SHP - 69
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
Canadian Pacific Limited
DIVISION NO. 4, RAILWAY EMPLOYEES DEPARTMENT - AFL/CIO
RE:GRIEVANCE OF M. PARé
SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill
APPEARING FOR THE UNION:
APPEARING FOR THE COMPANY:
A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on March 14, 1980.
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
The joint statement of fact and issue in this matter is as follows:
JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT
Machinist M. Paré, Angus Shops, was assessed 10 demerit marks for refusing to put away his tools at the completion of his shift May 4, 1979.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE
It is the position of the Union that Mr. Paré was unjustly treated when he was assessed 10 demerit marks in this instance.
It is the position of the Company that in the circumstances the discipline assessed was reasonable and should not be changed.
* * * * *
The grievor is an employee of some eight and one-half years' service and works as a Machinist in the wheel and Axle shop at the Company's Angus Shops. His hours are from 0730 to 1530, with a full paid lunch period. Employees are normally allowed ten minutes wash-up time prior to punching out, that is from 1520 to 1530. There is no provision in the collective agreement in that regard, however.
Normally, at the end of a shift and just before washing-up, employees put away their tools, and the grievor certainly followed that practice. On the day in question, however, he did not do so. The issue is whether or not there was just cause to impose discipline on the grievor for that refusal, in the circumstances of this case.
There had been breakdowns of the wheel press that day and as a result the grievor and those with whom he worked had not been able to achieve the usual volume of production. It seems that the grievor felt that his supervisor was riding him that day, and treating him as though the machine breakdowns were somehow his fault. On the other hand the supervisor stated that the grievor and the others, when it was suggested they use another machine, said they would wait for the repairs and that they would be able to make up their production.
They did not do so, however, and at about 1515 or 1517 as the grievor was starting to put away his tools, the supervisor came to him to work on another set of wheels or at least to finish the work he was engaged on. The grievor did continue to work for the moment or two remaining, but when the whistle sounded at 1520 he put down his tools and left. The grievor's evidence is that he placed the air wrench he was using on the ground; the supervisor's is that he threw it down. The supervisor then called to the grievor to put away his tools. The grievor's evidence is that the superintendent pushed him on the chest. The supervisor's is that he laid his hand on the grievor's arm, and that the grievor jerked away. In any event, the grievor did not put away his tools, but left.
From the materials before me, I conclude that both the grievor and the supervisor were annoyed. While I think it is unlikely that the supervisor actually pushed the grievor, he may have laid his hand on his arm rather brusquely. The grievor's reaction to that, however, came after he had already put down (or perhaps dropped) his tools, intending to leave them there. He was, apparently, annoyed at having been asked to work at the last minute.
That annoyance would not justify his taking the brief amount of time – all within the wash-up period – necessary to put away his tools as workmanlike practice would require. When, following that, the foreman directed him to do so, the grievor refused, that was a deliberate repetition of his earlier act, even if it was coloured by his further annoyance at the foreman's manner.
The grievor did, I find, deliberately refuse a proper direction of his supervisor to carry out the simple, and normal task of putting away his tools. While the supervisor's own conduct might be subject to question, that does not excuse the grievor's original failure and subsequent refusal to put away his tools. He was, therefore, subject to discipline.
In the circumstances no very severe penalty would be appropriate. It appears, however, that the Company did take the circumstances into account in assessing the penalty. Refusal of a direct order is a serious offence. In the instant case (rightly, in my view) the Company did not go beyond an appropriate penalty, in assessing ten demerits, although in all of the circumstances I would have considered any more severe penalty as excessive.
For the foregoing reasons, the grievance is dismissed.
DATED AT TORONTO, this 19th day of March, 1980.
(signed) J.F.W. Weatherill