Tuesday, November 08, 2016

CP launches website defensive to TSB fatigue findings

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CP originally responded last week that the “misguided comments...do little to enhance industry safety or improve the quality of life for conductors and engineers.”

CP's site, www.workrestandtimeoff.ca, also outlines CP's labour relations story, communications CP has had with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference – Train & Engine (TCRC-T&E) leadership and models CP has presented.

"The new site takes all of the information related to work, rest and time off and puts it in one place," said Peter Edwards, CP's Vice-President People. "This is an important step as we want all employees to see first-hand the extensive work we have done, and continue to do, on this topic across our North American network. For real change to occur in Canada, collective agreements need to be more progressive and forward-looking to address the needs of today's employee."

CP points to a United States example: The Soo Line and the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern, as documented on the new site, which CP says are moving to an age where employees can have more predictable work patterns and in the process deliver better, more reliable service to customers. In Canada, CP believes attempts to change how unassigned road service employees are scheduled have stalled because the current collective agreements are antiquated and based in the steam era.

"We had unions in the U.S. vote for these changes even before collective agreements expired, and those employees have benefited as a result," said Edwards. "In Canada we remain at a standstill with the TCRC-T&E, unable to engage with them in a meaningful way on this important topic. While TCRC leadership states one of the reasons they went on strike in 2015 was 'fatigue' we were not able to get them to sit with us and talk about it. With no way to engage with them, we took action and put in mandatory rest for T&E employees. The result: they grieved it 41 times."

In the resulting arbitral decision dealing with the issue of mandatory time off between trips, Arbitrator John Stout stated, "I acknowledge that fatigue is a matter of safety that affects both the company, the Union's members and the general public. Addressing fatigue is in the best interests of both parties to this proceeding. The issue should be addressed in collective bargaining either by agreement or in an interest arbitration award. It is not the role of a rights arbitrator to set public policy or rewrite the parties' collective agreement."

The current arbitrated agreement with the TCRC-T&E expires December 31, 2017. However, it is CP's belief that a solution to this issue can and should be found sooner.

"We want employees to come to work rested, have meaningful time with their loved ones and be able to support their families," said Edwards. "Assigned days off and mandatory rest achieves this."







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