IN the MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE, TRANSPORTATION AND GENERAL WORKERS UNION OF CANADA (CAW-CANADA)
re: RELOCATION ENTITLEMENT OF Mr. & MRS. gALLEGOS
Sole Arbitrator: Michel G. Picher
Appearing For The Union:
D. Olshewski National Representative, Winnipeg
A. Wepruk National Coordinator, Montreal
D. Zueff Local Chairman, Ste. Anne
G. Paradis Material Attendant, Winnipeg
R. Johnston Local Chairman, Montreal
J. Kostary Local Chairman
S. Pogorzelec President Local
R. Doherty Local Chairman, Winnipeg
P. Didine Senior Engineer Clerk, Winnipeg
Appearing For The Company:
D. A. Watson Labour Relations Consultant, Montreal
D.S. Fisher Director, Labour Relations, Montreal
S. Grou Manager, Labour Relations, Montreal
A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on Montreal, 10 February 1997.
At the hearing the parties filed the following Dispute and Joint Statement of Issue:
Relocation benefit entitlement to Mrs. L. Gallegos as a result of the Crew Management centralization.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
Both Mr. & Mrs. Gallegos relocated to Edmonton under the terms of an agreement reached on May 16, 1995, pursuant to discussions relative to article 8.4 of the ESIMA.
The Unions position is that both employees must be treated equally under the terms of the aforementioned agreement and believes the Company is in violation of the provisions of the negotiated settlement dated May 16,1 995 and articles 6, 7 and 8 of the ESIMA, with respect to relocations.
The Union requests that Mrs. Gallegos be granted $7,500 under article 4(b)(i) of the negotiated settlement dated May 16, 1995.
The Companys position is that the mere fact that a married couple both employed in the Crew Management Centre are affected by a transfer does not result in double benefits under the terms of article 6 of the ESIMA or the lump sum provision in the May 16, 1995 agreement.
The Company denies any violation of the collective agreement.
For The Union: For The Company:
(signed) D. OLSHEWSKI (signed) S. GROU
FOR: NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR: DIRECTOR, LABOUR RELATIONS
It is common ground that Lily and Rene Gallegos, who are husband and wife and reside together, are both Company employees who were relocated to Edmonton pursuant to the re-establishing at Edmonton of position previously held in the Crew Management Centre at Winnipeg. Mr. Gallegos applied for and was granted relocation benefits pursuant to article 6 of the Employment Security and Income Maintenance Agreement (ESIMA). Under that provision he is entitled to household relocation expenses, including reimbursement of up to $12,000.00 for any loss incurred on the sale of his home, as well as other benefits such as incidental expenses, transportation expenses and the possibility of an automobile allowance as well as the relocation of household goods. As an alternative to his election, which he did not choose, Mr. Gallegos could have opted for an $18,000.00 lump sum payment. Notwithstanding the payments made to Mr. Gallegos for the moving of the family household, his spouse, employee Lily Gallegos, nevertheless claims a separate right to relocation costs under the terms of the memorandum of agreement negotiated between the parties, dated May 16, 1995 pursuant to discussions concluded under article 8.4 of the ESIMA. Specifically, she seeks the payment of a lump sum of $7,500.00 under article 4(b)(i) of that agreement. Article 4 of the agreement of May 16, 1995 provides, in part, as follows:
4) b) An employee required to relocate to Edmonton who is not a homeowner will, provided the employee relocates their principal resident to the new location, be entitled to either of:
(i) A special lump sum relocation allowance of $7,5000.00 in lieu of all other benefits, or,
(ii) The benefits of article 6 of the Employment Security and Income Maintenance Agreement.
The Union submits that the grievor, as an employee covered by the terms of the ESIMA, as well as the agreement of May 16, 1995, is entitled to elect the payment of a lump sum relocation allowance of $7,500 in lieu of al other benefits. It submits that to deny her this payment is to penalize her for her status as the spouse of another employee who has received benefits under the ESIMA.
The Arbitrator cannot agree. Plainly, the relocation provisions of the ESIMA, as well as those of the memorandum of agreement of May 16, 1995, must be interpreted from a purposive standpoint. They are, it cannot be disputed, intended to assist in the relocation of the household of an employee who would, but for those protections, be compelled to bear the burden of such costs on his or her own. A strict reading of the terms of these documents might support the suggestion that a husband and wife, or parent and child, or siblings, who live within the same household and work for the Company might each be entitled to make their own separate claim, notwithstanding that they live in the same household. However, such interpretation grossly misconstrues the purpose and application of these provisions. From any purposive point of view, the payment of the same amounts to both spouses, for the costs incurred in the moving of a single household, is implicitly beyond the scope of what these protections were intended to address. I am persuaded that the provisions of the ESIMA and the memorandum of agreement must be construed in light of their fundamental intent, which is to provide fair compensation for costs incurred in the moving of a single household. It is in that context that they must be interpreted and applied. It appears to the Arbitrator that that intention is so patently obvious that the parties would not have felt the need to make special provisions to clarify their simple application to persons in the relation of husband and wife, parent and child, or siblings of the same household who are both employed by the Company and are both moved pursuant to the same article 8 notice. On the contrary, I am compelled to agree with the position of the Company that to allow the claim of Ms. Gallegos in light of the full payment of household moving costs made to her husband under the terms of article 6 of the ESIMA would clearly constitute a pyramiding of benefits which would be contrary to the intention of the parties as expressed in these documents.
For the foregoing reasons the grievance is dismissed.
Dated at Toronto, this 5th day of March, 1997
(signed) MICHEL G. PICHER