SHP 135



Ontario Northland Railway

(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:

J. W. Asprey

J. M. Restoule



There appeared on behalf of the Company:

A. Rotondo

G. A. Payne



A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal on October 15, 1982.




This grievance is the subject of separate statements of fact and issue.

This Companyís statement is as follows:


The use of a labourer to fill a position in the Diesel Shop parts cleaning room.

COMPANYíS Statement of Issue:

When the tasks having to do with the cleaning of parts were centralized in August of 1981, the position in the parts cleaning room was filled by a labourer working under the collective agreement with the International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers.

It is the Unionís claim that the operation of the mechanical steam cleaning vats in the Diesel shop is machinist helperís work and that the Company violated Rules 53.4(a) and 25.1 of, Wage Agreement #16.

The Unionís statement, as amended, is as follows:

UNIONíS Statement of FACT:

During a major renovation of the diesel shop, the parts cleaning room was relocated. When the new parts cleaning room was completed, the sole position in the parts cleaning room was filled by a labourer working under the collective agreement with the International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers.

UNIONíS Statement of Issue:

It is the position of the Union that the Company violated rules 53.4(a) and 25.1 of Wage Agreement #16 in reassigning the work to the labourers because this position was originally held by a machinist-helper working under the collective agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The Company denies this.

For some time prior to the changes referred to in the above statements, the Company had carried out different parts-cleaning tasks in different areas of its shops. Cleaning of gear cases and of grilles was done in open vats by labourers, members of the Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers. Other tasks, including the cleaning of filters, the filling of grease bags and the cleaning of engine parts were carried out by Machinistís Helpers, members of the International Association of Machinists and of the bargaining unit covered by Wage Agreement No. 16, which governs this case. The cleaning tasks performed by Machinistís Helpers involved the use of steam or solvent machines. Parts were inspected by Machinists.

Changes in methods and equipment have rendered the machines used for cleaning filters and filling grease bags obsolete. For a number of reasons, including safety considerations, it was decided to centralize the parts-cleaning operations, which are now conducted in one room. Both the open vat operation and the machine operations are now carried out by a labourer. The Machinistís Helper who had formerly operated the cleaning machines now works elsewhere, and in fact the total number of Machinistís Helpers has been reduced by attrition, since it was then unnecessary to replace another Machinistís Helper who resigned. However, had the work in the new cleaning room been assigned to the Machinistís Helper, it is said that the labourer would have been laid off (or perhaps, in the exercise of any seniority rights, would have caused the layoff of another).

The issue is whether or not the Company is in violation of the collective agreement in assigning the work in question to a labourer rather than to a Machinistís Helper. The work involves the cleaning in open vats which has been done by labourers for some time; the washing of walls and floors which would appear to be labourerís work; and the operation of the steam and solvent cleaning machines, formerly operated by Machinistís Helpers. That operation involves loading the machines, turning them on and off, and unloading them. It is not skilled work. Inspection of parts is still carried out by members of the Machinistsí craft.

While the particular task of operating the steam and solvent cleaning machines was in past performed by Machinistís Helpers, and would certainly come within the scope of that classification, it must be noted first, that such work is not necessarily exclusive to the Machinistís craft, and second, that the particular task in question formed only part of the overall job performed by the Machinistís Helper in the past. That task now forms only one element in a somewhat different overall job, performed by a labourer who had himself previously performed a different one of those elements. It would appear that there is sufficient work for only one person.

Article 25.1 of the collective agreement provides that labourers are not to do Helperís work. It also provides for payment at Helperís rate in the event they do do such work, but there is no grievance before me in that respect. The question is whether or not the operation of the steam and solvent cleaning machines is "Helperís work" which labourers may not properly perform.

Article 53.4(a) of the collective agreement deals generally with what is "helperís work" but makes no specific reference to cleaning nor to the operation of cleaning machines. It does refer to "all other work generally recognized as Helperís work". Here, while it may be that the total job formerly performed by the Machinistís Helper could not properly have been assigned to a labourer, what is involved now is only the assignment of only one of the tasks formerly involved in the Helperís job. Much of the, cleaning work now done has traditionally been performed by the labourer. There has been added to that a portion of the cleaning work formerly performed by a Helper. That work, as has been noted, is not skilled. It is not inherently of such a nature as to relate specifically and exclusively to the Machinistís craft.

It is not accurate to, say that a labourer has "replaced" a Machinistís Helper in this job. The job is, in effect, a new one, made up of some elements of the jobs performed by each in the past. The tasks now being performed, considered separately and considered as a whole, are not ones coming exclusively within the scope of Machinistís Helpers work, although many of them might properly be performed by Machinistís Helpers and have been in the past.

In my view, there has been no violation of the collective agreement and the grievance must accordingly be dismissed.

DATED AT TORONTO, this 26th day of October, 1982.

(signed) J. F. W. Weatherill