AH – 417
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
CP EXPRESS & TRANSPORT
TRANSPORTATION COMMUNICATIONS UNION
GRIEVANCE RE PORT COQUITLAM/KAMLOOPS LINEHAUL RUN
SOLE ARBITRATOR: Michel G. Picher
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
Brian F. Weinert – Director, Labour Relations
Jeff Barrett – Linehaul Manager
And on behalf of the Union:
Jack Crabb – Executive Vice-President
Michael Flynn – Division Vice-President
A hearing in this matter was held at Toronto on November 22 & 23,1992.
The Union alleges that the cancellation of linehaul bulletin L-40, abolishing a linehaul run between Port Coquitlam and Kamloops is an operational and organizational change within the meaning of Article 5 of the Job Security Agreement. It submits that the Company violated the Agreement by failing to give notice when it made its decision to abolish the run, and by failing to provide the benefits of the agreement to employees adversely affected. The Company abolished the bulletin, held by employee M. Johnson, by virtue of a 4-working day notice which it maintains was in accordance with Article 7.3.7 of the collective agreement. The Dispute and Joint Statement of Issue as expressed by the Union are as follows:
A matter involving the cancellation of Linehaul bulletin L-40 (Port Coquitlam/Kamloops/Port Coquitlam) by the company without the issuance of an Article V Notice under T/O/O change provisions of the Job Security Agreement.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
The Union, during the grievance process, raised the cogent argument that it’s position should logically succeed given that the Company has regularly, since bulletin cancellation, dispatched a Port Coquitlam/Kamloops schedule (five days a week).
The Union contends it is clear and evident that the Company must adhere to the provisions of the Job Security Agreement because of this operational change. The Union maintains this bulletin was not cancelled due to the company indicating fluctuating or inconsistent traffic volumes; but solely because the company wished operational flexibility.
The Union maintains that this schedule has continued to depart regularly, which in itself, supports the Union’s position that the Company has enacted an operational change that has adversely affected bargaining unit employees.
To date, the Company has declined the Union’s request for the proper issuance of an Article V Notice in line with the Job Security Agreement.
At the hearing, it was disclosed that the linehaul run in question was re-bulletined effective September 15,1992, and that Mr. Johnson has re-bid to that position. The issue is confined, therefore, to a determination as to whether, for the period between July 30 and September 15,1992, the change in question fell within the provisions of Article 5.1 of the Job Security Agreement or within the exception of Article 5.7. Those provisions are as follows:
5.1 The Company will not put into effect any technological, operational or organizational change of a permanent nature 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.
5.7 The terms operational and organizational change shall not include normal reassignment of duties arising out of the nature of the work in which the employees are engaged nor to changes brought about by fluctuation of traffic or normal seasonal staff adjustments.
The thrust of the Union’s position is contained in a letter dated August 26, 1992, addressed to the Company’s vice-president and general manager for Western Canada by the division vice-president of the Union. It reads, in part, as follows:
RE: Port Coquitlam to Kamloops Bulletin Abolishment
The above noted bulletin (#L-40), held by employee M. Johnson, was abolished effective close of shift on July 30,1992 by virtue of a four working day notice posted in accordance with Article 7.3.7 of the Collective Agreement.
Since that time, the Kamloops destined traffic has continued to depart Port Coquitlam on the same five trips per week basis as before. The freight is now being pulled by either the Port Coquitlam Spareboard, CPET drivers domiciled in other terminals or outside contractors. Clearly, this bulletin was not abolished due to fluctuating or inconsistent freight volumes, but was abolished to permit the Company additional flexibility.
The fact that the schedule has continued to depart regularly supports the Union’s position that the Company has enacted an operational change of a permanent nature which has had an adverse effect on the employees involved. In failing to issue the appropriate three month notice, the Company has violated the Job Security Agreement.
Accordingly, the Union requests that the Company immediately issue a three month notice in accordance with Article 5 of the Job Security Agreement. The Union further requests that Mr. Johnson and all other employees ultimately affected by his initial exercise of seniority be fully compensated for all wages lost since July 31,1992.
As well, in view of the fact that the Kamloops schedule has departed Port Coquitlam regularly, the Union additionally requests that the Company immediately post a new bulletin as provided by Article 7.2.1 of the Collective Agreement. As well, in view of the fact that the Kamloops schedule has departed Port Coquitlam regularly, the Union additionally requests that the Company immediately post a new bulletin as provided by Article 7.2.1 of the Collective Agreement.
The Company submits that for a substantial period of time the volume of traffic between Port Coquitlam and Kamloops had become irregular, and had declined to the point which no longer justified maintaining a full-time bulletined position. On that basis, it submits that what transpired was a fluctuation in traffic, as that concept is understood within Article 5.7 of the Job Security Agreement, and that the cancellation of the bulletin was justified on that basis, and fell outside the purview of article 5.1 of the Agreement.
The material tendered in evidence tends to support the assertion of the Company. The evidence establishes, for example, that in the period between July 3 and August 3,1992 there were numerous occasions when Mr. Johnson was not assigned to the Kamloops run. It appears that with the cancellation of linehaul bulletin L-40, the Company determined that it could more efficiently service the Port Coquitlam Kamloops link by an assignment emanating from the Kamloops Terminal, rather than from Port Coquitlam. The Company does not dispute the change so implemented was an operational change. It argues, however, that it was necessitated by the need to respond to the lower volumes of traffic between Vancouver and Kamloops. When traffic volumes resumed in September, the linehaul run previously bid and held by Mr. Johnson was restored.
Upon a review of the evidence the Arbitrator is satisfied that the Company’s position is made out. There is nothing in the evidence before the Arbitrator to suggest, as the Union alleges, that spareboard and or contract operations continued to carry the same volume of work over the period in question. On the contrary, the thrust of the evidence before me is that there was a decline in the traffic between Vancouver and Kamloops which justified the adjustment made by the Company. In the circumstances, it was entitled to invoke the proviso of Article 5.7 of the Job Security Agreement. Even accepting, therefore, that an employee might have been adversely affected by the reduction in work, due to the ripple effect resulting from the displacement of Mr. Johnson, this is not a circumstance which falls within the contemplation of Article 5.1 of the Job Security Agreement.
For the foregoing reasons, the grievance must be dismissed.
DATED AT TORONTO, this 27th day of November, 1992.
(signed) MICHEL G. PICHER