AH – 418




(the “Company”)



(the “Union”)




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..



This grievance concerns an allegation that a change in the time of a bulletined linehaul assignment is an operational or organizational change giving rise to the application of the Job Security Agreement. The Union’s Dispute and Joint Statement of Issue filed at the hearing is as follows:


The Company’s alteration of Bulletin L-24, Vancouver to Seattle, Mileage Rated Highway Vehicleman some ten (10) hours from it’s original starting time, which falls within the scope of the Technological, Operational, Organizational Change as contemplated within the Job Security Agreement, and NOT, the Collective Agreement as the Company contends.


The Union does not see where the Company could solely rely on the terms, under the provisions of Article 7 of the Collective Agreement, for their alteration of this Linehaul Bulletin.

The Union asserts that Article 7 of the Collective Agreement recognizes and allows for slight alterations to Bulletin positions; not changes of this aforestated magnitude.

The Union maintains that the Company knew that an Operational Change would be necessary for this Linehaul Bulletin, given their publication, IMAGES – September 1991 Edition, which subsequently ran an article identifying that this run (Vancouver to Seattle) would be changed from a 48 hour service to that of a 24 hour service.

The Union further asserts that even though the Company knew this Operational Change would occur, they refused to abide with the Union’s request for an Article V Notice in spite of the overwhelming evidence that employee/employees would be ADVERSELY AFFECTED because of this Linehaul service change.

To date, the Company has declined the Union’s request on this matter.

The facts are not in dispute. For a considerable period of time a linehaul run between Vancouver and Seattle commenced at 0700 hours. By Bulletin L20, dated May 24, 1991 the Company changed the hours of service whereby the linehaul run left the Port Coquitlam Terminal at 1900 hours. It appears that the incumbent in the position chose not to bid on the new bulletin, preferring to work daytime hours. In the result, it appears that he exercised his seniority to bid to a city job as a yard hostler in the Vancouver Yard. There does not appear to be any dispute between the parties that the employee in question could have exercised his seniority to another linehaul position, thereby maintaining the same level of earnings.

The Union submits that the change implemented by the Company is an operational or organizational change within the meaning of Article 5.1 of the Job Security Agreement. The Company, on the other hand, submits that what has transpired is a normal re-assignment of duties within the proviso of Article 5.7 of the same agreement. The provisions in question 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 principles and jurisprudence relating to the application of the above provisions have been thoroughly reviewed in several awards issued contemporaneously with this one, including awards relating to the abolishment of bulletined positions at Port Coquitlam  [AH-424] and the transfer of a linehaul run from Courtney to Nanaimo [AH-422]. The arbitrator’s comments in those cases need not be repeated here.

At issue is whether the change in question can be characterized as a “… normal re-assignment of duties arising out of the nature of the work in which the employees are engaged”. The Company submits that the change in the Seattle run falls clearly within the ambit of the foregoing phrase. The evidence before the Arbitrator discloses that the change made by the Company was solely for the purpose of improving the service to its clients between Vancouver and Seattle. It is common ground that prior to the change service to Seattle was on a 48-hour basis. The change implemented by the Company allowed it to provide 24-hour service in shipments between Vancouver and Seattle.

As a general matter the establishing and scheduling of linehaul runs is a matter which falls within the prerogatives of management, subject only to its obligation to respect the terms of the collective agreement, including such provisions as are found in Article 7 which govern the bulletining of positions. The Union has pointed to no provision in the collective agreement which limits the ability of the employer to make changes in its linehaul runs for the purposes of better servicing its clients in a competitive environment. Nor is there any representation on the part of its representatives to counter the submissions of the Company’s representatives that such changes are commonplace, and constitute a normal and necessary part of the business of an over-the-road common carrier.

In the Arbitrator’s view the change implemented by the Company with respect to the time of the Seattle run falls clearly within the scope of Article 5.7 of the Job Security Agreement. What transpired is, in my opinion, a normal re-assignment of duties arising out of the nature of the work in question. It is not, on any basis which can be found in the jurisprudence, an operational or organizational change within the contemplation of Article 5.1 of the Agreement (See CROA 332 & 1167).

For the foregoing reasons, the grievance must be dismissed.

DATED AT TORONTO, this 27th day of November, 1992.