CANADIAN COUNCIL OF RAILWAY OPERATING UNIONS
SPECIAL INFORMATION BULLETIN
PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY
Sisters and Brothers:
By now you are all aware that the RCTC are in a legal position to strike and the Company is likewise in a legal position to lockout the Rail Traffic Controllers due to a breakdown in negotiations. Both have served notice to exercise their rights in this regard and we expect the Rail Traffic Controllers to set up a picket line at or near the entrances to our workplace.
Picket lines at any workplace create difficult situations and when the picket line is one set up by our Railway Sisters and Brothers the situation becomes one of the most difficult to deal with. Although we, as trade unionists, believe in and support the concept of the sanctity of a picket line, common law and the jurisprudence which fashions it, requires that non-striking employees who are faced with a picket line of another bargaining unit must make every reasonable effort to attend to their place of employment, and report for duty. It has been held in some jurisdictions that these same employees can exercise their Right to Refuse dangerous work (as provided for by Section 128, Part n Canada Labour Code) if they have reasonable grounds to believe that their health or safety is in jeopardy.
As in all instances of exercising the right to refuse unsafe work, there must not only be reasonable grounds, but those grounds must be based on subjective evidence. In other words, an employee may be required, in the process of an official investigation into the refusal, to identify a person or persons who threatened them.
We ask you to be extra vigilant in your job performance during this period. CP Rail will be using replacement workers to perform the duties of the RTC in the event of a strike or lockout. The Company has stated publicly that these replacement workers (managers) have past RTC experience and have undergone extensive re-qualification to take on these duties.
We want all our members to ensure that this commitment is lived up to by the actions of these replacement workers. Check and double check all information provided by these people. Ensure that their directions are clear and in accordance with all existing rules and regulations as well as in accordance with the provisions of your collective agreement. Any and all violations or suspected violations of the rules, regulations or your collective agreement should be immediately reported to your local Union representatives. This should include any violation that is pointed out by you and rectified by the person in charge.
Such reports should include all pertinent information about the incident such as time, place, train number, name of replacement worker alleged to be in violation of the rule, regulation or article of the collective agreement, witnesses to the incident, etc. We also suggest that it isn't our members' responsibility to manage train operations. The responsibility to manage train operations is up to these replacement workers and you should do exactly as you are told unless it is unlawful or compromises the safety of yourself, the public or fellow employees.
The CCROU is in negotiations and the General Chairs are of the position that no local agreements be entered into with the Company after today's date. We also request that terminals that have raised mileage limits notify the Company that this relaxation in the collective agreement rules will end in the near future when the Divisions and Locals can comply.
Remember; report all safety concerns related to signals, rules/regulations, radio communication, etc. to your Legislative Representative and Local Chair. These local representatives should immediately contact their senior Union Officers (National Legislative Representative/Director and General Chairs) in order that they can deal with the Company and Transport Canada in regard to any violations of rules, regulations or collective agreement provisions by these replacement workers.
Finally we remind all our members that, "Safety and a willingness to obey the rules is of the first importance in the performance of duty. If in doubt, the safe course must be taken." Be safe out there and ensure that others work safe as well" We want all our members to return home to their families as they left them.
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