AH – 449



St. Lawrence & Hudson Railway Company


Canadian Council of Railway Operating Unions [United Transportation Union & Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers]


Failure to negotiate with the Union measures to minimize the significantly adverse effects of the proposed change on locomotive engineers, pursuant to article 32 due to the abolishment of assignment 409.


By bulletin number 10, dated May 7, 1996, assignment 409 was abolished at St. Luc and assignment 402 was established at St. Martin.

Assignment 409 services St. Martin and also works between Montreal and Trois Rivières on Sundays. This assignment is also the pool for service between Montreal and Quebec City.

The Union contends that this change, initiated solely by the Company, will result in materially adverse effects on locomotive engineers at Montreal.

It is the position of the Canadian Council of Railway Operating Unions (BLE), that the Company is required to service notice and negotiate provisions to minimize the adverse effects as per article 32.

The Company maintains that this change is not a material change in working conditions and article 32 has no application.

FOR THE COUNCIL:                                 FOR THE COMPANY:

(SGD.) R. S. McKENNA                              (SGD.) G. CHEHOWY

GENERAL CHAIRMAN                                                      FOR: DISTRICT GENERAL MANAGER

There appeared on behalf of the Company:

G. Chehowy                                      – Manager, Labour Relations, Toronto

M. Oliphant                                       – Labour Relations Officer, Toronto

J. H. Blotsky                                      – Manager, Operations

B. Yeandle                                         – Road Manager

G. Deciccio                                        – Road Manager

And on behalf of the Council:

R. S. McKenna                                 – General Chairman, Barrie

B. Brunet                                           – Local Chairman, Blainville

A. Verner                                            – Local Chairman, Grande Piles

R. McLellan                                      – Local Chairman, Chateauguay

A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on Monday, November 3, 1997



It is common ground that by bulletin number 10, dated May 7, 1996, assignment 409 was abolished at St. Luc yard. Assignment 409 previously headquartered in St. Luc yard saw its work transferred to Ste-Thérèse. It appears that to rationalize its operations the Company transferred certain of the work to train 402, which now brings traffic to St. Martin and also by the assignment of certain work to train 201, which is a Ste-Thérèse train.

In this matter the burden remains upon the Council to establish that there has been a material change within the meaning of article 32 of the collective agreement. As appears on the basis of the evidence before me, what the Company has done is to transfer work essentially within the Montreal terminal by abolishing train 409 and re-assigning certain of the work from that train to both trains 402 and 201. The language of article 32 makes it clear that a relocation of main home terminals constitutes a material change in working conditions. However the collective agreement is also clear as to what constitutes home terminals of employees, as distinguished from the home terminals of assignments. In this case it is not disputed that St. Martin and Ste-Thérèse are outposts of the Montreal terminal. What has transpired, in the result, is the reassignment of work within the Montreal terminal to achieve greater efficiencies. For the reasons related in prior award, including CROA 332, 1444 and 2893, it is well established that it remains the prerogative of the Company to make such changes of assignment, without necessarily invoking the material change provisions of the collective agreement. On the basis of what is before me I cannot find otherwise than that that is what has occurred. To put the matter differently, the Company’s actions would fall within the exceptions of sub-paragraph (g) as being the normal “reassignment of work … inherent in the nature of the work in which engineers are engaged.” For all of the above reasons this grievance must be dismissed.

Dated at Toronto November 4, 1997                                                               (original signed by) MICHEL G. PICHER