SHP 315

IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION

BETWEEN

CANADIAN PACIFIC LIMITED

AND

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

GRIEVANCE re INCIDENTAL WORK RULE

 

 

SOLE ARBITRATOR: M. G. Picher

 

 

There appeared on behalf of the Union:

A. Rosner Executive Secretary, CCRSU

 

 

 

There appeared on behalf of the Company:

 

A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on

 

AWARD

This Award is in respect of three separate claims made by the Company Respecting integrated work assignments under the Incidental Work Rule. As the Company's claims affect three separate shopcraft unions, the parties agree that these matters should be heard together, and there appears to be no objection to them being consolidated into one award.

At the hearing the three following Joint Statements of Fact and Issue were filed:

(1)

JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT AND ISSUE

Dispute between Canadian Pacific Limited and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers with respect to the Incidental Work Rule.

DISPUTE

A claim by the Company that two integrated work assignments constitute integrated work assignments pursuant to the Incidental Work Rule contained in Appendix XIV of Wage Agreement No. 52.3.

JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT

On March 31, 1989, the Company proposed a list of eight new integrated work assignments. Following a few review meetings, the Company wrote to the System General Chairman of the Unions concerned to confirm the conclusion of the review process and the agreement on assignments nos. 2, 3 and 8. The assignments which are outstanding between the signatory parties are the following:

No. 1 Changeout Traction Motor/Wheel Assembly

No. 6 Inspection of Reefer Cars and Cabooses in Transit

JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE

The Company contends that the above-mentioned items (Nos. 1 and 6) constitute integrated work assignments pursuant to the Incidental Work Rule.

The Union denies the Company contention.

(2)

JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT AND ISSUE

Dispute between Canadian Pacific Limited and the International Brotherhood of Machinists and Aerospace Workers with respect to the Incidental Work Rule.

DISPUTE

A claim by the Company that one integrated work assignment constitutes an integrated work assignment pursuant to the Incidental Work Rule contained in Appendix XIII of Wage Agreement No. 52.2.

JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT

On March 31, 1989, the Company proposed a list of eight new integrated work assignments. Following a few review meetings, the Company wrote to the System General Chairmen of the Unions concerned to confirm the conclusion of the review process and the agreement on assignments nos. 2, 3, and 8. The assignment which is outstanding between the signatory parties is the following:

No. 4 Installation of Additional or Retrofit Electrical Equipment

JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE

The Company wrote that the above-mentioned item (No. 4) constitutes an integrated work assignment pursuant to the Incidental Work Rule.

The Union denies the Company contention.

(3)

JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT AND ISSUE

Dispute between Canadian Pacific Limited (The Company) and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers with respect to the Incidental Work Rule.

DISPUTE

A claim by the Company that two integrated work assignments constitute integrated work assignments pursuant to the Incidental Work Rule contained in Rule 56 of Wage Agreement No. 52.4.

JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT

On March 31, 1989, the Company proposed a list of eight new integrated work assignments. Following a few review meetings, the Company work to the System General Chairmen of the Unions concerned to confirm the conclusion of the review process and the agreement on assignments nos. 2, 3 and 8. The assignments which are outstanding between the signatory parties are the following:

No. 4 Installation of additional or retrofit electrical equipment

No. 7 Covers, guards, hatches and roofs

JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE

The Company contends that the above-mentioned items (Nos. 4 and 7) constitute integrated work assignments pursuant to the Incidental Work Rule.

The Union denies the Company contention.

* * *

It is common ground that the Incidental Work Rule was part of a Master Agreement executed between the Company and five shopcraft unions on August 24, 1988. Two of those unions included the Machinists and Electricians. Subsequently the terms of that agreement were agreed to apply to the Boilermakers. The Rule provides, in part, as follows:

1. The purpose of this Appendix is to provide for a procedure whereby, under certain circumstances, work pertaining to one craft, as per the Special Craft Rules, may be performed by another craft.

2. Except as is permitted by this rule, work will be performed by employees in the craft to which such work is now assigned. Notwithstanding any other rules to the contrary, in order to efficiently complete an integrated work assignment involving the work of two or more crafts, a tradesman in one craft may be required to do the work of another craft for short periods of time, provided that the tradesman is qualified to perform the work. Where that work is normally performed with a helper, the helper, likewise, may be required to do the work of the helper of the other craft. The work that may be the operation of any equipment or machinery necessary for the completion of the integrated work assignments.

3. The maximum period of time that an employee in one craft may be assigned to do the work of another under paragraph 2 shall be limited to thirty (30) minutes in respect of any one such integrated work assignment.

4. No employee shall be laid off as a direct result of the application of this incidental work rule. (See Annex 1)

5. Prior to September 24, 1988 the parties will meet to review the 67 integrated work assignments forwarded to the Union's on May 24, 1988. If thirty (30) days following the date of the first such meeting there are any items that the parties are not in agreement constitute an integrated work assignment within the meaning of this rule, either party may submit such item or items to binding arbitration. The arbitrator shall be Mr. J.F.W. Weatherill of Arbitration Services Ltd. or such other arbitrator as the parties may agree upon, or in the event agreement cannot be reached, as determined pursuant to Rule 29.3.

6. The agreed-to changes will not be implemented until final resolution of those items progressed to arbitration. Implementation will take place 30 days following receipt of the arbitrator's award.

7. In determining whether or not an integrated work assignment falls within the scope of this rule the arbitrator will be bound by the following:

i) Safety.

ii) The time limit of 30 minutes of incidental work per craft per integrated work assignment

iii) That the employee assigned to the integrated work assignment is qualified to perform the incidental work (See Annex 2)

iv) That the change in procedure is necessary in order to efficiently complete the integrated work assignment

8. In addition to the items mentioned in paragraph 5 above, in the three-month period at the start of each succeeding calendar year, the Company will be free to present a list of further proposed integrated work assignments to the General Chairman involved. The some procedure of study, final resolution (if necessary) and implementation as provided for above will apply.

(emphasis added)

In addition to the foregoing, the Rule contains two Annexes in the form of letters dated August 24, 1988 dealing with specific concerns as to job security, the protection of craft jurisdiction and familiarization for employees assigned integrated tasks. The Company initially proposed 67 integrated work assignments, 46 of which were ultimately agreed to by the Unions. Others were dropped and the balance, numbering 17, were submitted to arbitration before Mr. Weatherill on February 22, 1989. His award dated March 20, 1989 approved all but one of the proposed integrated work assignments then in dispute.

This dispute arises as a result of subsequent proposed integrated work assignments tabled by the Company on March 31, 1989. Agreement was reached on a number of those, with one being dropped because it exceeded the 30-minute time limit. The balance of the disputes are now before me for adjudication under paragraph 8 of the Rule.

Before turning to the merits of the specific claims before me, it is useful to reaffirm two general points of principle established in the award of Arbitrator Weatherill. The first is that in a claim such as this the onus is upon the Company. This was expressed by Mr. Weatherill at page 5 of his award SHP No 264:

I agree with the Union's position that the onus in a case such as this is on the Company to show that with respect to each proposed integrated assignment the criteria set out in clause 7 of appendix XIV are satisfied.

The second principle concerns the configuration of tasks and assignments for the purpose of the Rule. At p. 19 of his award Arbitrator Weatherill made the following comments:

It was further argued by the Union that in normal main shop conditions, the various changeout and other tasks which have been referred to here form, along with other tasks, part of a broader assignment. As I noted earlier in this award, it would not be proper for the Company to subdivide the mechanical tasks so as to arrive at a set of smaller electrical elements which would then come within the 30-minute limit. That is not to say, however, that for each of a number of properly identified individual tasks and I consider those dealt with above to be such the incidental electrical tasks may not be independently considered. The matter of any resulting reduction in the need for one craft or another is addressed in Annex 1 to Appendix XIV.

CHANGEOUT TRACTION MOTOR/WHEEL ASSEMBLY

I turn to consider the individual claims. The first concerns the changeout of the traction motor/wheel assembly. This involves the removal and re-application of these units, along with brake-rigging binders, from locomotives. It is common ground that presently two machinists disconnect the brake-rigging, the pedestal binders and drain the oil from the suspension bearings. They also remove the traction motor nose spring and lower the motor partially. At that point an electrician is required to perform the disconnection of cables and a ground wire which the Company maintains is an incidental task that should also be performed by the machinists. It involves removing the cable support blocks with the ground wire, and disconnecting four traction motor cables. It is common ground that the cables are not live during this operation, and the Arbitrator is satisfied that the task of disconnecting the cables is relatively simple and straightforward.

The Union raises a number of exceptions to the Company's characterization of this operation including its view that in all cases it can be completed in 30 minutes or less. Firstly, it maintains that the motors on certain locomotive trucks, and in particular motors no. 2 and no. 5 on the 4500 and 4700 series MLW locomotives, require the employee to work in a confined space, which slows the process of disconnecting. Additionally, in a number of cases, including motors no. 2 and 3 on the MLW locomotives in the 4200 series, the craftsman is required to tag cables for identification. Thirdly, the IBEW asserts that certain traction motors cannot be electrically disconnected within the 30-minute time limit because they have axle generators attached to them. Among MLW locomotives it cites each of the four axles of the 4500-4507 series, one of the six axles on the other 4500 series units, with the exception of the RSC modification, when there are two axle generators, and each of the six axles of the 4700 series. Additionally, the Union maintains that on one of the axles of a GM locomotive an axle generator is to be found, with the exception of PTC units where all axles are connected to the axle generator. Lastly, the Union submits that where two or more motors are to be removed the assignment cannot be completed under 30 minutes and therefore should be viewed as excluded from the Rule.

The Arbitrator has some difficulty with the final position asserted by the Union. In my view, to adopt the language and reasoning of Arbitrator Weatherill, the changeout of an individual motor can constitute an integrated work assignment, so that where a machinist is assigned to do a number of changeouts on a single locomotive unit the assignment to him or her of the incidental electrical disconnection on each of them does not constitute an artificial subdivision of the task involved. In other words, in my view, the removal of each traction motor/wheel assembly constitutes a "properly identified individual task" for the purposes of establishing an integrated work assignment.

Nor, on balance, can I ascribe great weight to the Union's assertion that such factors as cramped quarters, excessively tight bolts and tight fitting connector sleeves can delay the process of disconnection beyond the 30 minute limit. Those conditions appear to be exceptional, rather than the rule. I an satisfied that in framing the terms of paragraph 7 (ii) of the Rule the parties contemplated, insofar as possible, the completion of a particular assignment or task in normal operating conditions. As the Union has not established, or even asserted, that tight bolts, sleeves and cramped quarters will delay the process beyond 30 minutes in all cases, or even in a preponderance of cases, I cannot conclude that the mere possibility of these factors would bring the assignment outside the Rule.

However, different considerations arise with respect to the removal of axle generators. As appears from the facts related above, these may vary in number and location on different models of locomotives. The evidence adduced by the Union establishes that in some cases the removal of axle generators, coupled with the disconnecting of the electrical cables, will inevitably cause this incidental craft assignment to take longer than 30 minutes. The Arbitrator finds that position to be plausible in light of the steps involved and having further regard to the Company's own assessment that the process of disconnecting the cables and ground wire alone should be estimated at 25 minutes. In the circumstances, therefore, I must conclude that the Company has not discharged the onus of demonstrating that where axle generators are connected the task of the incidental craft can always be accomplished within the 30-minute time limit. On that basis, therefore, the Company's claim is allowed, in part. The Arbitrator finds and declares that the disconnecting of cables and ground wire performed in relation to the changeout of traction motor/wheel assembly units is an integrated work assignment within the meaning of the incidental work rule, which may be assigned to a machinist. However the assignment does not fall within the Rule where the changeout operation also involves the removal of an axle generator in circumstances where the entire operation cannot be performed in less than 30 minutes. Moreover, where the change-out of an entire truck is involved it shall be considered to be a single task or assignment for the purposes of the Rule. In those cases the status quo shall apply.

INSPECTION OF REEFER CARS AND CABOOSES IN TRANSIT

The incidental work involved in this claim is the boosting of the dead batteries which are part of the diesel engine attached to refrigeration cars and cabooses. It consists of a 12-volt battery, similar in all respects to batteries found on trucks and some large automobiles. The boosting is done much in the same way as for vehicles, by means of jumper cables attached to a booster battery source.

The work, which has traditionally been done by electricians, is proposed to be assigned to carmen as work incidental to their normal car inspection duties. The sole ground of dispute is safety. The Union asserts that in some instances the polarity of the batteries cannot be easily identified, and that a meter may be necessary to determine which poles are positive and negative before connecting the jumper cables.

The Company asserts that in most, if not all, cases the positive and negative designation on the poles of the batteries will be identifiable to a carman performing the booster function. It argues that the Union's concern is excessive in the circumstances, citing the number of vehicle batteries that are boosted by non-electricians without apparent mishap.

On balance, the Arbitrator concludes that the Union's concerns, while genuine, do not constitute a risk of sufficient substance to take the assignment in question outside the purview of the Incidental Work Rule. The assignment of the booster process to the carmen does not mean that a carman, properly familiarized with the routine and risks of the assignment, may not decline to proceed when there is genuine uncertainty as to the identity of the poles on a battery that is to be boosted. In that case, in the interests of safety he or she may justifiably request the assistance of an electrician with a meter as a means of resolving that problem. The existence of that exceptional possibility, however, does not satisfy the Arbitrator that, as a general matter, this task cannot be dealt with under the terms of the Incidental Work Rule. For these reasons the Company's proposal is allowed.

INSTALLATION OF ADDITIONAL OR RETROFIT ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT

The Company proposes that electricians who are assigned to install electrical equipment on locomotives and cars be permitted to cut openings, drill and tap holes for the mounting of the equipment on panels, floor or bulkheads. Examples of the kind of apparatus involved are event recorders and crew alerters. These devices, mounted in the cab of the locomotive, have mounting brackets which allow them to be fastened to the wall of the locomotive cab by means of screws or bolts. The Company maintains that the electrician installing the equipment should be allowed to perform the incidental craft function of cutting the opening, drilling and tapping the holes to mount the apparatus. Other examples cited include dynamic brake panels, wheel slip panels and small refrigerators which are bolted to the floor and wall of the locomotive cab.

The Union objects that the "generic" description of the integrated work assignment involves establishing a class of assignments, which it maintains goes beyond the intention of the Incidental Work Rule. Its representative argues that the Company's proposal would amount to a "blank cheque" whereby the Company may assign work previously performed by machinists to electricians, even where the precise nature of the work cannot now be determined.

The Arbitrator has difficulty with that submission. Firstly, the proposed incidental craft assignment is not vague or uncertain. It is confined to cutting openings, drilling and tapping holes in relation to the installation of new or retrofit electrical equipment. By the very nature of the rule the task cannot exceed 30 minutes in length, and must be incidental to the electrician's function. It is, moreover, an integrated work assignment which is presently in force, between CN and its Shopcraft Unions. On balance I can see no significant prejudice to the Union by the granting of this assignment. Nor am I persuaded that the language of the Rule would prohibit such an application, as the parties themselves have demonstrated by agreeing to the inclusion of other "generic" categories of assignment. Needless to say, nothing in this determination forecloses the Union's right from grieving the abuse or misapplication of the aspect of the Incidental Work Rule should it be misapplied in any particular case in the future.

For the foregoing reasons the Company's request in respect of the installation of additional or retrofit electrical equipment is granted.

COVERS/GUARDS/HATCHES AND ROOFS

The Company proposes an integrated work assignment whereby craftsmen, including electricians, machinists, carmen and pipefitters who are performing service work or repairs on locomotives and freight cars be allowed to remove and apply doors, panels, roofs or other forms of covers or guards to have access to the equipment they are to work on. This historically has been the work of boilermakers. Obviously, the Company makes the claim only in respect of removals which can be accomplished within the 30 minute limit. Here again the Company has retained a "generic" approach to the assignment, offering examples of the kinds of panels and covers which would come under this proposed integrated work assignment.

For the reasons touched on in respect of the installation of additional and retrofit electrical equipment, the Arbitrator is satisfied that this request should also be granted. The suggestion of the Union that the removal of certain covers and guards may involve more than 30 minutes work is not, of itself, a reason to dismiss the Company's proposal. What it seeks is the right to assign to employees other than boilermakers the ability to remove hatches, covers and guards protecting equipment which the craftsman is required to work on, when the operation of removal or application can be accomplished in a simple, safe and straightforward manner in less than 30 minutes.

For the purposes of clarity, allowing this claim by the Company does not permit the assignment of removing hoods, covers and guards to persons other than boilermakers when such tasks, in relation to a specific craftsman's assignment, would require more than 30 minutes. Moreover, when several layers of covers and guards are to be removed before an electrician, machinist or other craftsman can begin his or her principal assignment, it is the total time for removal of all the covers and guards which must be looked to for the purposes of determining whether the removal and application of the covers constitutes an integrated work assignment. Where, for example, there are four different covers and guards which must be removed to access the piece of equipment to be serviced, and the total time for removing all of them exceeds 30 minutes, the assignment is not an integrated work assignment for the purposes of the Incidental Work Rule. Again, to borrow from the language of Arbitrator Weatherill, the Company cannot artificially separate the removal of each cover, hatch or guard in that circumstance into separate assignments for the purpose of the Rule. Subject to the foregoing observations, the proposal of the Company is allowed.

The Arbitrator retains jurisdiction in the event of a dispute between the parties with regard to the interpretation or implementation of this Award.

DATED at Toronto this 9th of July, 1990.

(sgd) M. G. Picher

Arbitrator