Canadian Council of Railway Operating Unions

Le Counseil Canadien des Syndicats Opérationnels de Chemins de Fer




December 20th, 2002

Since our last bulletin, your Negotiating Committee met with the Company from October 20th to October 22nd in Alymer, Quebec; from November 25th to November 27th in Toronto, ON and from December 16th to December 20th in Calgary, AB.

At the Quebec meetings we concentrated on our respective demands.  This session was basically an informational session intended to ensure that both sides are clear on what the demands are intended to address. In addition, the Company served the Council with three letters regarding past practices of the company that they intend to cancel effective upon commencement of a new agreement.  Those letters dealt with the practice of:

1.                  calculating lost earnings based on the earnings made by a person’s turn when making a claim for lost wages, off assignment or held for company business

2.                  the intention of the Company to strictly apply the terms of the collective agreements in regard to the calculation of entitlement to annual vacation;

3.                  the payment of qualified train/yarpersons when called in their proper turn for an ad hoc trip as a Locomotive Engineer.

Subsequent to these meetings, the company has withdrawn one letter, the letter in regard to payment for qualified train/yardpersons when called in their proper turn for an ad hoc trip as a Locomotive Engineer.  This was done after it was shown that the position the Company took wasn’t in keeping with past jurisprudence on the subject.  The other two letters are still being reviewed by the Council to determine how they are to be handled during the negotiations.

Another issue that came up was the issue of the Company’s plans for 2003 in regard to RQ.  We were informed that the Company had developed a new approach to RQ to be implemented for 2003.  That new approach is known as “Coaching for Safety”.  In a nutshell, the approach is to have trainers ride along with running trades crews in more of a one-on-one approach while those crews are on the job.  Unfortunately, the company undertook the development of this approach on their own.  They tell us that this was done based on feedback received from varying sources including you, the running trades employees.  We advised the Company that the collective agreements require that RQ and other related subjects will be developed in consultation with the General Chairs or their designates and that hadn’t taken place.  In view of this, the program is being discussed at the negotiating table to see if we can come to some resolution of the problem.  At this point in time, no resolution has been reached, but you will be advised if and when we do reach an agreement on the approach.

As many of you are aware, the Work/Rest Rules that are to replace the current Mandatory Time Off Duty regulations, have recently been approved by Transport Canada and are being implemented.  The Rules require that the Company file a Fatigue Management Plan with Transport Canada by not later than January 31st, 2003.  The plan is supposed to be developed in conjunction with the Unions.  In view of this fact and in view of the fact that we have a number of demands on the table dealing with fatigue management, we have devoted the meetings in November and December to this issue. 

At our last round of meetings that have just completed, we brought in Dr. Patrick Sherry Ph.D., from the University of Denver in Colorado.  Dr. Sherry has consulted with the BLE and UTU in the US in regard to fatigue management plans and comes highly recommended.  His presentation to us covered a number of subjects including a review of the current Calgary Project regarding time pools. 

We are currently reviewing a draft document that is to be filed with Transport Canada at the end of January.  We have agreed to review this document, have a conference call in early January to discuss the contents and then we hope to finalize a document when we meet in Toronto January 20th to 24th.  Once this issue has been dealt with, we will be able to return to other issues on the negotiating table. 

We have agreed to retain Canadian Benefits Consulting Group as our advisors in the area of pension and benefits.  We’ve written to their President, Mr. Roy Rastrick, asking him to work for us during this round of negotiations.  We are going to supply him with the current benefit and pension plans for our members, as well as the changes that other unions and other railways have agreed to in the past few years.  We are asking that he and his staff review the current plans, compare them to other plans and to industry standards, as well as review the recommendations that we have received from the field in regard to these two areas, in order to assist us in formulating our final demands in these areas.  Canadian Benefits will also do costing of benefits and pension enhancements as well as check out information that the company supplies in these areas. 

That brings all of you up to date on what has been going on.  You should know that due to the meetings of the General Committees of Adjustment for UTU east and west, there are no meetings scheduled in February but we have tentatively scheduled dates in March, April and the beginning of May to work toward an agreement.  On behalf of your negotiating committee, we want to wish all our Sisters and Brothers and their families the very best during the holiday season. 

Happy Holidays,

Dennis Curtis                                                                                        Lou Schillaci

General Chairman                                                                                 General Chairperson

CCROU (BLE) West                                                                           CCROU (UTU) West

Bob McKenna                                                                                     Donald Warren

General Chairman                                                                                 General Chairperson

CCROU (BLE) East                                                                            CCROU (UTU) East

CC:                  T. George Hucker, Vice President and National Legislative Representative, BLE

                        John W. Armstrong, Vice President, UTU



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