AH – 420




(the “Company”)



(the “Union”)




SOLE ARBITRATOR:                Michel G. Picher



There appeared on behalf of the Company:

Brian F. Weinert                         Representative


And on behalf of the Union:

John Bechtel                             Representative



A hearing in this matter was held at Toronto on December 12, 1988.



The grievor, shuntman Derek Meadows, was suspended for two and a half days and assessed fifteen demerits for failing to obey a direct order.

The Arbitrator is satisfied on the material before him that on or about October 15, 1987 the grievor was using a spare tractor to do shunting work. When he was asked by supervisor Marcel Vaillant to return the keys to the tractor and use another vehicle for shunting, the grievor initially refused. While there appears to be some dispute between the parties with respect to whether the grievor told Mr. Vaillant that he needed the tractor for only a few more minutes, or whether he countermanded a direct order to return the keys forthwith, there can be no dispute that he did refuse to follow Mr. Vaillant’s clear directive. The Arbitrator must therefore find that the grievor so conducted himself that the Company had just cause for the imposition of discipline.

The issue then becomes the appropriate measure of discipline in the circumstances. The Company sought to characterize the incident as involving “two separate situations”, the first being the grievor’s refusal to obey the instruction of Mr. Vaillant and the second a verbal confrontation between the grievor and both Mr. Vaillant and Manager of Vehicle Services, Mr. Dave Goddard, when they both approached him to inquire into the reasons for his refusal to follow the earlier directive. The Arbitrator has considerable difficulty with that position. It appears to me that there was a single and continuing refusal on the part of Mr. Meadows to comply with Mr. Vaillant’s directive. I am satisfied that the imposition of fifteen demerits would be an appropriate measure of discipline in the circumstances. Normally no suspension would be justified. However, in the instant case it appears that since the grievor indicated that he would not return the keys to the tractor until the end of his shift, there was some justification in the Company suspending him in the middle of his shift on that day in order to secure the keys. I can see no justification, however, for the further two days of suspension which the grievor received in the circumstances. He is an employee of over twenty-four years’ service with no apparent record of similar conduct brought to the Arbitrator’s attention. In these circumstances the suspension of the grievor for a half day and the imposition of fifteen demerits is an appropriate measure of discipline. The grievor shall therefore be compensated forthwith for all wages and benefits lost in respect of the two further days for which he was suspended, and his record shall be amended to reflect a suspension for only the balance of his shift on October 15, 1987.

I retain jurisdiction in the event of any dispute between the parties with respect to the implementation or interpretation of this Award.

DATED at Toronto this 16th day of December, 1988.