RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
& DISPUTE RESOLUTION
CASE NO. 3930
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
assessment of twenty (20) demerits to Conductor Roger Serediak of
COMPANY’S STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
The grievor was required to provide an employee statement with respect to an alleged violation of GOI Section 8, 12.4, riding equipment and was subsequently assessed twenty (20) demerits. These twenty demerits, coupled with the fifty-five (55) previously on the grievor’s discipline record, resulted in discharge for accumulation of demerits in excess of sixty (60).
disagrees with the
FOR THE COMPANY:
(SGD.) P. PAYNE
FOR: DIRECTOR, HUMAN RESOURCES
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
P. Payne –
Manager, Labour Relations,
K. Morris –
Sr. Manager, Labour Relations,
D. Crossan – Manager, Labour Relations, Prince George
J. Orr – Assistant Vice-President, BC South,
And on behalf of the
M. A. Church –
B. R. Boechler –
R. A. Hackl –
B. Willows –
J. Robbins –
P. Vickers –
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
The grievor is
a relatively junior employee with some two years of service at the time of the
incident which led to his discharge. On
During the course of his assignment Mr. Serediak found himself on the side ladder of a ballast car which was coupled to a similar ballast car as part of the consist which he was moving with his yard helper. It appears that during the course of the movement the grievor lost radio contact with his yard helper, whom he believed was riding on the point. According to his explanation, which the Arbitrator accepts, he then attempted to change his position to give himself a better visual perspective of the overall movement and the possibility of locating his helper. To do so he climbed the ladder on the side of the ballast car on which he was riding and stepped onto a small platform intended for standing while controlling the handbrake on the end of the car. It appears that he then stepped from that platform onto the similar platform at the end of the adjacent car, from where he moved onto the side ladder of that car, on the opposite side of the movement from where he had originated.
The Company maintains that the grievor’s actions violated GOI Section 8, 12.4. That rule reads as follows:
12.4 RIDING EQUIPMENT
PURPOSE: To ensure employee safety while riding various types of equipment.
PROCEDURE: When riding equipment, employees MUST ALWAYS:
● unless it is the trailing car in the movement, ride the side ladder on the leading end of equipment in the direction of travel;
● continuously maintain a firm grip on handholds provided:
● be aware of and protect themselves against sudden movement or slack action;
● look in the direction of travel, continuously monitoring safety of movement;
● be aware of and react to restricted clearances;
● ride the side which provides the best escape route (clear of adjacent structures and equipment if possible).
Employees must observe the following restrictions:
(the list below is not exhaustive, it containes some examples
● DO NOT RIDE on the roof of equipment.
● DO NOT RIDE the end ladder or end crossover platform, unless required to apply a handbrake (application of handbrake must not be made while equipment is being pulled or pushed by an enginge).
● DO NOT RIDE any higher up the side ladder than required.
● DO NOT RIDE on the service ladder located in the middle of a tank car.
As is evident
from the statement of issue, the Company disciplined the grievor for riding on
the end platform of a moving car. The
The issue then
becomes the appropriate measure of discipline. In the Arbitrator’s view concern
arises with respect to the flurry of disciplinary activity visited against the
grievor over a thirteen day period. The record discloses that Mr. Serediak was
assessed twenty demerits for improper detraining on
The Arbitrator shares the Company’s perspective of concern for what appear to be repeated safety infractions on the part of the grievor. However, consideration must be given as to whether the cumulative impact of these measures of discipline over such a short period is consistent with the application of rehabilitative principles which are meant to underlie the Brown system of industrial discipline. While I recognize that the grievor cannot invoke lengthy service as a mitigating factor, as a relatively junior employee he should nevertheless be entitled to the opportunity to benefit from the assessment of discipline and the corrective value it can have.
In the result I
am satisfied that this is an appropriate case for a substitution of penalty,
albeit a severe one. The Arbitrator determines that the grievance should be
allowed, in part. The grievor shall be reinstated into his employment
forthwith, with the twenty demerits assessed against him for the incident of