IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
VIA RAIL CANADA INC.
THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS
AND IN THE MATTER OF A GRIEVANCE RELATING TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE MAINTENANCE OF HYDRAULICS AND THE BANKING SYSTEMS ON LRC PASSENGER COACHES TO CARMEN
SOLE ARBITRATOR:J. F. W. Weatherill
APPEARING FOR THE UNION:
APPEARING FOR THE COMPANY:
APPEARING FOR THE Brotherhood Railway Carmen:
A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal on May 17, 1988.
The dispute in this matter is as to the jurisdiction of Carmen and Machinists over certain work relating to the maintenance of passenger coaches. The Joint Statement of Fact and Issue is as follows.
JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT:
With the introduction of LRC trains in 1982, hydraulic controls and "banking system" were used for the first time in passenger coach equipment. The Corporation assigned the maintenance of these systems to the Carmen craft. At the relevant times, Wage Agreement 12.1 was in force.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
The Union claims that both these categories of machinery fall within the scope of Machinist craft work, both by past practice and the provisions of Rule 53 of Wage Agreement 12.1. The Association requested that the work be assigned to members of the Machinists’ organization.
The Corporation denies the Association’s contention.
The parties were agreed that the Brotherhood Railway Carmen, which is bargaining agent for the employees to whom the jobs in question were assigned, had an interest in the matter, and that organization was invited to attend at and participate in the hearing.
The maintenance work on the Corporation’s LRC trains was originally performed by Canadian National Railways. The shop work relating to these trains was later taken over by the Corporation as successor employer in this regard to Canadian National. Agreement 12.1, which was in effect at the time the grievance arose, was between the employer (or employers) and the Canadian Council of Railway Shopcraft Employees. The agreement was binding on the International Association of Machinists and the Brotherhood Railway Carmen, as well as on other trade unions. The agreement included craft rules defining Machinists’ work and Carmen’s work, as well as the work of other crafts. The Corporation has since negotiated separate collective agreements with the craft unions, including Agreement No. 7, with the Association. Rule 21.2 of that agreement is identical with Rule 53.2 of Agreement 12.1. That Rule, which is alleged to have been breached, is as follows:
53.2 Machinist’s work shall consist of laying out, fitting, adjusting, shaping, boring, slotting, milling, and grinding of metals used in building, assembling, maintaining, dismantling and installing locomotives and engines, pumps, cranes, hoists, elevators, pneumatic and hydraulic tools and machinery; scale building, erecting and maintaining shafting and other shop machinery; ratchet and other skilled drilling and reaming; tool grinding and machine grinding; axle truing, wheel turning, engine inspecting; air equipment, fuel injector work, oxy-acetylene and electric welding on work generally recognized as machinists’ work; the operation of all machines used in such work, including drill presses and bolt threaders, using a facing, boring or turning head or milling apparatus; lassiter and lapping machine operators; engine truck fitter, tender truck building and repairing, crane slingers in locomotive shops on cranes of 100 tons capacity or over; and all other work generally recognized as Machinist’s work.
The LRC coaches included hydraulic devices and a banking system (a series of special-function pneumatic and hydraulic devices) which were new to the railways and which required employees to perform new tasks. It may be that this would be considered a technological change, but it is said that it was not one adversely affecting employees, and no issue arises in this case with respect to the Job Security Agreement relating to technological change.
It was the employer’s view that the tasks in question were "new work" and therefore might be assigned to any shopcraft unit. That proposition is, in my view, too broad. Work may be "new" and yet still come within the scope of a particular trade or craft as described in a collective agreement. It is possible that some types of work would fall within the proper scope of more than one trade. While the question may be described as being one of jurisdiction as between two trade unions, it is, more strictly speaking, a question whether or not there has been a violation of a particular collective agreement provision giving exclusive jurisdiction over the work in question to the grieving party.
I think it is proper to say that as a general matter work of the sort in question is work which comes within the scope of the general craft skills of Machinists. That is not necessarily to say, however, that it is within the exclusive jurisdiction of Machinists, or that it might not also properly be performed by members of some other craft. Rule 21.2 does not itself prohibit others from performing such work: see Canadian Pacific (Lone, award dated May 7, 1984). [SHP-___]
When the work in question (at that time essentially work on the hydraulics of LRC coaches and diesel locomotives; work on banking systems has been delayed but is about to be introduced), was brought into the shops of the predecessor employer, it was divided as between Machinists and Carmen along the lines of the traditional rough division of work: the maintenance of the hydraulic devices located on the diesel locomotives was assigned to Machinists, while that of the hydraulic devices on the passenger cars was assigned to Carmen. That traditional division of work is by no means a strict one: there is no doubt that certain work (not related to the work here in question), relating to locomotives is Carmen’s work and would not be performed (or sought) by Machinists; it appears as well that there is certain work relating to passenger cars which is or would be performed by Machinists and not by Carmen. The work in question in the instant case, however, is work on hydraulic and banking system components of a new sort, and it does not appear from the material before me that there is any great distinction in that work as between locomotives and coaches. It is the Association’s contention that the work itself, whether performed on locomotives or on coaches, is in the nature of Machinists’ work exclusively.
Whatever may be thought of the view that the work "could be assigned to any shopcraft unit" (a matter not directly in issue here), the employer (first the predecessor employer and now the Corporation), has assigned the work in question in accordance with what it has described as the traditional division of the work. That is, the hydraulic devices on locomotives have been assigned to Machinists and those on coaches to Carmen. With respect to the maintenance of banking systems, which are a feature of LRC passenger coaches, the assignment, or the intended assignment of the work is to Carmen, although the employer has indicated that if mechanical bench work is required to be performed on the components (although in general, faulty components are removed and replaced, or sent out for repair), such bench work would be assigned to Machinists.
The qualification just mentioned is, I think, significant. The work which is in question here is work which is performed in the maintenance of passenger coaches. As I understand it, it involves the maintenance of systems of component elements which are not themselves manufactured or repaired by the employees involved here. There is no machining of parts, for example. If there were, or to the extent that there now is such work, it is assigned, properly, I should think, to Machinists. But the maintenance of the component systems in place, while that is work which it would be within the competence of a Machinist to perform, does not appear, from the material before me, to be work of a nature exclusive to the Machinist craft.
It is true that Rule 21.2 refers to the performance of certain work related to "pneumatic and hydraulic tools and machinery" as part of Machinists’ work. That is not to say, however, that all work on such machinery is Machinists’ work, and indeed it is clear from a reading of the Rule in its entirety (and that the text is an old one, reflecting various accretions over the course of years, seems obvious), that only certain tasks – or a strict reading of the Rule, those relating to the machining of metals and ancillary tasks – are contemplated. It may be noted that the Rule makes no reference to work on railway cars, and certainly not to passenger cars, although as I have noted there may well be work on passenger cars or passenger car equipment which would require Machinists’ skills.
The work in question here, while new, bears some relation to the sort of work which Carmen have, in the past, performed on passenger cars and it may, arguably, be considered to come within the scope of the Rule respecting Carmen’s work. That Rule, which was Rule 58.2 of Agreement 12.1, is now Rule 22.2 of Agreement No. 3, between the Corporation and the Brotherhood Railway Carmen. The instant case, of course, is between different parties, but the historical inclusion of the Rule in agreements covering the various crafts – such an agreement being in effect at the time this matter first arose – gives it significance. Rule 22.2 is as follows:
22.2 Carman’s work shall consist of building, maintaining, dismantling, painting, upholstering, tile setting, glass cutting, bevelling, embossing and inspecting all passenger cars, motor coaches; planing mill, cabinet and bench carpenter work, pattern and flask making and all other carpenter work; Carman’s work in building and repairing hand cars and station trucks; building, repairing and removing and applying locomotive cabs, pilots, running boards, foot and headlight boards, hose bag fitter, and stove fitter, repairing and assembling passenger car air brake valves; operating punches and shears, doing shaping and forming; work done with hand forges and heating torches in connection with Carman’s work; painting, varnishing, surfacing, decorating, lettering; cutting of stencils and removing paint (not including use of sand blast machine or removing vats); all other work generally recognized as painter’s work under the supervision of the Maintenance Department; joint car inspectors, car inspectors, safety appliances and train car repairers, oxy-acetylene and electric welding on work generally recognized as Carmen’s work; and all other work generally recognized as Carman’s work.
Again, the craft rule is not so much a definition as a list of tasks which vary widely in their nature. Many of these date from the days of wooden cars. Clearly, what is involved is a wide range of tasks related especially to passenger cars. These tasks have evolved over the years with changes in equipment and, according to the evidence, have included work on certain other sorts of hydraulic equipment – coupling devices, for example – than that involved in this case. That is not to say that Carmen would have exclusive jurisdiction over tasks involving hydraulics: clearly they would not, nor is such a claim made.
When the work in question was introduced, in 1983, the predecessor employer, Canadian National, and the Canadian Council of Railway Shopcraft Employees made an agreement in respect of training for the employees (referred to under the general craft term of "mechanics"), who would be maintaining the LRC trains. In that agreement, dated February 4, 1983, it was contemplated that assignment of mechanics from the various crafts would be in accordance with the work load. In particular, clause 8 of the agreement provided that "The preponderance of work of a craft shall be the determining factor as to which craft shall be represented". The International Association of Machinists, as a member of the Council, was bound by that agreement, although it did not agree with what it considered to be the blurring of craft lines implicit in the agreement.
The agreement of February 4, 1983, is not determinative of the instant case. Indeed, on the facts presented to me, the assignment of tradesmen to the work in question has not been on the basis of "preponderance of work in a craft", but rather on the basis of the (very imprecise) "traditional" division of work – really of work location – as between Machinists and Carmen. That is, where the work is on passenger cars it is assigned to Carmen and where it is on locomotives it is assigned to Machinists (I do not here deal with the assignment of work to other crafts, such as Electricians).
Assignment in this fashion would appear, in fact, to maintain the levels of employment in the two crafts, although that is not a consideration which would bear on the interpretation of Rule 21.2 itself. If Rule 21.2 in fact gave exclusive jurisdiction over the work in question to Machinists, then this grievance would succeed, whatever the repercussions for others – neither the provisions of the Rule itself, nor the practice of the parties in its application leads to the conclusion that the employer has, in Rule 21.2 or elsewhere, agreed with the Association that Machinists alone could properly be assigned to the passenger car maintenance work involved in this case.
This grievance relates to the "maintenance" of hydraulic controls and banking systems on passenger coach equipment. It is proper to note, for clarity, that the term "maintenance" is here used as referring to the tasks described in the parties’ presentations: it does not include – nor is it suggested that it does – the full range of tasks, and in particular certain machining tasks, which might be involved in the repair of defective components.
For all of the foregoing reasons, the grievance must be dismissed.
DATED AT TORONTO, this 8th day of June, 1988.
(signed) J. F. W. Weatherill,