SHP – 512




(the “Company”)



(the “Union”




SOLE ARBITRATOR:                Vincent L. Ready



There appeared on behalf of the Company:

John Bate


And on behalf of the Union:

Brian McDonagh



A hearing in this matter was held at Vancouver, B.C., on September 28, 1999.



The issue giving rise to this dispute concerns an alleged violation of Rule 52.4B(a) of the Collective Agreement whereby a Weston Machinist Helper, Mr. T. Lockhart, was aggrieved when his Machinist Helper’s position, assigned to operate the drill press, was abolished and re-bid as a Machinist position.

Mr. Lockhart, the grievor, was a Machinist Helper at Weston Component Shops and worked in the Frog Shop. His duties were to operate and perform various assignments on a drill press. On September 8, 1997 his Machinist Helper’s position was abolished and then re-bid as a Machinist position.

The Union filed a grievance alleging that operating drill presses is considered Machinist Helper’s work under the Collective Agreement and that by bidding the position as a Machinist position, the Employer is in violation of Rule 52.4B(a). Rule 52.4B(a) reads, in part:

52.4B (a)         Helper’s work shall consist of helping machinists and apprentices, operating drill presses and bolt threaders not using facing, boring or turning head or millings apparatus…

(emphasis added)

The Union seeks as a resolution to this grievance the return of the position back to a Machinist Helper’s classification.

The Employer submits that, prior to the abolishment of the position in question, it examined the work needs within the Frog Shop in an attempt to attain operational consistency in work methods across the two-shift operation.

On the opposite shift to the grievor, the Machinist was performing the task of drilling, tapping, counter-boring, spot-facing, marking off and measuring track components and rails. The Employer determined that, in order to increase the efficiency of the operation and utilize resources effectively, it would be more beneficial to have the same Machinist position established on both shifts. It is that change that instigated this dispute.

It is the position of the Employer that nowhere within the provisions of the Collective Agreement does it prohibit the Machinist classification from performing the duties of operating a drill press. In fact, a review of the Rule 52B (Machinist’s Craft Special Rules) supports that operating of drill press is in fact work that can be done by the Machinist classification.

Rule 52.2B, in part, reads:

52.2B  Machinist’s work consists of laying out, fitting adjusting, shaping, boring, slotting milling and grinding of metals used in buildings, assembling, maintaining, dismantling and installing locomotives and engines (ratchet and other skilled drilling and reaming; tool and die making, tool grinding and machine grinding (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…

(emphasis added)

The Employer further argues that there are no provisions within the Collective Agreement that prohibit it from abolishing positions based on operational needs.

The Employer asserts that although Machinist Helpers operate drill presses as part of their duties, as per the Machinist Helper’s work identified in Rule 52.4B(a), another part of that Rule, Section (b), clearly outlines that there are no restrictions preventing Machinists from performing Helpers’ work. Rule 52.4B(b) reads in part:

52.4B(b)          The assignment of work specified in this Rule 52.4B, to helpers shall not be construed as restricting Machinist from performing Helpers work as required …

The Employer also notes that the classification of Machinist Helper no longer exists with the new Collective Agreement established in 1998, in which all past Helper classifications have been dovetailed into one classification, Common Helpers. The duties and responsibilities of the previous Helpers Classification remain the same.

The Employer submits that another change occurred in 1999, when Weston reverted the drilling back to Common Helpers. However, the Employer notes that the new Common Helper’s position has not been re-established in the Frog Shop for the performance of this work and, in fact, the work of drilling has been redistributed to the existing positions. No new position was created, as a result of the decision and the previous position of the grievor no longer exists.


 In the circumstances of this case and based on the submissions before me, I am unable to find that the operation of the drill press falls solely within the provisions of the Machinist Helper position.

Indeed, the Machinist classification sets out clearly that part of their duties is to operate the drill press. Specifically, the Collective Agreement states, “The assignment of work specified in this Rule 52.4(b) to Helpers shall not be construed as restricting Machinists from performing Helper’s work as required and subject to the following conditions …”

Therefore, based on the language of the Collective Agreement and having considered the facts of this case, I find there was no violation of the Collective Agreement.

In the result, the grievance is dismissed.

It is so awarded.

DATED AT THE CITY OF VANCOUVER in the Province of British Columbia this 29th day of October, 1999.