AH - 212
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
THE CANADIAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION,
DIVISION NO 1 OF THE UNITED TELEGRAPH WORKERS
CANADIAN PACIFIC LIMITED
IN THE MATTER OF THE GRIEVANCE OF a grievance relating to the proposed abolition of all positions of radio technician.
Sole Arbitrator: J. F. W. Weatherill
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
A. H. Neville
There appeared on behalf of the Union:
E. G. Abbot
A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal, Quebec, on the 15th day of December, 1971.
On September 1, 1971, the company advised the union that all positions of Radio Technician were to be abolished, effective January 1, 1972. The company purported to give notice of this change pursuant to Article VIII of the job security agreement which is in effect between the parties. That agreement requires notice to be given of “any technological, operational or organizational change of a permanent natures whish will have the adverse effects on employees” ,and provides certain benefits for employees in such cases. If the abolition of the Radio Technician position was in itself proper, then it seems clear that Article VIII of the job security agreement required the giving of the notice. The question before me is whether the abolition of these positions was proper.
The question, indeed, must be re-stated with precision. I was not referred to any provision of the collective agreement which would require the company to retain employees in positions it no longer required to be filled. It would thus certainly appear to be open to the company to abolish these positions, and in such a case it would have to give notice thereof. The real contention of the union, however, is that the company is attempting to remove from the scope of the bargaining unit certain work which properly comes within it, and to assign it to other employees.
There is no dispute as to the facts. In recent years, the work of radio maintenance for certain equipment under the control of CP Rail was performed by CP Telecommunications, using the services of Radio Technicians. More recently , CP rail has decided to perform this work itself. As a result, CP Telecommunications no longer requires employees as Radio Technicians. CP Rail has offered employment in work of this sort to the present Radio Technicians employed by CP Telecommunications. It is the company’s position that persons performing such work will be employees of CP Rail. It is the union’s position that such persons will be employees of Canadian Pacific :Limited, their present employer, and that they will still come within the bargaining unit.
The issue involves a consideration of the corporate identity of the employer, but more particularly of course, it turns on the interpretation of the provisions of the collective agreement before me relating to the scope of the bargaining unit. It seems clear that there is just one employer, in the strict sense of the term, involved in this case. The correct name of the employer is Canadian Pacific Limited. That company carries on business by means of a complex corporate structure through a number of operational divisions each acting, it seems, under its own name. Thus, for example, the company carries on its railroad business under the name of CP Rail, and its telecommunication business under the name of CP Telecommunications. These organizations, however, do not appear to be separate corporate entities, so that a person working for CP Rail, like a person working for CP Telecommunications, is equally an employee of Canadian Pacific Limited. Because of this, it would be my conclusion that in the changes which are involved in this case, the employer purports to transfer the performance of certain work from one of its departments to another.
The collective agreement in effect between the parties is between the union and “The Canadian Pacific Railway Company”, now known as Canadian Pacific Limited. Article 1 of that agreement is as follows:
The Company agrees to recognize the Union as the (word?) representative for collective bargaining in all matters pertaining to rates or pay, wages, hours and other conditions of employers for all employees included in this agreement.
The question raised by article 1 is: Who are the employees included in the agreement? and that questions may be answered by reference to article 2, which is as follows:
Employees assigned to service in the Communications Department (except those listed in Clause 3 hereof) within those classifications listed in the minimum schedule of wager attached to and forming a part of this agreement, or who are required to devote any portion of their time to work performed within those classifications, shall be considered as coming within the scope of this agreement.
In substance the “Communications Departments”, or CP Telecommunications as it is contemporarily known, is the employer party to the collective agreement, even although it may not in itself be a distinct legal person. Certainly the bargaining unit does not include employees in other departments of Canadian Pacific Limited than the Communications Department. This is clear from the express language of articles 2, that it is employees “assigned to service in the Communications Department” (subject to certain qualification) who come within the bargaining unit. Employees in other departments of Canadian Pacific Limited might well be, and of course in many cases are, included in other bargaining units.
In the instant case, the company proposes to assign certain work to employees who are in service in another department. In essence, the union’s case is that such persons will then, by virtue of their work (which will be virtually identical to the work now being done by Radio Technicians), come within the bargaining unit. If the bargaining unit were described as consisting of employees of the company performing certain types of work, the argument would be attractive. As it is, however, the bargaining unit is described, as I have noted, of employees assigned to service in the Communications Department, and since the persons performing the work in question will not be in the Communications Department, then it follows that they will not be within the scope of this bargaining unit.
Accordingly, it must be concluded that the proposed assignment will not violate article 2 of the collective agreement, and it does not appear to violate any other provision. The change is therefore one which it its open to the company to make, and is one which required the giving of notice under article VIII of the job security agreement.
For the foregoing reasons, the grievance must be dismissed.
DATED at Toronto, Ontario, this 20th day of December, 1971.