SHP 131




(the "Company")


Canadian Council of Railway Shopcraft Employees and Allied Workers

(the "Union")




SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill


And on behalf of the Union:

A. Manocchio



There appeared on behalf of the Company:

M. M. Yorston



A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal on July 16, 1982.




The Joint Statement of Fact and Issue in this matter is as follows:


In 1979, the annual close down for Angus Shops covered the period of July 16, 1979, to August 11, 1979, inclusive. During that period, the Maintenance Department was involved in performing tasks such as inspections, repairs and overhauls to shop machinery. A list of employees available to work during that period was prepared and finalized jointly by the Company and Union representatives as per the projected amount of work. This list is composed mainly of employees who are not entitled to the full four-week vacation with pay. The Company indicated that no further employees would be required, but subsequently some employees were provided additional work during the shop close down period.


It is the position of the Union that the grievors, shown on the left hand column of the attached list, were unjustly dealt with when the Company assigned junior employees to work during the vacation period without giving the senior employees notice that work was available during the period that they had requested work.

It is the position of the Company that there was no violation of the provisions of Wage Agreement No. 16 and that the claims are without merit.

The grievance was first sought to be referred to arbitration in 1980. In an award dated April 14, 1980, it was held that the matter was not arbitrable, because the time limits for proceeding to arbitration had not been met. The grievors subsequently applied to the Canada Labour Relations Board pursuant to section 136 of the Canada Labour Code, and the Board, in its decision, extended the time limits and ordered the parties to proceed to arbitration so that the claims could be decided on their merits. The matter is now before me by submission of the parties pursuant to that order.

The collective agreement contemplates an annual vacation closedown. It contemplates as well that work may be done in the Maintenance Department during that period, and that there will be cooperation between the parties in determining which employees shall work when required. While to some extent there is a requirement for experienced employees to work then and take their vacations at another time, an attempt is also made to provide work for those not entitled to four weeks’ vacation.

In the instant case, arrangements were made prior to the start of the 1979 closedown for a work force considered sufficient to perform the work required. Apart from those selected by management by reason of their knowledge and experience, there was joint selection of the other employees, who had advised the Union that they wished to work at that time.

The work, however, did not progress as expected, and additional employees were scheduled in the last two weeks of the closedown. It is with respect to this "additional" work that the grievors’ claims are made. The claims, it seems, are based essentially on seniority, it being claimed by each grievor that a junior employee was working while he was not.

In many cases, the grievors’ claims are not in fact made in respect of work being performed by a junior employee. On the document put forward by the Union itself, only eight of the grievors (D.Y. Pion, P. Lafrance, M. Dolci, G. Lafond, R. Hotte, G. Cote, M. Legault and A. St. Laurent) in fact claim with respect to junior employees. The others refer to employees having more seniority than they do. The remaining grievances, then, would be dismissed in any event. Some of them, it may be added, are claims for times when the grievors were in fact on vacation.

More importantly, however, the Union’s case is based on the assertion of a general right of seniority. While the collective agreement certainly recognizes seniority for some purposes, I was not referred to any provision giving effect to seniority rights in circumstances such as these. Indeed, in providing as it does for the making of special arrangements during the vacation closedown, the agreement implicitly suggests that seniority is not the basis on which work is to be made available. It has not, then, been shown that there has been any violation of the collective agreement.

Essentially, what the Company did was to assign more work to those who it was agreed would work during the closedown, than had originally been contemplated. While the grievors advised the Union that they would be available for some work, the Company did not know of their wishes, and was under no obligation to canvass them.

For all of the foregoing reasons, the grievances must be dismissed.

DATED AT TORONTO, this 22nd day of July, 1982.

(signed) J. F. W. Weatherill