CANADIAN RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
& DISPUTE RESOLUTION
CASE NO. 4003
Heard in Montreal, Tuesday, 10 May
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
TEAMSTERS CANADA RAIL
to award an early retirement opportunity (Conductor Only Credit) to A.C.
MacLellan of Calgary, AB.
STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
As a result
of the closure of the terminal of Roma
four employees were designated to receive an early retirement opportunity pursuant
to Addendum 41 of Agreement 4.3.
these employees was A.C. MacLellan, who relocated to Calgary as a result of the terminal closure.
In May 2009, Mr. MacLellan contacted CN Human Resources and advised them of his
intent to retire in the near future. The Company advised Mr. MacLellan that he
would not be entitled to the previously confirmed Conductor Only Cred on the
basis that he was working as an engineer.
MacLellan retired effective January 2010 without benefit of this credit. A
grievance was filed on his behalf. It is the Union’s
position that, even though Mr. MacLellan may have been assigned to a position
as a locomotive engineer at the time that he retired, too many people were
assigned to the locomotive engineers’ working boards and that, had they been
properly adjusted, Mr. MacLellan would have been working as a conductor.
Further, the Union submits that the last trip
Mr. MacLellan worked was as a conductor, entitling him to the credit.
FOR THE UNION:
(SGD.) R. A. HACKL
There appeared on behalf of the
K. Morris –
Sr. Manager, Labour Relations, Edmonton
P. Payne –
Manager, Labour Relations, Edmonton
D. VanCauwenbergh –
Director, Labour Relations, Toronto
T. Brown –
General Manager, Winnipeg
There appeared on behalf of the Union:
M. A. Church –
B. R. Boechler –
General Chairman, Edmonton
R. A. Hackl –
Vice-General Chairman, Edmonton
Wm. Michael –
General Chairman, VIA Lines Central, Kitchener
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
The Union maintains that the Company improperly denied to the
grievor a Conductor Only Early Retirement Credit. The Company submits that he
was not entitled to that credit as he no longer worked as a conductor at the
time of his retirement.
It is common
ground that following the closure of the terminal of Roma Junction, Alberta
the parties agreed to specifically designate four employees to be eligible to
receive early retirement opportunities in accordance with Addendum 31 of
collective agreement 4.3. The grievor was one of those named employees. The
agreement of the parties concerning the four employees takes the form of a
letter of understanding dated August 14, 2000. That letter includes the
Based on our discussions, those opportunities will be
assigned and made available to the following four protected G.S.L.B. employees
when they become eligible to retire under the terms and conditions set out in
Addendum 31 of Agreement 4.3. It is further understood that these opportunities
are not transferable and can only be utilized by the employees identified
It is common
ground that Mr. MacLellan moved on in
Company service after the closure of Roma Junction and at the time of his
retirement had worked for several years as a locomotive engineer in Calgary. As it happens,
his final tour of duty was in emergency service as a conductor.
deals with the management of early retirement opportunities originally
established under the Conductor Only Agreement of 1992. It is well established
that a precondition to the granting of a Conductor Only Retirement Opportunity
is the existence of a surplus of conductors at a given terminal. In the event
of a surplus, in accordance with paragraph (4), at each change of card: “Such
early retirement opportunities will be made available, on a terminal by
terminal basis, to protected employees working under Agreement 4.3.”
has some difficulty with the position taken by the Union
in the case at hand. Firstly, having regard to the management of the boards at Calgary, I cannot find that the Union
has established a surplus of employees at that location. Most critically, at
the time of his retirement Locomotive Engineer MacLellan had been set up for a
considerable period of time as a locomotive engineer. The fact that he made a
single emergency trip as a conductor does not, in my view, properly qualify him
as a “protected employee working under Agreement 4.3.” within the meaning of
Addendum 31 of the collective agreement. To say otherwise would be tantamount
to saying that a conductor who worked his last pre-retirement day on an
emergency trip as a locomotive engineer would forfeit his protection under the
conductors’ collective agreement, something which clearly was not intended.
Nor, in my
view, does the Union’s position square with
the original purpose of the Conductor Only Early Retirement Opportunities
originally agreed to between the parties. The purpose of those credits was to
provide protection to conductors in the event of a conductor surplus following
on the introduction of Conductor Only operations. As a locomotive engineer, Mr.
MacLellan cannot fairly be said to have been among the employees intended to be
protected by Addendum 31, a reality which is manifestly confirmed by the fact
that he was not, in any meaningful sense, an employee working under collective
agreement 4.3 at the time of his retirement. That a credit was made specific to
him in the Roma closure does not alter those fundamental requirements. He in
fact never became eligible to retire under the terms and conditions set out in
Addendum 31 of Agreement 4.3, as contemplated within the letter of August 14, 2000.
reasons the grievance must be dismissed.
May 16, 2011 (signed) MICHEL G. PICHER