SHP 335

IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION

BETWEEN

CANADIAN PACIFIC LIMITED

AND

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

GRIEVANCE RE ADEQUACY OF BULLETINS IN DIESEL ERECTING AT ANGUS SHOPS

 

 

SOLE ARBITRATOR: M. G. Picher

 

 

There appeared on behalf of the Union:

Abe Rosner Executive Secretary, CCRSU

Robert Laroche System General Chairman, IBEW

J-L. Tanguay Local Chairman

Robert Dulude Witness

 

 

There appeared on behalf of the Company:

A. Langlois Assistant Chief Mechanical Officer, Main Shops, Montreal

R. Pedicelli Director, Locomotive Maintenance, Montreal

R. Aubin Supervisor, Diesel Erecting, Angus Shops

A. Y. deMontigny Supervisor Personnel and Labour Relations, Mechanical Department, Montreal

D. J. David Labour Relations Officer, Montreal

 

A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on December 6, 1990.

 

AWARD

At the hearing the following Joint Statement of Fact and Issue was filed:

Dispute:

Grievance of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers against CP Rail concerning the adequacy of bulletins in Diesel Erecting at Angus Shops, Montreal.

Joint Statement of Fact:

On March 2, 1990, Mr. Jean-Luc Tanguay, Local Chairman of the IBEW, submitted a grievance concerning Bulletin No. 11 which advertised a position of Electrician in Diesel Erecting at Angus Shops. He requested more details on the bulletin and stated:

"According to our knowledge, all electricians employed in Diesel Erecting are engaged in one of the following occupations and/or locations: test department, rebuild program, major overhaul, specific repairs, etc. The bulletin in question, therefore, must specify details as to which of these jobs and/or locations is being advertised. Otherwise, it fails the test of adequacy as required by Rule 23.11 and confirmed by past jurisprudence.

We request that the bulletin be reissued in conformity with the above."

On September 21, 1990, Mr. André Langlois, Assistant Chief Mechanical Officer, wrote to Mr. R. Laroche and agreed to provide more specific details on future bulletins. In his letter of November 23, 1990 to Mr. Laroche, Mr. I.J. Waddell confirmed the Company's commitment.

Joint Statement of Issue:

The Union submits that bulletins advertising vacancies within Diesel Erecting ought to specify, under the heading "Location of Position", which of the six areas contains the vacancy being advertised, in order to satisfy the provisions of Rule 23.11. The Union requests a ruling to this effect.

The Company denies the Union's contention and states that the commitment of September 21 and November 23 meets the provisions of Rule 23.11 as requested.

***

The position of the Union is that the designation "Diesel Erecting" does not sufficiently describe the location of the bulletined work. It argues that there are six distinct work areas within the Diesel Erecting shop, and that these should be specifically designated as the location of a position for the purposes of a bulletin under rule 23.11 of the collective agreement. The grievance concerns, in a direct way, the application of rule 23.11 but also indirectly the operation of rule 23.14 which governs the exercise of seniority for the purposes of displacement. Those provisions are 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 the 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.

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.

Article 23.14 is obviously intended to depend upon the operation of article 23.11. Seniority rights can be exercised for the purposes of displacement within designated work areas, areas which are defined as they appear in bulletined positions under article 23.11.

A number of prior arbitral awards have considered the issue of the sufficiency of information reflected in posted bulletins (see e.g. SHP 45, 259, 307 and, most recently, the award issued in respect to the instant parties in relation to work areas at OgdenShops in Calgary, dated July 20, 1990 [SHP-316]). In the arbitrator's view two themes emerge from those awards. The first is that rule 23.11 implicitly requires a degree of specificity in the information provided, so as to ensure that the applicant for a job bulletin is in a position to make an informed choice. The sufficiency of information on bulletins, however, has been consistently distinguished by the arbitrators from rights of work ownership and the undue restriction of the ability of the Company to assign employees to tasks within a given work area. Secondly, as reflected in the most recent award, substantial deference is shown by the arbitrators to the practice of the parties in the treatment of work areas for the purposes of job bulletins over a substantial period of time. It is on that basis that the arbitrator directed that the Company continue to utilize four previously designated work areas for the purposes of bulletining, when the work in question was transferred from Angus Shops to Ogden Shops.

The instant case concerns the sufficiency of information reflected in bulletin #11, dated February 9, 1990, and posted at Angus Shops in Montreal. It is common ground that that notice described the location of the positions as "Diesel Erecting" and with respect to the type of position stated simply "Electrician".

In the Arbitrator's view, for the reasons related in the prior awards, that form of bulletin does not comply with the requirements of rule 23.11. It is not disputed that there are a number of relatively stable sets of tasks and assignments within the Diesel Erecting Shop, and that these have generally been filled by the same individuals for a number of years.

During the process of the grievance the Company conceded that the bulletin did not provide sufficient information. In a letter dated September 21, 1990 Assistant Chief Mechanical Officer A. Langlois proposed the three following examples as hypothetical bulletins which would provide sufficient information:

EXAMPLE 1

Location of position: Diesel Erecting Area

(work area) Locomotive Department

Nature of work: Specific repairs, main generator, changeout wreck damage, general (repairs) or any other electrician's duties that may be required.

EXAMPLE 2

Location of position: Diesel Erecting Area

(work area) Locomotive Department

Nature of work: Load testing, or any other electrician's duties that may be required.

EXAMPLE 3

Location of position: Diesel Erecting Area

(work area) Locomotive Department

Nature of work: Modifications, auxiliary generators, exciters, batteries, traction-motor work, or any other electrician's duties that may be required.

It is common ground that the above examples, in respect of the nature of work described, correspond to areas 1, 4 and 2 respectively of the Diesel Erecting Shop. Those are areas in which staff work on a regular basis performing work of the nature described in the examples provided by Mr. Langlois. In the Arbitrator's view a bulletin which reflected the information contained in the three examples provided would be in compliance with the requirements of rule 23.11. To that extent the grievance must be allowed, and the Arbitrator finds and declares that the wording of bulletin #11 dated February 9,1990 was inadequate, in that it did not meet the standard of sufficiency of the examples subsequently provided in the letter of Mr. Langlois dated September 21, 1990.

That conclusion will not satisfy the Union, however. Its clear position is that the Company is required to establish each of the six work areas as a discrete location for the purposes of the bulletin. The arbitrator can find no basis for that position either in the language of article 23.11, in the jurisprudence or in the established practice of the parties themselves. The material before the arbitrator establishes, beyond controversy, that the bulletining positions, by reference to location, was discussed between the Shopcraft Unions and the Company in respect of Angus Shops some 14 years ago. In a letter dated September 22, 1976 the Work Manager issued a letter describing the locations which the Company agreed to bulletin specifically. Sixteen separate locations are listed for the electricians, one of which is the Diesel Erecting area. It is not disputed that the practice of the Company from then to the present time has been, without apparent exception, to designate the Diesel Erecting Shop as the location of work bulletined within that area.

In the Arbitrator's view the same considerations which caused the Union's grievance in respect of Ogden Shops to be successful, apply in the instant case, with the contrary result. The material before the Arbitrator reflects that for many years the parties have accepted that the designation "Diesel Erecting Shop" is a sufficient indication of the location of work for the purposes of job bulletining. That practice has persisted through a number of renewals of their collective agreement without any apparent grievance, to the present time. In the circumstances the Arbitrator is persuaded that neither the language of the collective agreement nor the practice of the parties supports the position advanced by the Union. On that basis the grievance cannot succeed insofar as it seeks to obtain an order from the Arbitrator that the six areas within the Diesel Erecting Shop be designated as the location of positions for the purposes of job bulletining under rule 23.11. Given the history and circumstances, any change of that order must be obtained at the bargaining table, and not through arbitration.

For the foregoing reasons the grievance is allowed, in part. The Arbitrator finds and declares that job bulletin #11 dated February 9, 1990 provided insufficient information, in violation of rule 23.11, and that the kind of information alternatively provided in the three examples suggested the letter of Mr. Langlois dated September 21, 1990 would comply with the requirements of the rule.

I retain jurisdiction in the event of any dispute between the parties having regard to the interpretation or implementation of this award.

DATED at Toronto this 10th day of December, 1990.

(sgd) M. G. Picher

Arbitrator