August 27, 2008
Arbitration dates are scheduled for September 22 & December 15-16 on the CN Pension consent dispute

After five days of mediation in April and May of 2008, which failed to produce a settlement, CN and the CAW began the formal
arbitration hearing on May 28 to decide whether CN has the right to deny consent for unreduced early retirement.  The CAW is
many preliminary objections aimed at limiting or completely stopping the issue from being fully heard.  Last week, the Arbitrator
Arbitrator Michel Picher has issued a decision on some preliminary objections raised by CN.  Here are some highlights:

  1. CN said the arbitration could only deal with the “54/11” issue, and not with whether CN has the right to deny consent to
    employees who retire after age 55.  Arbitrator Picher agreed with the CAW – he will hear and rule on both the pre-55 and
    post-55 situations.
  2. CN has claimed all along that the Arbitrator has no power to even deal with the grievance, because the pension plan is not
    included in the collective agreement.  CN asked him to rule on this issue first, before hearing the rest of the evidence.  The
    CAW argued that he should hear the whole case first then make up his mind as to his legal powers.  Mr. Picher agreed with
    the CAW.

The next step will be a written brief by the CAW’s legal counsel Lewis Gottheil to be submitted by August 29, 2008.  CN will provide
a written reply due on September 9, 2008.  Hearing dates are then scheduled for September 22 and December 15 and 16, 2008.

Although we have won these important procedural issues, the difficult part still lies ahead.  The Union must convince the Arbitrator
that he has the jurisdiction to even hear the grievance, and we must convince him that CN has made legally binding promises in the
past not to deny consent.

Any new developments or updates on this matter will be posted on
cawcouncil4000.com at such time it is made available.

Source:  CAW Railfax

Related:  

May 30, 2008 -
Mediation fails; arbitration begins on the CN Pension dispute
January 11, 2008 - Arbitration dates set for CN pension consent grievance
September 19, 2007 - Unions jointly address pension consent issue with CN
June 28, 2007 - CAW addresses recent CN report concerning Pension consent issue [Railfax - PDF]
July 18, 2006 - CN Unions issue letter to CN concerning policy change to CN Pension benefit [PDF]
June 13, 2006 - CAW issues Railfax in response to CN's announced Pension Plan change