G.A. Edwards

Local Chairman

                                                                                                            May 22, 2002. 

                                                                                     

Mr. K.E. Sali

Manager of Operations (Road)

C. P. Railway Company

Revelstoke, B.C.

Re:       Policy grievance – engineers held away

Dear Sir:

Under the provisions of article 22.02 step 1 of the current Collective Agreement between Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian Council of Railway Operating Union (BLE), we are grieving the company’s policies and practices with regard to holding Locomotive Engineers at the away from home terminals in Kamloops and Field.

In an effort to reduce deadheading costs over the past several months the company has changed many long-standing practices and policies which have resulted in dramatic increases in time spent by our members at the away form home terminal. The union has been told verbally by Service Area Manager Stan Bell that the Operations Managers are instructed to not consider deadheading crews unless the held time is to be more than 12 hours.

Due to the constantly changing nature of the train line-ups available, this policy of planning for 12 hours has resulted in several instances of engineers being held for 15 hours and, in at least one case, over 20 hours. The root cause of this excessive heldaway is the company’s insistence that deadheading costs be reduced which makes the OMs reluctant to adjust the plan once these excessive lays become obvious.

Article 11 of the Collective Agreement discusses the issue of Engineers being held at the away from home terminal. Article 11.07 (below) outlines the company’s commitment in this area.

            11.07 The Company will make every effort to return Engineer to his home terminal as soon as possible.

Since  “as soon as possible” is not defined in this item, there are guidelines in other parts of article 11. The second paragraph of article 11.01 provides;

            In lieu of the provisions contained in the foregoing paragraph, Engineer in pool freight and in unassigned service working on a territory on which the Company has implemented conductor-only train operations, held at other than the home terminal longer than 10 hours without being called for duty will be paid minimum passenger rates on the basis of 12-1/2 miles per hour for all time held in excess of 10 hours except that in cases of wreck,  snow blockage or washouts on the subdivision to which assigned, Engineers held longer than 10 hours will be paid for the first 8 hours in each subsequent 24 hours thereafter. Time will be computed from the time pay ceases on the incoming trip until the time pay commences on the next outgoing trip.

This article defines what is considered excessive time held away and provides a penalty to the company in rare instances where the vagaries of the business sticks a crew at the away from home terminal for excessive time.  This small compensation for our membership is meant to offset the rare circumstances when the company cannot live up to the commitment made with article 11.07. The company’s new deadheading policy has made excessive heldaway a systemic rather than random occurrence. Furthermore, a policy of no deadheading if the lay is to be less than 12 hours is two hours longer than the standard set out in article 11 and therefore in violation of the collective agreement.

Should you wish to dispute my general description of the problem, I can provide numerous cases of engineers being held for excessive amounts of time, as mentioned above. I suggest the best information would be the totals of held away claims broken down by month for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 to date. I would be glad to review these statistics if you’re willing to provide them.

This whole issue is of the highest importance to our members since it impacts their entire family life. This increase in the time we are held in Kamloops or Field not only increases the total time spent to make our living, it does so at the expense of our families and personal lives. We want you to live up to the commitments made during the collective bargaining process and give us back our time.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of any future policies the company may adapt for the managing of crews, we request that you meet with us and discuss a local rule which allows our members to take back this time stolen from them and their families. Specifically, a rule which allows a member to book rest at the home terminal, over and above the provisions of the local rules and collective agreement, an amount of time equal their heldaway claim while at the away from home terminal.

Based on the above the union demands that the company rescind any instructions to the Operations Managers suggesting that anything more than a planned 10 hour lay is acceptable. We demand that the company take some sort of remedial action to reduce these numerous instances of engineers being held at the away from home terminal for more than 10 hours. The union demands that the company set policies for crew management that comply with the commitments made to your employees in our collective bargaining agreement. Finally, we demand that you sit down with the local union officers to find local solutions to the problem.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

G.A. Edwards