SHP - 46
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
THE RAILWAY ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
DIVISION NO. 4, RAILWAY EMPLOYEES' DEPARTMENT, A.F. of L. - C.I.O.
AND IN THE MATTER OF A DISPUTE CONCERNING THE APPLICATION OF RULE 35.1 OF WAGE AGREEMENT NO. 16.
SOLE ARBITRATOR:J. F. W. Weatherill
APPEARING FOR THE UNION:
APPEARING FOR THE COMPANY:
A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal, on October 11, 1977.
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
The Joint Statement of Fact and Joint Statement of Issue in this matter are as follows:
Joint Statement of Fact:
On November 1, 1976 the Company posted Bulletin #17 at Angus Shops calling for two (2) machinists to perform repairs to air brake equipment in the Air Brake Department, and any other machinist's work that may be required.
On November 5, 1976 the representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at Angus Shops posted a notice on the bulletin board at Angus Shops to the effect that Bulletin #17 covered work to be performed on a lapping machine in the Air Brake Department.
On November 6, 1976 the Company removed the Union's bulletin and on being questioned by the representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers concerning their actions, the Company advised the Union that there was to be only one (1) official bulletin and that was bulletin #17 posted by the Company.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
It is the position of the Union that the Company violated the provisions of Rule 35.1 when the Union's information bulletin concerning the vacancy in the Air Brake Department was removed from the bulletin board on November 6, 1976.
It is the position of the Company that bulletin boards are to be used for notices of direct interest to the employees and that the Union's information bulletin was contradictory to Bulletin #17 posted by the Company, and that it was therefore properly removed from the bulletin board.
* * *
Bulletin No. 17, referred to in the Joint Statement, is as follows:
Bulletin No. 17 W.M. 284
ANGUS SHOP November 1st, 1976
The following positions are hereby bulletined for application in accordance with Rule 23 of the memorandum of agreement between the Railway Association of Canada and the Railway Employees' Department, Division No. 4, AFL/CIO.
Applications for these positions will be received at General Foreman's Office up to and including November 9th, 1976
LOCATION OF POSITIONS Air Brake
TYPE OF POSITION Machinist NO. OF POSITION 2
RATE As per schedule
ASSIGNED HOURS OF WORK 0800 to 1600 hours
DAYS OFF Saturday and Sunday
MEAL PERIOD 20 minutes
NATURE OF WORK Repairs to air brake equipment
OR ANY OTHER Machinist DUTIES THAT MAY BE REQUIRED.
* * * * * * * * *
Bulletin no. 17
SINE ANGUS le 1er novembre, 1976
Par ce bulletin, les positions suivantes sont ouvertes aux applications en vertu du règlement 23 conclu entre l'Association des Chemins de fer du Canada et la section des Employés de Chemin de Fer Division No. 4, AFL/CIO.
Les applications pour ces positions seront acceptées au Bureau du Contremaître général jusqu'au 9 novembre, 1976
LOCATION DES POSITIONS Air Brake
GENRE DE POSITION Machiniste NOMBRE DE POSITION 2
TAUX A L'HEURE Selon la cédule
HEURES DE SERVICE ASSIGNÉES 0800 à 1600 heures
JOURS DE CONGÉ Samedi et dimanche
PÉRIODE DE REPAS 20 minutes
NATURE DU TRAVAIL Réparation d'équipement de frein a air
OU D'AUTRES Machiniste TACHES CONNEXES ATTRIBUÉES
That bulletin has been found, in a separate award, not to have been in sufficient compliance with the requirements of article 23.11 with respect to job bulletins. The question with respect to that particular bulletin may be described as a close one, since some degree of specification of the work involved is set out. No particular relief was sought with respect to that bulletin, the issue in that case being a general question of interpretation of article 23.11. It is important to note that my decision in the instant case does not turn on the finding made in the other case, nor any determination as to the sufficiency or otherwise of any particular bulletin. The instant case is strictly one of the interpretation of article 35.1 of the collective agreement.
The notice posted by the Union and referred to in the Joint Statement is as follows:
Pour se conformer au règlement #35 de l'entente collective #16 nous vous informons que le bulletin #17 émis par la direction, concerne la position laissée vacante par le départ à la pension du Confrère J. Champagne, qui opérait la polisseuse "Lapping Machine" au "Air Brake."
In accordance with rule #35 of collective wage agreement #16, we wish to advise you that bulletin #17 issued by Management, covered position left vacant by the retirement of Brother J. Champagne, who was operating lapping machine in Air Brake Dept.
Article 35.1 of the collective agreement is as follows:
Rule 35 - BULLETIN BOARDS
35.1 A place will be provided at all shops where proper notices of direct interest to employees may be posted by shop committees.
The issue to be determined may be very simply put: was the notice above set out one which was "of direct interest to employees" within the meaning of article 35.1? There is no doubt that the article was posted on proper authority, and the question is whether the Company violated the collective agreement in removing it. It would appear that, were it not for article 35.1, the Company would have acted within its rights. In my view, the notice in question was one "of direct interest to employees" within the meaning of article 35.1. It referred to a particular job posting which had been made, and set out for the employees certain information which the Union properly and reasonably would interest employees who might be considering the bulletin. Clearly employees would be entitled to consult their Union officers with respect to any posted job, and it would be proper Union activity to give reasonable information available with respect to it. There are, obviously, certain limits to the sort of advice a Union could, properly give employees with respect to their work, but nothing in this case touches in any significant way on those limits.
It may be observed that the Union's notice might give rise to some confusion: there were two positions available, while the Union notice appears to contemplate only one. This error was not intended to confuse, and it does not appear that in fact any individual was prejudiced thereby. It was a "proper" notice within the meaning of article 35.1, even although it may have been, to the degree noted, in error.
There may, of course, be notices which are of interest to employees and which may not be posted and which, if posted, may be removed because they are not proper, in that they are vulgar, or incite breaches of the collective agreement, or some other reason. That is not the case here. Article 35.1 does not limit matters of "interest" to employees to social matters or individual notices of items for sale, or the like. It may quite normally and naturally be read as including matters relating to work, and this is particularly so where the matter is one dealt with in the collective agreement.
It should, also be added that the Union offers such information or advice to employees at its own risk. It is perhaps not the best source for information relating to particular jobs. Employees must, in the long run, judge for themselves. But the matter is one of interest to them, and the notice in this case, whatever its shortcomings, was a proper one.
For the foregoing reasons, it is my award that the Company was in violation of article 35.1 in removing the notice in question.
DATED at Toronto, this 17th day of October, 1977.
(signed) F.W. WEATHERILL