SHP 271 




(the "Company")



(the "Union")


SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill



J.W. Asprey

L. Davis and others




A. Rotondo

A hearing in this matter was held in Ottawa on November 4, 1981.




The Union’s Statement of Issue and Fact in this matter is as follows:


Changes in relief assignments for certain employees in the Car Department Pool (Running Repair) at North Bay as to hours of work and days off.


On March 21, 1981 the company implemented certain relief changes in the Car Department Pool. The Brotherhood claims that the new assignments working day shift (8-4) on weekends and afternoon shift (4-12) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, are in violation of Rule 4 of Wage Agreement 16, and also that the new assignments involved should have been bulletined under Rule 23.11 of the Collective Agreement.

The company statement is similar, differing only that references to the nature of the assignments in question is deleted.

There is no substantial dispute as to the facts. Prior to the changes in question, employees in the "North Bay Pool" (a pool of employees at the main shop in North Bay, working in freight car repair), worked day shift, Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday off. There were certain exceptions, to cover (to some extent) afternoon and weekend work. The effect of the change was to change the hours of some assignments and, it seems, to alter the balance as between day shifts and others, and as between weekend work and work on week days.

It is alleged first, that these changes are in violation of Rule 4 of the collective agreement and second, that the re-arranged positions ought to have been bulletined pursuant to Rule 23.11.

Rule 4 of the collective agreement is as follows:

Rule 4 – Relief Assignments

4.1 All possible regular relief assignments with five (5) days’ work per week and two consecutive rest days (subject to Rule 3) shall be established to perform necessary relief work or to perform relief work on certain days and such types on other work on other days as may be assigned under this Agreement.

4.2 Where situations exist making it impracticable to establish relief assignments in accordance with the above, the officers of the Railway and the General Chairman of the craft or crafts concerned, may, by mutual agreement, arrange for relief assignments on such other basis as may be suitable.

Consent to such proposed arrangements shall not be unreasonably withheld in cases where otherwise employees would be required to work on assigned rest days or unreasonable travel time would be involved.

4.3 Regular relief assignments may on different days have different starting times, duties and work locations, provided such starting times, duties and work locations are those of the employee or employees relieved.

With respect, I am unable to see any violation of this rule in what has been done. The article calls for the establishment of "all possible" regular relief assignments in accordance with certain criteria, which the assignments in question appear to meet.

The reference to "days" is not a reference to "day shifts" but rather to calendar days. Article 4.3 clearly contemplates that flexibility may be exercised with respect to starting times and other aspects of assignments. I find no violation of Rule 4.

Rule 23.11 of the collective agreement is as follows:

23.11 When vacancies occur for which replacements are required, or new jobs are created or additional staff is required in a classification in a craft for an expected period of 90 calendar days or more such vacancies or new jobs shall be bulletined for a period of not less than 7 calendar days to employees in the classification at the seniority terminal where they are created, and will be awarded to the senior employees, subject to Rule 23.29, the local committee to be consulted. (See miscellaneous letters of understanding).

Within a main shop, successful applicants will be permitted to move within fifteen (15) calendar days of the close of the bulletin. This period may be extended to 30 days by mutual agreement with the General Chairman of the Craft concerned.

The positions here in question were not bulletined. The issue is, essentially, whether or not they were "vacancies" or "new jobs" within the meaning of Rule 23.11. In my view, these were "new jobs" because of the significant changes of hours and days off which were involved.

Under this collective agreement, a "job" is not simply work within a particular classification, but is work within a classification according to a particular schedule of hours of work and days off. It is in accordance with such a notion that seniority may be exercised, as appears from Rule 23.14, which is as follows:

23.14 The exercising of seniority within a seniority terminal to displace a junior employee shall not be permitted except when positions are abolished, or rate of pay or hours of work or days off are changed.

The affected employee shall have the right to displace the junior employee in the designated work area of his choice with the shift, days off, hours of work and rate of pay of his choice except as may be provided in the Craft Special Rules.

For the purpose of this Rule 23.14 the designated work area shall be as defined in bulletining positions in accordance with Rule 23.11.

Such employee initially affected shall be given, during his regular working hours, as much advance notice as possible but, in any event, not less than twenty-four hours. The affected employee shall make his intentions known within forty-eight hours of, notification and subsequent displacement shall be made without undue delay. The Local Committee shall be consulted.

In the instant case, the company allowed employees holding pre-change pool positions to "bid", as between themselves, for the new positions – that is, for situations under the new schedule of hours and days off – and to be awarded them in order of seniority. That was, to an extent, a recognition that the change which took place was one which would alter the relationships of employees, in terms of the relative desirability of their "jobs", and in which the exercise of seniority was appropriate. The limitation of this exercise to employees already holding pool jobs was, however, not contemplated by the collective agreement. In my view, these were "new jobs" which ought to have been bulletined pursuant to Rule 23.11.

On the latter ground, therefore, the grievance is allowed. It is my award that the jobs in question be bulletined accordingly.

DATED AT TORONTO, this 27th day of November, 1981.

(signed) J. F. W. Weatherill