IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS
SYSTEM COUNCIL NO. 11
GRIEVANCE RE TRAVEL ALLOWANCE
Sole Arbitrator: Michel G. Picher
Appearing For The
M. A. Church – Counsel,
L. Couture – International Representative,
B. Strong – Sr. General Chairman
Y. Séguin – General Chairman
T. Kaye – Member
Appearing For The Company:
B. Lockerby – Labour Relations Officer,
K. Hein – Labour Relations Officer,
G. Mullally – Manager, S&C Construction
A hearing in this matter was
The Company’s refusal to pay employees’ expenses when travelling on their scheduled days off.
UNION’S STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
Commencing in 2001, the Company has refused to pay employees’ expenses when travelling on their normal scheduled days off.
The Brotherhood advanced a policy grievance on behalf of all employees whose claims under articles 6.1 and 6.2 were denied by the Company. The Brotherhood contends that the expense claims have been improperly denied to date.
The Company denies the Brotherhood’s contentions and declines the Brotherhood’s request.
The Company’s statement reads as follows:
The Company’s refusal to pay employees’ “expenses” when travelling on their scheduled days off.
COMPANY’S STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
In 2002 the Brotherhood advanced a policy grievance on behalf of all employees whose claims under articles 6.1 and 6.2 of Wage Agreement No. 1 were denied by the Company.
The Company contends: (1) that, as a preliminary matter, the grievance itself, Step 1 submitted in December of 2001, is rendered inarbitrable due to the inordinate delay in advancing the case to arbitration and as such the doctrine of laches must apply and the grievance must fail for that reason alone; (2) articles 6.1 and .2 of agreement no. 1 have absolutely no application to the case at hand; (3) Appendix 5 of wage agreement no. 1 provides clear and concise contract language directly relevant to the case at hand.
As is reflected
in the foregoing, the Company has raised an objection to the arbitrability of
this grievance. It maintains that in fact the grievance was first filed in
2001, and that it has effectively been abandoned by the Union or,
Given the disposition of this grievance on its merits, while the Arbitrator can appreciate the Company’s perspective of the handling of the grievance over time, I deem it unnecessary to make any ruling with respect to the issue of arbitrability.
submits that although the instant grievance may have originated as a meal
expenses claim for employee Vernon Irwin and employees who travelled to Thunder
Article 6 – Travelling on Orders of the Railway
6.1 Employees will be paid for time travelling in boarding and sleeping cars, on order of the Railway, under the following conditions only:
(i) During regular working hours; or
(ii) Between 0001 hours and 0600 hours provided the employees concerned have to work that day; or
(iii) Between 0600 and 2200 hours on a regularly assigned rest day or on a general holiday.
Payment under the foregoing conditions shall be at straight time.
When practicable to do so, boarding and sleeping cars shall be moved at times other than between 2300 hours and 0600 hours.
6.2 Employees taken off their assigned territory or regular boarding outfits, will be compensated for boarding and lodging expenses they necessarily incur. This will apply to employees (exclusive of block signal S&C maintainers in their assigned territory) when taken away from their assigned headquarters. Where temporary relief work is performed under the requirements of Clauses 9.06.01 and 9.06.02, employees taken off their assigned territory or regular boarding outfits under such bulletin will be allowed travel time and will be compensated for boarding and lodging expenses they necessarily incur. This Clause does not apply to Signal and Communication Technicians.
APPENDIX 5 – WEEKEND TRAVEL
The parties have concluded that a variety of means must be employed to assist the employees with weekend travel. The determination of the means to be applied in any given situation must rest with the appropriate Company Officers.
In order to qualify for weekend travel assistance, an employee must be required to work away from his home location on a regular basis (a minimum of five consecutive days prior to the start of the weekend). It is not the intention to provide weekend travel assistance to an employee holding a permanent position in one location who elects to live in another; however, there may be exceptional situations, such as lack of housing, etc., which may require that consideration be given to a weekend travel allowance in such situations. These situations must be authorized by the appropriate Company Officer in advance.
As mentioned above, the means to be used to assist employees with weekend travel will vary. The determination of which means will apply in each case rests with the appropriate Company Officers. The means that may be employed are:
1. Train Service
2 Company vehicles
3. Actual bus fares by way of tickets or passes provided by the Company
4. A travel allowance calculated using bus fares prevailing on August 1st each year. Zone calculations for travel allowance on scheduled days off (each direction) is as follows:
(There follows a chart referring to mileage travelled and amounts payable in the four districts of the Company’s operations, depending on distance.) Following the chart the following appears:
As per the zone schedule contained above, employees will receive a flat rate allowance for travelling within a 100 kilometre zone and/or through a series of 100 kilometre zones: The above zone schedule is for example of payment and is not limited to the maximum of 2,000 km.
This allowance will cover all expense incurred while travelling on scheduled days off.
The Company’s approach to its policy is not in dispute. When employees travel on their days off by train, in Company vehicles or by bus they receive no travel expenses beyond the payment of train and bus fares.
It is agreed
that travel allowance is paid in keeping with the table provided under
paragraph 4 when employees travel in their own vehicles, or the vehicle of
another employee, on their scheduled days off. As noted by counsel for the
has some difficulty with the
When regard is had to the whole of Appendix 5, it is less than clear to the Arbitrator that the Company effectively undertook to pay travel allowance based on the grid provided within the appendix in all situations of travel on scheduled days off. When specific regard is had to the paragraph under the heading “Travel Assistance” the agreement clearly contemplates that there are a number of alternative means which may apply in each case of travel on scheduled days off. Those alternative means are examined in turn, to indicate how employees will be assisted with weekend travel. It is notable, as stressed by the Company’s representatives, that the means to be used for travel is a decision which rests with the appropriate Company officers. It does not appear disputed that the Company’s approach has been applied over a number of years.
What is that approach? Very simply, there is no payment of travel allowance calculated within the meaning of paragraph 4 of Appendix 5 save when employees use personal vehicles for weekend travel. In other words, in the Company’s submission, the document posits four alternative ways employees can be assisted with weekend travel expenses. The first is the providing of train service, at the Company’s expense. The second is the furnishing of Company vehicles, again at the Company’s expense while the third involves the payment of bus fares by the Company, or the providing of bus passes. In the Arbitrator’s view, so understood, the separate provisions of paragraph 4 do, as the Company submits, relate solely to the alternative circumstance of employees using their vehicles. While there is obviously no ticketing or fare component to that travel, the grid under paragraph 4 fashions a form of monetary compensation for employees who travel in that way. Whether that formula is calculated as a means of assessing the contribution of an employee towards gas mileage or wear and tear on a vehicle is not apparent on the face of the document, and need not be analysed for the purposes of this award. Significantly, what the grid does indicate is a formula by which employees are to be paid travel allowance in other than travel by train, by Company vehicle or by bus.
It is trite to
say that a board of arbitration must take the collective agreement as it finds
it. If, as the
It is also
significant to realize the importance of the final sentence of Appendix 5
reproduced above. The statement “This allowance will cover all expenses
incurred while travelling on scheduled days off.” is categorical in its
meaning. There can be, very simply, no other payment contemplated, including
the payment of meal allowances. That, indeed, is reflected in the award of this
arbitrator in AH 518, a decision
foregoing reasons the Arbitrator must conclude that the interpretation of the
provisions of the collective agreement, and in particular the proper
application of Appendix 5 followed by the Company, is correct. No violation of
the collective agreement is disclosed in the circumstances of the instant case.
The grievance must therefore be dismissed.
MICHEL G. PICHER