CANADIAN RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
CASE NO. 2474
Heard in Montreal, Tuesday, 10 May 1994
VIA RAIL CANADA INC.
Canadian Brotherhood of Railway, Transport & General Workers
The assessment of five demerit marks to the record of Ms. M. Guay.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
Following a passenger complaint, an investigation was held on November 5, 1992, subsequent to which the grievorís discipline record was assessed with five demerit marks for her alleged "improper attitude towards a customer on September 20, 1992".
The Brotherhood contends that this matter would have been better handled by an interview or a written statement from the grievor, rather than holding a formal hearing.
The Brotherhood further contends that the complainant did not like Ms. Guay, that she did no wrong, certainly none meriting discipline. The Brotherhood maintains that the grievorís partner on that day was equally involved with the customer and he was not disciplined, therefore, that the five demerits assessed to the grievor should be removed.
The Corporation declined the grievance and maintains that Ms. Guayís poor discipline record offered no alternative other than to allow for the benefit of a formal hearing, in order to protect the grievorís interests. The grievorís co-worker was not disciplined as the passengerís complaint letter did not indicate that he had failed to perform up to expectations.
FOR THE BROTHERHOOD: FOR THE Corporation:
(SGD.) J. D. Hunter (SGD.) C. C. Muggeridge
National Vice-President Department Director, Labour Relations
There appeared on behalf of the Corporation:
C. Pollock Ė Senior Officer, Labour Relations, Montreal
J. Santoni Ė Assistant Manager, On-Train Services, Montreal
And on behalf of the Brotherhood:
A. Wepruk Ė Regional Vice-President, Montreal
M. Moretto Ė Representative, Montrreal
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
The material before the Arbitrator establishes that the service provided by Ms. Guay to passengers in club car service on Train 166, September 20, 1992 left much to be desired. Specifically, it provoked a letter of complaint from a passenger who relates that Ms. Guay did not respond to her request for information about the menu of the day, or her indicated preference to have fish or poultry for her meal. The complaint reveals that when the customer asked the grievor what the dinner choice would be, she responded that she had no idea and had no time to tell her. When she later approached the grievor to again express her preference for fish she was, in her words, "briskly dismissed".
The grievorís record reveals prior instances of poor service and insensitivity to guests, resulting in frequent guest complaints in respect of her attitude and service over the years. At the time of the incident in question her discipline record stood at fifty demerits. In all of the circumstances the Arbitrator is satisfied that five demerits was not inappropriate as a disciplinary response. Nor can I find any error on the part of the Corporation in conducting a formal investigation in respect of the grievorís conduct. In the circumstances, depending upon what emerged from the investigation, she was plainly at risk of suspension or discharge. Nor does the Arbitrator find that the grievor was unfairly treated in relation to her co-worker, whose eventual attempt to assist the passenger with her meal selection is acknowledged in her letter.
For all of the foregoing reasons the grievance must be dismissed.
13 May 1994 (sgd.) MICHEL G. PICHER