SHP 205






IN THE MATTER OF a GRIEVANCE concerning seniority rights



SOLE ARBITRATOR: Bryan E. Williams



There appeared on behalf of the Union: Robert Petrovic



There appeared on behalf of the Company: Daniel M. Pysh



A hearing in this matter was held North Vancouver, B.C, on Friday, December 11, 1981.



This arbitration took place on Friday, December 11, 1981 in North Vancouver, B.C. It was agreed by both parties that the arbitration was properly constituted and that the decision of the arbitrator would be binding on them.

The question before me is:

Did the Company violate Rules 23.3, 59.5 and any other rules of the Collective Agreement that might pertain to this matter by allowing certain members of the Carman’s Union laid-off as Carman-Helpers to exercise their seniority rights to a labourer’s position?

The Union maintains that the Company is violating the terms of their Collective Agreement by allowing Carman-Helpers covered under a separate and different Collective Agreement to exercise seniority in order to displace Labourers covered by and working under the scope of the Local 170 Collective Agreement.

Counsel for the Union argued that there were two established jurisdictional boundaries which clearly define the classifications for Labourers under Rule 59 of Local 170’s Collective Agreement and Rule 58.4 of the Brotherhood of Railway Carman’s Collective Agreement.

The Company contends that there has been no violation of the Collective Agreement in that there is a provision which provides for retention of seniority rights by Labourers who are promoted to Helper’s positions either under the Local 170 Agreement or the Carmen’s Agreement.

Counsel for the Company argued that there is no rule in the Collective Agreement that requires the forfeiture of seniority of a labourer promoted to a helper. He further stated that the parties recognized there there would be times when employees would leave the confines of the Local 170 Agreement and work under another Collective Agreement when they negotiated Rule 49.7 and that past practices employed by the Company and the Union clearly indicated that the parties recognized Rule 59.4 to be applicable to Carman Helpers promoted from Labourers.

The Rules alleged to be violated read as follows:

23.3 Seniority of employees in each of the following crafts covered by this Agreement shall, except as otherwise provided herein and in the respective craft special rules, be confined to the seniority terminal at which employed to the date of entry into their respective classifications:

Boilermakers Helpers

Blacksmiths Helpers

Electrical Workers Helpers

Machinists Helpers

Pipefitters Helpers

Sheet Metal Workers Helpers

Steam Plant Operator

Degreaser Operators

Shop and Yard Watchmen

Classified Laborers

Full-Time First Aid Attendants

59.5 Labourers represented by the U.A. Local 170 in the Railway’s Locomotive and Car Departments will be given the following Protections:

(a) They will not be replaced by Labourers represented by any other constituent union of the Council.

(b) Their rates of pay will be maintained in accordance with the rates provided for in this agreement.

The evidence indicates that in fact certain Carman-Helpers did exercise their seniority rights to Labourers’ positions at the time of the lay-off in accordance with Rule 59.4 which reads as follows:

59.4 Employees accepting promotion to the Helpers’ Classification will have their names retained on the seniority list from which promoted and will continue to accumulate seniority. Upon accepting promotion to the Helpers’ classification, such employees will be obliged to continue in the Helpers’ classification as long as their seniority permits them and will only be allowed to reverts and exercise their seniority for medical reasons or upon reduction of staff.

Employee records submitted in evidence indicated that several employees at various times in their careers had been promoted to Carman-Helpers and reverted back to a Labourers’ position, including one of the grievors and a Local 170 representative of Squamish.

The evidence would also indicate that the parties recognized and contemplated that there would be times when employees would be covered by other Collective Agreements and this is reflected in Rule 49.7 which reads:

49.7 Employees filling positions coming within the scope of more than one wage agreement or filling positions coming within the Union jurisdiction of more than one Union in the pay period in which deduction is made shall have dues deducted for the organization or Union under which the preponderance of their time is worked in that period. Nor more than one deduction of dues shall be made from any employee in any month.

The Union alleged that there was a violation of Rule 59.5, yet there was no evidence that Labourers working under the terms of the Local 170 Collective Agreement were being replaced in their labourer function by labourers from another jurisdiction.

The evidence is clear that certain employees who were laid-off as Carman-Helpers under the Carman’s Collective Agreement have exercised their seniority rights as Labourers under Local 170’s Collective Agreement and have displaced less senior members of Local 170.

In view of the foregoing, there has been no violation of the Collective Agreement, therefore this grievance is dismissed.

DATED at Langley, B.C. this 28th day of December, 1981.

(signed) Bryan E. Williams