IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
ONTARIO NORTHLAND RAILWAY
- and -
BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY CARMEN OF CANADA
POLICY GRIEVANCE RE UNILEVEL PROJECT
SOLE ARBITRATOR: Michel G. Picher
APPEARING FOR THE UNION:
Brian Stevens –
André Bedard – General Chairman
APPEARING FOR THE COMPANY:
Michael Restoule – Labour Relations Assistant
R. Leach – Chief Mechanical Officer
W. G. Bishop – Superintendent Car Maintenance
A hearing in this matter was held in North Bay, Ontario on June 8, 1989.
The assignment of Carman Brian Stevens to perform uni-level air brake work.
JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT
Brian Stevens holds a position of Carman in the Air Brake Shop at North Bay. In early 1987, he was assigned by the company, during the course of his regular duties, to perform air brake system installations on 20 Go-Transit coaches which the company was re-building for its own uni-level coach program.
The Brotherhood contends that Mr. Stevens’ position should have been rebulletined to the terminal claiming a violation of Rules 23.11 and 23.12.
The company maintains that there was no violation of the collective agreement.
For the Company: For the Brotherhood:
"P.A. Dyment" "A. Bedard"
The facts giving rise to this grievance are not in dispute. On February 21, Carman Brian Stevens successfully bid onto the position of Carman in the Air Brake/Hose Mounting Room. On or about May 26, 1987 Mr. Stevens was assigned to Unilevel Project Foreman Dale White. From that time until October 1988 some 95 percent of Mr. Stevens’ working time was devoted to coordinating the brake installation on the unilevel passenger coaches in the Coach Shop area.
It is the Union’s position that the assignment given to Mr. Stevens constituted the creation of a new position, involving an increase of staff on the unilevel project. It submits that the position should have been bulletined in accordance with Rule 23.11 or 23.12. It asks the Arbitrator to find that the Company has violated those rules and, further that the position should have been remunerated at the lead hand’s rate, in conformity with the article 14.1 an 14.2 of the collective agreement.
The Company’s position is that for many years carmen in the Air Brake Room were assigned troubleshooting replacement duties within various areas of the shop complex, the station and the rail yard. The Company asserts that in this case that pattern was followed and no job vacancy was created. It asserts that the installation of the new air brake components on the unilevel coaches properly fell within the general parameters of air brake work to which Mr. Stevens was already assigned. The Company also stresses that the assignment given to Mr. Stevens was temporary in nature Lastly, the Company asserts that the Brotherhood effectively abandoned its position with respect to the claim for leadhand rates during the course of written exchanges as part of the grievance process.
The first issue is whether the position assigned to Mr. Stevens constitutes a new and different assignment from his regular assignment in the Air Brake/Hose Mounting Room. It does not appear disputed that the normal duties of the Air Brake Shop carman include the repair and testing of air brake components, as well as their re-installation on coaches. In the unilevel program the carman is responsible for completely installing new air brake systems on coaches being retrofitted by the Company. In the Arbitrator’s view the core functions of the two jobs cannot be said to be so different or distinct as to give rise to the requirement of a declaration of a new vacancy relating to the work in the coach shop area. While there may be some qualitative difference with respect to the installation of the new brake system as opposed to the repair of existing systems, and the two types of work are performed in different locations, I am not persuaded that the assignment of Mr. Stevens to the unilevel project constituted such a fundamental change in his duties and responsibilities as to take him outside the ambit of duties that are either normal or incidental to the work of a carman assigned to the Air Brake/Hose Mounting Room. I am further satisfied that the position communicated by the Brotherhood to the Company during the course of the grievance procedure can fairly be construed as a waiver by the Brotherhood of any effective claim for leadhand rates. There is, moreover, insufficient evidence before the Arbitrator to establish the merits of such a claim.
For the foregoing reasons the grievance is dismissed.
DATED AT TORONTO, this 12th day of June, 1989.
(signed) Michel G. Picher