AH – 450
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
St. Lawrence & Hudson Railway Company
Canadian Council of Railway Operating Unions [United Transportation Union & Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers]
The compensation claim of Locomotive Engineer A. Verner, Trois Rivières.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
On February 4, 1997, Mr. Verner attended at an investigation as an accredited union representative.
Mr. Verner subsequently submitted a claim, pursuant to article 19 of the collective agreement, for mileage, at the applicable collective agreement rate, between Trois Rivières and Montreal.
The Company declined payment.
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
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
The facts of this grievance are not in substantial dispute. Mr. Verner was called upon in his capacity as local chairman to represent employee Serge Couture during the course of a disciplinary investigation scheduled for February 14, 1997. It emerges from the evidence that Mr. Couture, who lives in Farnham, Quebec made a request of the Company’s officers that the investigation take place in Farnham. In the face of that request the Company’s officer countered that the Company would prefer that the matter be held in Montreal. As a result of that, the investigation was held in Montreal, which required Mr. Verner to travel to that location from Trois Rivières.
The Council relies on the fifth paragraph of a letter of understanding dated July 25, 1989 which reads as follows:
Anther concern raised by the General Chairmen was that investigations conducted at other than employee’s home terminals, due to the expanded Superintendents territories, put undue hardship on the employees. It was agreed that investigations should be conducted at the employee’s main home terminal to the extent possible. However, should a Superintendent whose office is at a distant terminal feel it is necessary for an investigation to be conducted in his office, the employee would be advised to appear at that point. When this is required, the Company will provide appropriate transportation for the employee and his representative where necessary. Furthermore, if an employee is required to stay overnight, the Company will furnish accommodation in the resthouse, or the equivalent thereof. You acknowledges, moreover, that should the employee desire another employee to appear as a witness on his behalf it would be his responsibility. In this regard, it was agreed that, should you consider that investigations are being held at other than the employee’s main home terminal for insufficient reasons, the matter may be referred to the General Manager by the General Chairman. Failing a resolve the Vice-President of the Union or his delegate may refer the matter to the office of the Vice-President, Industrial Relations.
The Arbitrator can understand the disagreement between the parties in this case. The Council, however, takes the position that the decision to hold the investigation in Montreal was ultimately made by the Company. The employer, on the other hand, is of the view that the location of Montreal was in fact initiated by the suggestion of Mr. Couture.
On balance, the Arbitrator is compelled to conclude that this is a situation that falls within the language of the letter of understanding. In the circumstances of the hearing being held in Montreal, ultimately at the Company’s preference, Mr. Verner was in fact required by the Company to be at that location. This is not, as the Company would suggest, a situation where Montreal was chosen at the request of the grievor Couture.
It does not appear disputed that the claim of $179.20 represents mileage for 320 km. at the collective agreement rate of 28 cents per kilometre. The grievance is therefore allowed and the Arbitrator directs the payment to Mr. Verner of the amount of $179.20.
Dated at Toronto November 4, 1997 (original signed by) MICHEL G. PICHER