AdHoc 372

ARBITRATION OF A GRIEVANCE

BETWEEN:

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY

(the Company)

AND

CANADIAN COUNCIL OF RAILWAY OPERATING UNIONS

(the Union)

CONCERNING:

MATERIAL CHANGES IN WORKING CONDITIONS

 

ARBITRATOR: Michel G. Picher

 

REPRESENTING THE COMPANY:

Denis Laurendeau - Assistant Manager, Labour Relations

Al Heft - Manager, Labour Relations

 

REPRESENTING THE UNION:

R. LeBel - General Chairman

A. Huard - Vice-General Chairman

 

 

Heard at Montreal on Monday, January 30, 1996

AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR

Arbitration was requested to resolve the dispute concerning the establishment of the new Quebec Terminal. The dispute arose from the notice the Company served to the Union on August 31, 1994, to advise of its intention to reorganize operations by implementing changes, including, among others, the regrouping of the Joffre and Limoilou Yards as a single terminal, i.e., the Quebec Terminal. The parties undertook negotiations to decide on the measures to be taken to minimize the adverse effects of these changes on employees, but they failed to reach an agreement.

The dispute and joint statement of issue are as follows:

DISPUTE:

Inability of the parties to agree on the measures to be taken to minimize the adverse effects of the changes announced in the notice served by the Company on August 31, 1994, in accordance with Article 79 of Collective Agreement 4.16.

JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:

On August 31, 1994, in accordance with Paragraph 79.1 of Collective Agreement 4.16, the Company advised the Union of its intention to implement certain changes affecting the operation of the Quebec Terminal on March 3, 1995.

After meeting on several occasions to discuss the adverse effects of the aforementioned changes, it became evident that the parties disagreed and would not be able to negotiate an agreement. The Company and the Union agreed to submit their dispute for arbitration with a view to determining the measures to be taken to minimize the potential adverse effects of the changes on employees.

The points at issue in the dispute are as follows:

1. Number of credits

2. Early retirement offers - VIA formula

3. Deferred separation allowances - 48 and 50 years of age

4. Maintenance of earnings - ripple effect

5. Relocation expenses

6. Transportation allowances for furlough board and spare board employees

7. Severance payments:

$80,000 - employees with 8 or more years of service

$25,000 - employees with less than 8 years of service

8. Training to qualify for road or yard service

9. Familiarization trips

10. Clothing allowances

The Company maintains that the points at issue submitted by the Union are already covered by Article 79 or do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Arbitrator and, consequently, cannot be arbitrated.

The evidence shows that both yards have regular assignments, spare boards for yard and road service and two furlough boards for both types of service. The change in question would give the Company greater flexibility in deploying its employees at the Joffre and Limoilou Yards, and more particularly would allow it to make more efficient use of the services of Limoilou furlough board employees at both yards. Moreover, establishing a single terminal would facilitate the transfer of cars between the two yards by assigning a single classification of employees to this work.

Of course, these changes affect certain working conditions for Quebec City employees, and result in the loss of two positions held by protected employees with seniority dating prior to January 1, 1988, and four positions held by unprotected employees.

1. Operation of Furlough Boards

Since 1991, employees have enjoyed priority entitlement to positions in their class of service, and since 1992 protected employees cannot be laid off, following the creation of furlough boards. In light of the positions presented by both parties and in order to protect these rights, the Arbitrator orders that the provisions of Article 91.4 b) of the Collective Agreement be modified. Application of any other references to the use of furlough board employees described in Article 91, such as in Article 91.8, shall be done in such a way so as to take employee classifications into consideration. This measure allows six unprotected employees from yard service to exercise their seniority to hold positions, notwithstanding the fact that there may be protected road service employees on the Quebec joint furlough board. The employees in question are:

Serge Laroche 839794

Benoît Petitclerc 839795

Gaétan Gosselin 839793

Richard Cloutier 839732

Manon Deslauriers 102113

Gilles Bouchard 103112

 

2. Number of Credits

The Company proposes establishing two credits for individual early retirement offers (Paragraph 79.10) or for lump sum severance payments (Paragraph 79.12). The Union asks that 12 credits be accorded.

The Arbitrator must opt for the number of credits offered by the Company. One must remember that the purpose of such credits is to promote the availability of active service positions. The two credits offered by the Company are in keeping with the fact that the change will result in the addition of two protected employees on the Quebec Terminal joint furlough board. In principle, the creation of two credits is therefore justified under the circumstances. Moreover, in any case, it does not appear contradictory that there are no employees at the Quebec Terminal who would be eligible for these credits.

3. Separation Allowance Formula

The parties agree, and the Arbitrator therefore rules, that if early retirement allowances are used, they shall be calculated using the VIA formula, as described in Paragraph 79.10 of the Collective Agreement and in Appendix 23 of the Unionís memorandum.

4. Deferred Separation Allowances - 48 and 50 Years of Age

The Arbitrator rules that it would not be appropriate to allow deferred separation allowances under the circumstances given the protection given to protected employees through the existence of furlough boards.

5. Maintenance of Earnings

The Arbitrator orders that the Company maintain the earnings of affected employees and of employees subject to a ripple effect. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 79.13 of the Collective Agreement, commencing on the date of this award.

6. Relocation Expenses

I prefer the Companyís position to that of the Union, which would make employees who voluntarily elect to move to another terminal eligible for relocation expenses. I rule that such entitlement be limited to employees obliged to move because they can no longer hold a position at the Quebec Terminal.

7. Transportation Allowances

I feel that this award must recognize the fact that employees who must regularly travel from the south shore to the north shore, and vice versa, are, to some extent, adversely affected. However, in light of the standards established at other terminal complexes such as Montreal and Toronto, a permanent allowance is not justified. I believe it would be fair to establish a transition period, after which time, employees would have to adjust to the change. I therefore rule the following:

For a period of two years, all employees named on the main line and Joffre and Limoilou Yard spare boards, as well as employees assigned to the furlough boards of both terminals on January 30, 1996, who are called for duty at the other terminal, or who complete their tour of duty at the other terminal, shall be entitled to remuneration, in the form of expenses, for thirty minutesí travelling time before and thirty minutesí travelling time after service at the other terminal.

8. Separation Payments

The Arbitrator cannot accept the Unionís position on severance payments within the context of the reorganization of operations in Quebec City. These are not major changes comparable to crew reductions or the implementation of the BELTPACK. I therefore rule that the Companyís position shall prevail with respect to severance payments.

9. Training to Qualify for Road or Yard Service

The Arbitrator orders the parties to meet shortly to identify those employees requiring training to carry out the duties to which they may be assigned at the new Quebec Terminal in road or yard service. These employees shall be entitled to 15 training tours of duty within a reasonable period of time. The Arbitrator shall maintain his jurisdiction if the parties fail to agree on the execution of this part of the award.

10. Familiarization Trips

Within the framework of the meetings and discussions referred to in Paragraph 9 of this award, the parties shall also identify employees requiring familiarization trips in yard service and accord them three paid familiarization trips on the territory in question. The Arbitrator shall maintain his jurisdiction to resolve any misunderstanding arising from the execution of the provisions of this paragraph.

11. Clothing Allowances

The Arbitrator agrees with the Companyís position. Given long-standing practices at other locations having more than one yard and where there are no clothing allowances, this request is unjustified.

The Arbitrator shall maintain his jurisdiction to resolve any conflict which arise from the execution or interpretation of this award.

Toronto, February 14, 1996

 

 

 

MICHEL G. PICHER

ARBITRATOR