AD HOC 219

IN THE MATTER OF A DISPUTE ON INTEGRATION

AS A RESULT OF The Reciprocal Withdrawal from Telegraph Service from the major telegraph offices in Canada, by the Canadian Pacific Telecommunications and Canadian National Telecommunications

BETWEEN:

CANADIAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION DIVISION 1

AND

CANADIAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION DIVISION 43

 

 

 

IMPARTIAL UMPIRE: Maynard B. Golt, Q.C.

 

 

 

AWARD

The dispute between the two union divisions concerns the manner of retention of employees who are being phased out due to the withdrawal of dual telecommunication services so that a city will now be served by one office only. As a result of the foregoing, both the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Telecommunications departments have decided upon the integration of staff, but the method of integration has been left to the unions themselves who, not being able to arrive at an agreement, have appointed the undersigned as referee. Division 1 has assumed the position that integration should be accomplished by total integration on the basis of seniority, so that senior employees of either company would be retained in preference to the junior employees. On the other hand, division 43 maintains that integration should be decided on a percentage system, that is, by calculating the revenue produced by the company in each city affected by this move.

Both parties submitted detailed briefs and rebuttals which I have carefully analyzed and considered, while Mr. Pethick and Mr. McDaniel, together with their respective staffs, presented their cases and arguments in a profound and lucid manner for which I am grateful. Much valuable material supporting the merits of each case was introduced into the record. Be that as it may, I am nonetheless bound by both the practical aspect of the situation as well as by the accepted existing practice respecting job retention through seniority.

The theory of job seniority has paralleled the growth of job security in the field of labour-management relations, to such an extent that I feel I can say without reservation that, today, seniority is probably one of the fundamental structures upon which job security is based. I hardly think it necessary for me to expound upon this theory since the union personnel have spent many years in the field of labour relations and are well aware of its implications.

Let me now refer to several instances in the brief of division 43 which I hope will clarify the decision to be rendered. I refer now to the "Sydney" decision. This is an isolated case and as a matter of fact it deals not with withdrawal of service which is what we are concerned with, but rather with a joint operation. That judgment is therefore not applicable. Again, while studying the rebuttal, mention is made on page two of possible "staff padding", since thirteen more employees were used by Canadian Pacific to operate an office which handled only 40 per cent of all business. I cannot accept this contention, since any excess of employees may be explained by various factors, such as lack of quality amongst employees etc. I do not find this to be a valid argument.

The production of exhibits by both parties indicating percentages and many other factors although helpful, was insufficient to assist me in arriving at a final and binding decision. Their veracity is not disputed, but I cannot base my judgment on what I consider to be irrelevancies. As I stated above, one of the major elements affecting early labour-management disputes was seniority, but in recent years, I find that the matter has been so disposed of that it is very seldom raised. In other words, seniority is an accepted fact of labour-management life, and is almost always based on years of service. I have studied many labour decisions and have yet to come across a situation where job preference is not based on length of service, but rather on the financial revenues of a company. The latter is a concept which is completely foreign and alien to me. Again, I cannot conceive of a situation where the security or retention of a job by one employee over another can morally be based solely on the revenues of an employer. Higher revenues may be due to superior advertising, greater financial resources, superior personnel, or a multitude and variety of other reasons and should not be a cause in affecting security through seniority.

Having heard all the arguments, and having considered all the evidence, I see no valid reason which would lead me to derogate from the accepted principles relating to job security, and I therefore find that integration of staffs should be by total integration on a seniority basis, and I rule accordingly.

MONTREAL, September 30, 1968.

(signed0 Maynard B. Golt, Q.C.

Impartial Umpire