ad hoc 408
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
- and -
CANADIAN COUNCIL OF RAILWAY OPERATING UNIONS (U.T.U.)
GRIEVANCE REGARDING REDUCTION OF CREW CONSIST - GO PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE
ARBITRATOR: Michel G. Picher
APPEARING FOR THE COMPANY:
K. Peel – General Counsel, Toronto
A.E. Heft – Manager, Labour Relations, Toronto
P.E. Marquis – Labour Relations Officer, Toronto
D. Nunns – Superintendent, GO Operations, Toronto
D. Coughlin – Director, Labour Relations, Montreal
M. Stock – Labour Relations Assistant, Toronto
T. Ovell – Senior Manager, Operating Practices, Toronto
L. Veit – Technical Projects Supervisor, Willowbrook
Mike Baerthel – Senior Consultant, SHL Systemhouse, Toronto
Paul Johannsson – Director Rail Services, GO Transit
B. Butterworth – Observor, Toronto
APPEARING FOR THE UNION:
Michael A. Church – Counsel
P. Gregotski – General Chairperson, CN and VIA Lines Central (Road)
Rex Beatty – Vice General Chairperson
Gerry Binsfeld – Secretary
M. Hayes – President Local 483, Toronto
S. Polley – Local Chairperson, Local 483, Toronto
J. Michael Hone – Vice President and Research Director, Ottawa
Donald A. Warren – General Chairperson, CP Lines East, Toronto
John W. Armstrong – General Chairperson, CN & VIA-West, Edmonton
Guy Scarrow – General Chairperson, Sarnia
Hearings in this matter were held in Toronto on February 29, March 26, April 4 and 16, 1996.
A W A R D
This is an arbitration in respect of the intention of the Company to reduce the crew consist of the conductors and assistant conductors working in passenger service on GO Transit trains in Toronto and the surrounding area. The Company seeks to reduce the crews on all GO trains from the present two-person crew, consisting of a conductor and assistant conductor, to a conductor-only crew on all trains, by eliminating the position of assistant conductor.
The parties’ collective agreement contains Addendum No. 63, an agreement dated August 27, 1982 which originally dealt with the implementation of reduced crews in passenger service effective October 31, 1982. Paragraph six of that Addendum, which has been carried forward to the present, deals with the procedures to be followed should the Company wish to further reduce crews in passenger service, including measures for the resolution of any ultimate dispute with respect to the reduction of crews by arbitration. It provides, in part, as follows:
6. The following provisions will apply if further reductions in passenger crew consists are required, except if such reductions are made pursuant to the VIA Special Agreement of July 7, 1978:
(a) The Company shall notify the General Chairman and the Local Chairman of the Union in writing of its desire to meet with respect to reaching agreement on a reduction in the crew consist provided by Article 7 for crews governed thereby.
(b) Reductions in the consist of a crew or crews, as the case may be, shall be subject to the two conditions set forth hereunder:
(i) that adequate safety can be maintained with the proposed crew consist reduction; and
(ii) that such reduction will not result in undue burden being placed on the reduced crews.
(c) The time and place for the Company and Union representatives to meet shall be agreed upon within 15-calendar days from the date of the notice referred to in paragraph 6(a) and the Parties shall meet within 21-calendar days of the date of such notice. The time limits specified in this paragraph may be extended by mutual agreement between the Parties.
(d) The meeting shall be limited to a determination of whether or not the two conditions set forth in paragraph 6(b) can be met with the proposed crew consist reduction. If the Parties do not reach agreement or if the meeting referred to herein does not take place, the Company may, by so advising the General Chairman and the Local Chairman in writing, commence a survey period of one-calendar week for the operations concerned, during which Union representatives may observe such operations. The survey period shall commence not less than ten and not more than 20-calendar days from the date of the Company’s advice with respect to the survey period.
(e) If, after completion of the survey period, the Union fails to agree that the two conditions set forth in paragraph 6(b) can be met with the propose crew consist reduction, they will, within 60-calendar days of the completion of the survey period, give the Company specific reasons in writing why, in their opinion, such conditions cannot be met. The Company may, by so advising the General Chairman in writing, refer the dispute or any part thereof to arbitration.
The jurisdiction of this tribunal is to determine whether the Company’s proposal is in conformity with subparagraphs 6(b)(i) and (ii). The issue to be resolved, therefore, is whether the Company’s GO train operations can be operated on a conductor-only basis in such a way, as proposed by the Company, as to maintain adequate safety and in a way which does not cause undue burden being placed on the employees who would serve in conductor-only crews.
The Company gave notice to the Union on September 14, 1995 of its intention to reduce the two-person crews on GO trains to a conductor-only system. Pursuant to the provisions of Addendum 63, the Union requested the conducting of a survey, which was done, being completed on November 3, 1995. The Union takes the position before the arbitrator that the Company has not met the requirements of item 6(b) of Addendum 63, arguing that the conductor-only operation cannot be introduced in such a way as to maintain adequate safety and, secondly, that the proposed reduction would result in an undue burden on the reduced crews. The Company submits that the standards of the addendum have been met, based on the evidence of the survey as well as the experience of what it maintains are comparable commuter train services operated on a conductor-only basis elsewhere in Canada and the United States.
The GO train system is part of GO Transit, a regional public transportation system with bus and train service operated by the Province of Ontario in Metropolitan Toronto and five surrounding regions. It is said to serve a population of 4.5 million people in an area of some 3,000 square miles.
GO train service operates on six separate routes, five of which, representing 96% of the passenger service, are serviced by CN Rail on a contractual basis with GO Transit. The rail corridors serviced by CN are the Lakeshore corridor, between Hamilton and Oshawa, as well as separate corridors to Georgetown, Bradford, Richmond Hill and Stouffville. A sixth commuter corridor to Milton is operated for GO Transit by CP Rail, and is not the subject of this dispute.
The GO train system is one of the largest suburban commuter rail services in North America. CN’s portion of the GO rail system accounts for some 135 GO trains operating each day, carrying an estimated 78,500 commuters. Trains are operated from either end, with locomotives either pushing or pulling the train, depending on the direction being travelled. Train consists generally range from 6 to 10 coaches, although 12 coaches are used on certain rush hour trains in the Lakeshore corridor.
Originally, GO trains were unilevel coaches serviced by a three-person train crew, in addition to two locomotive engineers. In 1972, the reduced crew system of conductor and assistant conductor was introduced, following a decision of Arbitrator Weatherill in CROA 344. That reduction appears to have involved what was then service from Pickering to Hamilton on what is now part of the Lakeshore corridor, and was determined under what was then Article 73-A of the collective agreement which mandated the same requirements of adequate safety and undue burden. In allowing that reduction, Arbitrator Weatherill reasoned as follows:
In the instant case, the Company seeks reduction of the crew on locomotive-powered “GO” transit trains to one conductor and one brakeman. Such crew consist, it may be noted, is presently used on the three-unit, self-propelled cars in the same service. Locomotive-powered trains are utilized during peak periods, and carry substantially more passengers, and consist of up to ten cars.
As presently constituted, the train crew of a locomotive-powered “GO” transit train is deployed as follows: one member is in the forward car, one in the rear car, and one about the middle of the train. If the crew consist is reduced, the Company proposes to assign one crew member to the rear car, and one to the middle of the train. The questions to be determined are to what extent this will affect the maintenance of adequate safety, and to what extent is will result in an undue burden being placed on the remaining members of the crew. To deal briefly with the second question first, it may be said that the elimination of the crew member riding in the forward car would not appear to have any effect whatever on the duties required of crew members riding in other cars. It may be noted that the train crew has no duties in respect of ticket sales or collection; that train doors are centrally controlled; and that there are no vestibule platforms to raise or lower for passengers to entrain or detrain.
The major point raised by the Union is as to safety. In this regard, it is noted that substantial numbers of passengers are carried on these trains, which are in the nature of “Commuter” trains. It is said, no doubt correctly, that there is a great deal of crowding, rushing and jostling at some stations, as passengers hurry to get in or out of the train. Apart from the matter of control of the doors, which occupies one person, the role of the train crew is essentially one of surveillance. Having regard to the great number of commuters involved, the very small size of the train crew, and the overall nature of the operation, it is my view that the determining factors from the point of view of passenger safety are what may be described as “design” features. In this respect, the centralized control of doors, the absence of vestibule stairs which require any manipulation, the “door interlock” train start system and indeed the automatic control of heating and air conditioning, all go to reduce the need for train crew to a minimum. Platform crowding of passengers is not, in my view, a matter with respect to which the reduction of the train crew from three to two would have any observable effect.
It is my conclusion that the crew may be reduced with maintenance of adequate safety. Accordingly, the request of the Company is allowed.
The Company submits that changes in equipment now justify the reduction of GO train crews to a conductor-only system. All coaches are now bi-level, rather than unilevel as was the case in the 1970s. It cites a number of design elements common to all bi-level coaches which enhance passenger and crew safety, including such elements as external and internal emergency door release pull rings, a passenger assist strip alarm, emergency windows and emergency window release pull rights, fire extinguishers, first aid kits and smoke and heat detectors, to name a few.
The principal change which the Company submits justifies a conductor-only operation involves the introduction of relocated door controls on cars made accessible for the physically disabled. Each train has a modified coach, placed in the fifth position, which contains riding areas for wheelchairs and other mobility vehicles utilized by the disabled. The conductor-only crew member would deploy a 26 lb. aluminium bridge plate at stations equipped with a special disabled access-ramp or mini-platform. This would allow the disabled to entrain and detrain without assistance from the conductor, it being understood that should assistance be needed it is the customer’s responsibility to provide it. In other words, in keeping with the policy of GO Transit of operating a “self serve transit system”, members of the train crew are not to provide direct assistance, beyond the placement of the bridge plate, for disabled patrons. Some 23 station platforms are said to be equipped with the disabled access mini-ramps.
Previously, door control panels were located only on the upper level of all bi-level coaches, at what is described as the “A” end. Recently, to allow for the introduction of conductor-only operations, a modified door control panel has been relocated to a second position on the lower level, at either side of the disabled accessibility coach. As this position is located at the “A” end of the fifth coach, it is generally referred to as the “5A” position.
The new door control position allows a single conductor to control the doors of the train from a lower level position where he or she can also deploy the wheelchair bridge plate. The position also has a speaker unit, in the form of a telephone on an extended cord, which allows the conductor to step out onto the platform with the speaker in hand, to ensure that all passengers have boarded, and that all doors are clear prior to re-entering and closing the doors. These innovations allow the conductor to operate the public address system and maintain surveillance while opening and closing the doors and deploying and retracting the wheelchair bridge plate, as needed. The 5A position also has an intercom system for private conversation between the engine crew and the conductor or train crew. In addition, the control stations also have a buzzer-type communication signal which allows the train crew to communicate signals to the engine crew. Further, cellular telephones are being introduced both in the cab control car, being the car located furthest from the locomotive, which becomes the lead car when the train is travelling in “push” mode, as well as in the disabled accessibility coach.
Under present conditions, before the implementation of the conductor-only system, crewing consists are comprised of one conductor, one assistant conductor and two locomotive engineers. When the train in travelling so that the locomotive is in the lead, both engineers are situated in the locomotive cab. When the direction is opposite, with the locomotive pushing, a single engineer controls the movement from a position in the cab control car, while the second locomotive engineer remains positioned in the trailing locomotive. The conductor and assistant conductor work in the body of the train, with the person responsible for the operation of the doors positioned in the upper level, generally toward the rear of the train. That individual normally makes announcements, as well as operating all doors. The second employee is normally in position for the deployment of the bridge plate at the 5A location, at stations equipped with an access ramp. Generally, at station stops, the second crew member steps out onto the platform to observe passengers leaving and boarding the train, using hand signals to communicate the all-clear to the employee operating the doors. It is also the duty of the second crew member to patrol the train while enroute between stations.
Neither the conductor nor the assistant conductor is responsible for collecting or verifying fares. GO trains operate on an honour basis, referred to as a “proof of payment” system, with the payment of fares being verified on a random or occasional basis by GO Transit fare Enforcement Officers, who are employed by GO Transit and not CN. The Enforcement Officers are estimated by the Company to travel on 42% of trains, based on a recent two-week survey. It is not disputed that they may, however, travel on a given train for only a relatively short distance. The Company does not take issue with the Union’s suggestion that their random ticket checking generally touches no more than 5% of patrons.
Much of the dispute between the parties, in respect of the issues of adequate safety and burden, relates to the ability of the single member of a reduced crew to perform adequate patrolling functions. The Company stresses that a substantial degree of patrolling is performed by the GO Enforcement Officers and that the conductor-only crew member will still be able to perform a certain degree of patrolling in other cars, leaving and returning to the 5A position as his or her movement travels between stations. The Company stresses that the number of alarm incidents recorded during the calendar year 1995 indicates that the burden of patrolling and the need to render assistance to passengers is relatively limited. During that period, when ridership exceeded 20 million patrons, there were some 234 recorded incidents in which the passenger alarm strip was activated. Twenty-eight of those incidents resulted in the need for medical assistance, while 11 required some other form of assistance. Eighty-five of the reported incidents involved false alarms attributed to passengers, with a further 56 false alarms being attributed to defects in wirings or other mechanical breakdowns. The Company submits that the need to patrol the train and to respond to passenger-generated alarms can be adequately met in conductor-only service.
The Union takes a substantially different position on the issues of safety and burden. Firstly, as a general matter, the Union questions the assertion of the Company that a crew member will be entirely uninvolved in assisting disabled passengers. While the Union does not challenge the Company’s right to establish a “self serve” operation for the disabled, it argues that there will inevitably be circumstances in which practical necessity, if not basic human compassion, will compel crew members to involve themselves in giving a measure of assistance to the disabled boarding or leaving the accessibility car. It submits that the prospect of a single conductor paying virtually no attention to disabled passengers attempting to board or leave the train, sometimes in hectic conditions at busy train stations, including Union Station during rush hour periods, is less than realistic. The Union also questions the ability of a conductor-only crew member to respond to passenger-generated strip alarms in cars which are remote from the 5A position, particularly if the alarms occur immediately before or during a station stop.
The Union seriously questions the safety of passengers and crew and the working burden which will be placed upon conductor-only crews. It stresses that the GO train service can be extremely hectic during rush hours, when GO trains carry in excess of 2,000 passengers on each train, as well as during the running of special event trains for rock concerts and sporting events on the Lakeshore line when, by its estimate, trains can carry up to 4,000 passengers on a “standing room only” basis. When comparing the circumstances today to what obtained at the time of the prior arbitration award reducing the crews from three to two persons, the Union stresses that GO train operations have grown substantially, with more routes, more trains, larger trains with more passengers, more stops and, most critically, more crowded conditions.
Extensive evidence was placed before the arbitrator during the hearing, which extended over several days. This included evidence gathered by the parties during the course of the survey which occurred between October 23 and November 3, 1995. Further, the arbitrator was provided extensive information with respect to the crewing of commuter passenger trains in other metropolitan centres in Canada and the United States. The Company first drew to the arbitrator’s attention comparisons with the Mon-Train commuter service operated by CN Rail in Montreal, which utilizes a total crew of one locomotive engineer and one conductor, as well as with the commuter system operated in Vancouver by CP Rail, utilizing equipment identical to equipment used in GO service, also operating with a single locomotive engineer and a single conductor. Additionally, conductor-only services utilizing the same bi-level equipment in San Diego and Los Angeles were referred to. Further evidence was provided, by both parties, with reference to commuter train service in a number of other large metropolitan areas, including Boston, New York (Long Island, Metro North and New Jersey), Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. - Virginia, Maryland, Miami, Chicago, San Jose and San Francisco.
The arbitrator encouraged the parties to provide information with respect to comparable commuter operations, to the extent that such data might provide some insight into general industry standards and general norms of relationship between crewing and the factors of safety and employee burden. Also, mindful of the heavy volumes of commuter passengers carried by the GO train system, the tribunal considered it especially advantageous to have as much information as possible with respect to operations in metropolitan areas comparable to Metropolitan Toronto.
All of the above comparisons have been closely considered. It should be stressed that it is difficult to make easy comparisons between any two commuter train systems, by reason of a number of variables which can come into play. An important variable is the nature of equipment. Certain systems utilize unilevel cars while others, like the GO service, use bi-level coaches. On certain systems, cars require the lowering of vestibule stairs or traps at station stops by crew members, an operation not required with the centrally-controlled door opening system of the GO trains. Another important variable is the volume of passenger traffic, and the related elements of the number of passengers per car and the number of cars per train. Distances travelled and the frequency of station stops are also factors which vary from one system to another. Among the most important distinctions is the involvement of crew members, or their non-involvement, in either selling or checking tickets and passes. In systems where revenue collection is part of the duties of a conductor or assistant conductor, two- and three-person crews tend to be more common, although that is not exclusively the case. In some systems, as for example the suburban New York and Connecticut service of the Metro North system, on-board crews can vary from one to three persons, depending on the time of day and location of a train.
The Union takes strong exception to the position of the Company that no added risk to safety would flow from converting to conductor-only operations in all aspects of GO service. It stresses that conductor-only crews are not the norm in passenger services generally. In this regard, it draws to the arbitrator’s attention the recent award of the Mediation-Arbitration Commission chaired by Mr. Justice McKenzie in respect of VIA Rail Canada and its running trades employees. Under that award, VIA can operate on a conductor-only basis only where there are three coaches or fewer in a given train. In a train comprised of four to six coaches, an assistant conductor is required, with a second assistant being added to passenger trains in excess of six coaches. It also notes that in the United States the standard Amtrack collective agreement, which governs a number of commuter services, requires multi-person crews, also depending on the length of the train. The Union’s counsel argues that in those U.S. locations where conductor-only operations are found in commuter train service, ridership is generally lower as, for example, in Miami, where an assistant conductor works in the locomotive along with a single engineer, or in Los Angeles. The Union’s counsel stresses that by its estimate, the GO train system serving Metropolitan Toronto is among the five busiest commuter passenger train systems in North America, exceeded only by New Jersey, New York (Metro North), New York (Long Island) and Chicago, on the basis of ridership.
The Union adduced evidence through employees to give substance to its submissions with respect to the factors of adequate safety and the burden on employees in the event of a conductor-only system. Its witnesses related their own experiences, which include incidents of assault by passengers upon conductors and assistant conductors during GO train service, and their involvement in breaking up assaults or fights among passengers either on a train or at a station. Experiences were also related involving collisions, derailments and passenger evacuations. These included the collision of a GO train running empty, incidents involving level crossing accidents, the striking of pedestrians or persons attempting suicide and the evacuation of trains and transfer of passengers to a second train at a location between stations. During the course of the employees’ testimony, reference was also made to the stress experienced by conductors and assistant conductors on duty in special trains, which operate on the Lakeshore line, to service rock concerts and sporting events. The witnesses suggest, very candidly, that the exposure of a single conductor to crowded cars of high-spirited rock concert and sports fans without the back-up of an assistant conductor is not a prospect which they relish.
Counsel for the Company stresses that none of the types of emergency or extraordinary circumstance raised in the course of the Union’s evidence occurred during the survey, involving some 705 train trips. He notes that there were no instances where crew members were required to stop their trains and conduct protective flagging, no instances where the evacuation of a train was required and only 19 recorded instances of emergency calls being made by way of the strip alarm system. He further notes that the alarms did not, in fact, involve any need for emergency assistance and were for various causes, including apparent malfunctions, false alarms and the activation of the system by passengers who were on the wrong train or might have missed their stop by falling asleep.
I turn to consider the merits of the competing positions advanced by the parties. At the outset, I believe it is significant to recognize that the GO commuter train system serving the Metropolitan Toronto area is among the largest to be found in North America, from the standpoint of numbers of trains and the volume of ridership. By the Company’s own estimate, that portion of GO train corridors which it services would account for more than 20 million passengers annually, calculated only on a Monday to Friday basis. When considering the factor of train frequency and passenger volumes, it is, I think, important to distinguish between the Lakeshore line running between Hamilton and Oshawa on the one hand, and the less busy commuter lines operating between Union station and the destinations of Georgetown, Bradford, Richmond Hill and Stouffville. Finally, in making comparisons with the crewing arrangements which are found in other commuter train services, whether in comparable metropolitan areas or areas with lower ridership, it is important to bear in mind the factors of the number of cars in a train consist, the nature of the equipment and the involvement of crews, or their non-involvement, in revenue collection.
In the arbitrator’s view, the evidence of Mr. Paul Johannsson, Director of Rail Services for GO Transit, provides useful insight into the workings of the GO train system and its comparability to systems elsewhere. He relates that the GO Transit Enforcement Officers, who are sworn as peace officers and carry batons and radios, work in pairs, on eight-hour tours of duty, randomly patrolling trains in the GO system. While it is not denied that the presence of the 36 officers so employed is random and sporadic throughout the trains, they can nevertheless have significant impact on safety and security. Mr. Johannsson relates one incident, apparently during the Caribana Festival, when a crew member was accosted by a passenger, and was immediately assisted by the GO Transit Enforcement Officers who were then present.
Mr. Johannsson has had the opportunity to experience other commuter train systems. He stresses that the system operating in Vancouver, using equipment identical to GO train equipment, is directly comparable to the service which GO Transit operates on the lines to Georgetown, Richmond Hill, Stouffville and Bradford. He notes, for example, that the service to Stouffville and Bradford typically involves six-car trains, while Georgetown trains are comprised of seven to eight cars, with Richmond Hill trains being six to nine cars. When regard is had to the number of trains operating morning and evening, and the overall ridership on those lines, he makes the point that there is little to distinguish them from Vancouver, where a conductor-only system is in place.
Mr. Johannsson readily recognizes that those lines represent some 30 percent of GO train ridership. By his estimate, the east and west Lakeshore routes account for some 67,000 of the 95,000 passengers travelling on the GO train system during any given weekday. It is common ground that the trains on the Lakeshore system are longer, being generally comprised of 10 to 12-car consists. It is proposed that the consist of cars on the Lakeshore system would number 10 cars in conductor-only service.
The arbitrator accepts the comments of Mr. Johannsson as they relate to comparisons between the Vancouver service and the northern branches of the Toronto GO train service. In addition to the Vancouver comparison, the Metro Link system operating in Los Angeles is instructive. There, as in Toronto, passengers travel on a proof of payment system, in bi-level equipment which is identical to that operating on GO transit. The train consists generally are four to six cars, operated on a conductor-only basis, in accordance with a special agreement negotiated between Amtrack and the United Transportation Union, dated July 16, 1991. In the arbitrator’s view, an examination of Metro Link, supported to some extent by a comparison with the tri-rail system in Miami, where old GO transit cars are used in six-car consists with only one crew member in the cars, also under a proof of payment system, tends to confirm the position advanced by the Company, at least to the extent of demonstrating that a conductor-only system can operate with adequate safety, and without undue burden to the employees, in those commuter passenger lines of the GO train system where there are fewer trains, fewer stops and trains comprised of fewer cars.
On the whole, however, the same cannot be said of the Lakeshore line. The east and west branches of that line run through a corridor which is also occupied by some of the busiest freight traffic in the region. More significantly, the size of trains, being comprised of 10 cars in peak hours of weekday travel, coupled with the number of passengers transported on the Lakeshore system, give the arbitrator substantial pause as to the overall safety of the proposed conductor-only system in that corridor. The evidence also establishes that special trains for rock concerts and sporting events, which number approximately 120 in a year, operate exclusively in the Lakeshore corridor. I am satisfied, on the basis of the evidence before me, that those trains do involve a particular degree of risk and burden to the crews compelled to operate them.
On the whole, the arbitrator has substantial concerns the feasibility of operations, having regard to the standards of adequate safety and undue burden, if conductor only service is instituted according to the conditions proposed in the Lakeshore corridor. The factors such as the number of trains operating in that zone, including trains other than passenger trains, the number of station stops required, the number of passengers carried on a daily basis, with as many as 4,000 passengers in trains made up of 10-car consists, leaves considerable doubt as to the viability of operating with a single crew member on board. In the arbitrator’s view, the comments made by Arbitrator Weatherill in 1972 about the importance of surveillance by GO train crews is no less valid today. Implicit in that is the equally important ability to respond responsibly to unforeseen or emergency circumstances. From the standpoint of safety, the single conductor’s ability to be responsible for overseeing the movement of his or her train in busy territory, patrolling cars and responding to passenger emergencies and dealing, on occasion, with unforeseeable events such as accidents or delays which require flagging or the evacuation of a train between stations, including disabled passengers, leaves room for considerable concern. The arbitrator has equal concerns for the burden placed upon the employee required to work alone under the pressures of high passengers volumes, as well as other factors which come to bear in the busy Lakeshore corridor. If, in fact and in law, the duties of an engineer in passenger service were little more than those of a door attendant, the Company’s proposal might be viable. In fact, however, the conductor is, by federal regulation, compelled to oversee the safe operation of his or her train, and to be responsible for its passengers and crew. There are reasons for genuine concern as to whether those important functions can be accomplished safely and without undue burden given the circumstances presently operating within the confines of the Lakeshore corridor west to Hamilton from Union Station and eastward to Whitby and Oshawa. While, as experience elsewhere indicates, it may be feasible to operate fewer trains with smaller consists of cars in the quieter environs of the northern branches of the GO train system, without any substantial jeopardy to safety and without placing an undue burden upon the single crew member so assigned, even in circumstances of occasional emergencies, the arbitrator is not persuaded that the same can be said of the very different territory which is the Lakeshore corridor.
For the foregoing reasons, the application is allowed, in part. The arbitrator finds and declares that the proposal of the Company is in conformity with the standards of adequate safety and the avoidance of undue burden contemplated in paragraph 6(b) of Addendum #63 to the collective agreement only as it relates to the commuter services operated by the Company for GO train services in the Georgetown, Bradford, Richmond Hill and Stouffville corridors. The application must, however, be dismissed as it relates to the corridors of Lakeshore West to Hamilton and Lakeshore East to Whitby North and Oshawa. The granting of the application in respect of the northern branch lines is, however, subject to the Company honouring the conditions undertaken before the arbitrator with respect to minimizing problems due to sight line restrictions at the two station platforms of Bradford and Milliken. The arbitrator’s approval is granted on the understanding that the practice at those locations will be to open only the coach doors at the 5A door and on the doors of the sixth coach, so as to give the conductor a sufficient view of all open doorway thresholds.
The arbitrator retains jurisdiction in the event of any dispute between the parties with respect to the interpretation or implementation of this award.
DATED at Toronto this 22nd day of July, 1996.
(signed) Michel G. Picher - Arbitrator