IN the MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE, TRANSPORTATION AND GENERAL WORKERS UNION OF CANADA (CAW-CANADA)
re: LUMP SUM PAYMENT TO EACH EMPLOYEE WHO RELOCATES
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:
The payment of a lump sum to each employee who relocates as a result of the centralization of Customer Services including Carload and Waybill activities, at Winipeg.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
On February 17, 1995 CN served notice on CAW of their intention to abolish 320 positions system-wide and create 237 positions at the Customer Service Centre in Winnipeg.
The parties met pursuant to article 8.4 of article 8 of the Employment Security and Income Maintenance Agreement (ESIMA) and arrived at an agreement dated September 25, 1995.
The agreement states that employees required to relocate to Winnipeg will be entitled to relocation benefits as stipulated in article 6 of said agreement.
The Union argues that each employee who relocates is entitled to a separate lump sum payment in lieu of moving expenses, regardless of the fact that they may be living together. The Company believes that the agreement contemplates that only one lump sum payment per household is payable.
The Company denies any violation of the collective agreement or of the ESIMA.
For The Union: For The Company:
(signed) D. OLSHEWSKI (signed) S. GROU
FOR: NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR: DIRECTOR, LABOUR RELATIONS
The material before the Arbitrator establishes that the centralizing of customer service activities in Winnipeg occasioned the relocation of a number of employees, including several of whom were in spousal relationships. The Union asserts the position that when two employees who live together in the same household are compelled to relocate, they should separately have the benefit of relocation payments under article 6 of the ESIMA. It relies, in part, on article 1.2 of the collective agreement which defines employees as any employee holding seniority under this Agreement.
For reasons touched upon the award concerning the grievance of employee Lily Gallegos, heard on the same date as this matter, the Arbitrator cannot sustain the position of the Union. As is evident from the language of the Employment Security and Income Maintenance Agreement, the underlying purpose of the relocation provisions of article 6 is to relieve employees against the burden of moving their household when they are compelled to relocate as a result of technological, operational or organizational change implemented at the initiative of the Company. To allow for the same payment twice, in respect of a single household, where both spouses, or for that matter a parent and child or siblings, are employees of the Company equally affected by the article 8 notice, would clearly go beyond the purpose of the agreement as it was fashioned by the parties, and would create a windfall payment, or a pyramiding of benefits, the impact of which would be effectively discriminatory as compared to the treatment of other employees. I cannot accept the argument of the Union that providing the relocation allowance to only one of two employees who live in a spousal relationship within a single household is discrimination towards an employee on the basis of marital status. On the contrary, the making of a single payment ensures that all employees are treated alike in respect of the costs incurred in the moving of their household.
For the foregoing reasons the grievance must be dismised.
Dated at Toronto, this 5th day of March, 1997
(signed) MICHEL G. PICHER