CAW rail work must stay in Canada, arbitrator rules
National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada, (CAW-Canada): June 29, 2005
Canadian National Railway must stop maintaining Canada-based locomotives at its U.S. repair shops.
That's the bottom line of a landmark decision issued earlier this week by Arbitrator Jack Chapman in Winnipeg.
CAW Local 100 represents 2,500 workers whose job is to keep CN's locomotive and rail car fleet in safe running order. But CN's acquisition of U.S. railways in recent years has expanded its network of repair facilities. When Local 100 reps learned that CN had been quietly sending Canadian locomotives to its repair shop at Homewood, Illinois, among others, a grievance was filed.
In his long-awaited decision (issued one year after the hearing), Arbitrator Chapman ruled that CN violated Local 100?s contracting-out clause. He rejected CN's argument that it was merely "sending work to itself," finding that even though CN owned the shops, it could not legally be the same 'employer' on both sides of the border.
"Scheduled maintenance is the bread and butter of our major locomotive facilities at Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto, and the hundreds who work there," said CAW Local 100 president Bryon DeBaets. "It was vigilance and detective work by local and regional union reps that helped uncover what was going on and ultimately win this arbitration, which will help secure our jobs for the future."