and Calgary, Alberta, requiring the

increase in tours of duty from 18 to 30 per month., longer

hours away from home, and added expenses for meals in the

layover time. In addition, the passenger crews were reduced

from 3 to 2 crews, a loss of 4 positions. The Union

contends, therefore, that notice of this change should have

been given in accordance with Article J.1 of the Special


The Company contends that this change in passenger train

schedules was not a change made pursuant to Government

Initiatives nor did this change solely cause the adverse

effects to which the Union refers. It is the position of

the Company that notice in accordance with Article J.1 was

not therefore required.



Article J.1 of the Special Agreement is as follows:



The Companies signatory hereto will not put into effect,

any change in Railway Passenger Services made in accordance

with Government initiatives introduced pursuant to the Railway

Passenger Services Adjustment Assistance Regulations which

will have adverse effects on employees without giving as much

advance notice as possible to the General Chairman

representing such employees or such other officer, as may be

named by the Union concerned to receive such notices. In any

event, not less than three months' notice shall be given,

with a full description thereof and with appropriate details

as to the consequent changes in working conditions and the

expected number of employees who would be adversely affected.

The provisions of this J.1 supersede the notice requirements

of any Collective Agreement between any of the parties

signatory hereto in respect of a material change in working



In the instant case there was indeed a "change in Railway Passenger

Services" in that changes in operations agreed to between the company

and VIA Rail changed arrival and departure times of passenger runs

between the above points and in some case's increased the length of

runs between terminals. The schedule changes led to changes in crew

schedules (due to safety and other requirements), so that the company

determined, as it was entitled to do, to change the crew runs which

had been from Medicine Hat to Field and return, by breaking the run

at Calgary. Where formerly there were three crews operating between

Medicine Hat and Field, there are now two crews operating between

Medicine Hat and Calgary, and two crews assigned between Calgary and

Field. It is the union's position that this has an adverse effect on

crews at Medicine Hat.

The questions at issue are first, whether this change was "in

accordance with Government initiatives introduced pursuant to the

Railway Passenger Services Adjustment Assistance Regulations" and

second, whether it had "'adverse effects on employees" within the

meaning of article J.1 of the Special Agreement.

In my view the changes in passenger services in question are "in

accordance with Government initiatives" within the meaning of article

J.1. The Railway Passenger Service Adjustment Assistance Regulations

provide for assistance to railway companies and employees affected

by changes in railway passenger services. The "initiatives" referred

to are not necessarily embodied in legislation, order-in-council,

ministerial directive, or direction of the Railway Transport

Committee, although it may he that "Government initiatives" might be

expressed in such forms. The Regulations, clearly I think, are in

aid of a process of rationalization of passenger services, and

provide for assistance to ameliorate certain of its effects. This

assistance is available in respect not only of changes which might be

"pursuant to" direct government "initiatives", but is also available

in respect of chances made "in accordance with" such initiatives, the

term referring, in my view, to the broad thrust toward

rationalization of passenger service. The change in question, made

at the request of VIA RAIL (and it is not for the arbitrator to deal

with its efficacity or otherwise) must be said, I think, to be in aid

of efficiency in passenger service and it is, in my view, one which

is "in accordance with Government initiatives" thus understood. It

may he noted that the change in question (assuming for the moment

that it is one having "adverse effects") is one which, were it not

for the final sentence of article J.1, would appear to call for

notice pursuant to the "material change in working conditions"

provisions of another agreement between the parties.


In my view, therefore, the change in question is one to which the

provisions of the Special Agreement will apply, if the change is

indeed one having "adverse effects" on employees within the meaning

of article J.1.

On this second issue, it is my view that the change involved in the

instant case was in fact one having "adverse effects" on employees,

within the meaning of article J.1. It meant a very substantial change

in away-from-home time for Medicine Hat crews and, perhaps more

significantly, meant reduction in the number of such crews. Whether

or not this involved any threat to the "continued employment" of

certain persons, it may have led to relocation expenses or to other

"adverse effects" to which the Regulations are addressed. The extent

of the assistance or the benefits which may be appropriate is not, in

itself, determinative of the question whether or not there are

"adverse effects" In the instant case the nature and effect of the

changes made are substantially similar to those dealt with in ©b5rCROA.

©b14rCase No. 830. In this case, as in that, it is |mv view that the

changes involved were sufficiently broad as to involve the

application of these provisions which are in the nature of "job

security" provisions.


For all of the foregoing reasons, the grievance is allowed.



DATED AT TORONTO, this 8th day of February, 1981.



J.F.W. Weatherill