RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
& DISPUTE RESOLUTION
CASE NO. 3902
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
The assessment of 15 demerits in October 2008, and 15 demerits in January 2009 to the record of Halifax Conductor I. Monroe, ultimately resulting in his discharge for accumulation of seventy (70) demerits.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
Subsequent to the last investigation
Mr. Monroe was dismissed, effective
It is the
The Company disagrees with the
(SGD.) J. M. ROBBINS (SGD.) A. DAIGLE
GENERAL CHAIRMAN FOR: SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
A. Daigle –
Manager, Labour Relations,
D. Gagné –
Sr. Manager, Labour Relations,
G. Yeadon – Supervisor, Halifax
S. Arbour –
And on behalf of the
J. Robbins –
F. Boutillier – Vice-Local Chairman, Halifax
B. Boechler –
D. Joannette –
J. Holliday – General Chairman, Vancouver
R. A. Hackl –
S. Cahoon –
K. Ilchyna –
I. Monroe – Grievor
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
This arbitration concerns two heads
of discipline assessed against Conductor Ian Monroe. The first involves fifteen
demerits for having refused a call on
I deal firstly with the issue of the grievor’s refusing a call. His explanation is that on the night prior to the call, which he received at approximately 8:00 a.m. Halifax time, he had been involved in moving his girlfriend from one apartment to another, as a result of which he awoke with serious back pain. While the precise times do not emerge from the investigation, it is unclear to the Arbitrator that the grievor could not have communicated with the Company before it made its call to him, in order to book off sick as would have been his obligation. Rather, he simply awaited the call which came, and at that point declined the call. It does not appear disputed that having taken some muscle relaxants he did book back on later the same day.
In the Arbitrator’s view the grievor did render himself liable to discipline. I accept, however, that his back condition was a mitigating factor to be taken into account. I am also not inclined to agree with the Company as regards the grievor’s record with respect to timekeeping. While it is true that he had an extremely negative record in respect of absences from work and violation of attendance standards for what appears to have been approximately a thirteen year period ending in 2003, thereafter, consistent with a substantial change in his personal life, he did not incur any discipline for attendance issues. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that a written reprimand would have been sufficient to remind the grievor of the importance of booking off sick in advance of receiving a call.
I have greater difficulty with the
A Every employee in any service connected with movements, handling of main track switches and protection of track work and track units shall:
(ii) have a copy of this rule book, the general operating instructions, current time table and any supplements, and other documents specified by the company accessible while on duty.
What the record discloses is that, even accepting that the grievor may have had an up to date set of the rules in his personal bag, he chose to place a deficient rule book on his working table while on duty. If it were necessary to so rule, I would find that the deficient rule book was the one which he chose to make “accessible” to himself while on duty, and that in so doing he was in violation of the fundamental intent of General Rule A(ii). In my view for an employee to say that he was aware of the deficiencies of the book he was using, but was referring to it for only limited purposes is not a satisfactory answer, and is plainly out of keeping with the fundamental concerns for safety and efficiency implicit in General Rule A(ii). I am therefore satisfied that the grievor did make himself liable to discipline and that the fifteen demerits assessed him were not inappropriate.
In the result, the grievance is allowed in part. The grievor shall be reinstated into his employment forthwith, with the fifteen demerits assessed against him for having refused a call to be substituted by a written reprimand. His disciplinary record shall stand at fifty-five demerits, but his reinstatement shall be without compensation for wages and benefits lost, and without loss of seniority.