|Background to the Clover Bar TMC dispute|
|July 25, 2005
CN served notice on the CAW advising that effective August 12, 2004, the company would be abolishing five Train Movement Clerk
positions at Clover Bar, a satellite yard on the eastern outskirts of Edmonton. Initially, the company’s Article 8.1 notice simply stated that
the work currently being performed by the Clover Bar TMC's would be reassigned to TMC’s based at Walker Yard in Edmonton. After due
diligence on the part of the CAW, the union learned that much of the work was starting to be reassigned to UTU Traffic Coordinators.
The Company had previously abolished the UTU Traffic Coordinator positions at Clover Bar, assigning a portion of their work to these
same Clover Bar TMC’s, while Transportation supervisors performed the remainder of the duties. The UTU challenged CN at CROA,
also before Arbitrator Picher, back in 1999. The UTU lost that case, wherein Picher sided with CN that the Clover Bar Traffic Coordinators
were abolished by reason of operational changes within the Edmonton Terminal, and where the Traffic Coordinators at the West Tower
at Walker Yard appeared to have been assigned the residual duties at the West Tower location.
After much diligence on the part of Local UTU Officers, they went back to CROA in early 2004, at which time they were able to show
Arbitrator Picher that CN was not straightforward with him back in 1999. They presented evidence that proved much of the Clover Bar
UTU work was being performed by supervisors and TMC’s.
That entire case however, was vacated and now considered as “void” on account the CAW was not invited by the parties (CROA, CN and
the UTU) as an interested party at that hearing. Nevertheless, CN was still required to rightfully work out the reinstatement of the UTU
Traffic Coordinator positions at Clover Bar.
Upon meeting with UTU officials to work out details of this reinstatement, CN made immediate reference to abolishing the TMC
positions, citing they didn’t require two people at this location.
Notwithstanding this very busy location always having a TMC and Traffic Coordinator sit side by side, performing separate duties, CN
suggested in their response to the CAW grievance following the abolishment of the Clover Bar TMC’s, that the current and traditional
TMC “reporting duties” at Clover Bar was shared between the two bargaining units.
A short time following CAW members turning down a tentative contract offer, deciding instead to strike CN, the company pushed CAW
TMC on UTU Traffic Coordinators during the CAW Strike, threatening discipline if they didn’t perform the work and told them to get used to
performing TMC work, as the CAW positions would be abolished following the completion of the CAW Strike. Not long following, CN
issued a 120-day Article 8.1 notice to CAW Council 4000 Regional Representative Barry Kennedy advising of the abolishment of all five
TMC positions at Clover Bar.
Accordingly, the Union immediately followed up with a grievance on the matter to defend the work that was currently and traditionally
performed by CAW members at Clover Bar, and other Mountain Region locations.
After two delays, the hearing was finally heard before Arbitrator Michel Picher at the Canadian railway Office of Arbitration's hearings this
July in Edmonton. The grievance was dismissed on the basis that the current work ownership language within Collective Agreement 5.1
is meant to represent work currently and traditionally performed by the Council 4000 Bargaining cross-country, and not in a location-by-
CROA 3504, as the case will be referred to from this point forward, clearly sends a message to the leaders of Council 4000 and its Local
Unions; that being that Council 4000 “MUST” negotiate amendments to the current work ownership language of all its collective
agreements at CN in order that we may properly secure current and traditional work of our bargaining unit by amending these provisions
to be unmistakable that such work is protected on a location by location basis, not nationally.