PUBLIC LAW BOARD NO. 5725
Parties ST. LOUIS SOUTHWESTERN
to the and
Dispute UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION
Public Law Board Members
R.E. Dennis - Chairman and Neutral Member
S.L. Doolittle - Carrier Member
W.E. Hollis - Employe Member
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
This case raises a question concerning the amount of switching work that Conductor-only crews can perform in terminals where yard crews are on duty. In the past several years, the parties have attempted to define the relationship between yard/road rules and crew consist rules, specifically rules governing the use of Conductor-only crews, For the most part, these attempts at resolution have been unsuccessful at the bargaining table and the issue in one form or another has been submitted to arbitration.
The parties to this dispute have been involved in two recent arbitration proceedings that addressed the issue, but did not resolve it to the satisfaction of both parties. The decisions of those prior Boards will be referred to here as the Witt Crew Consist Award and the Zumas Award. These Awards resulted from arbitration panels chaired by Arbitrator Helen Witt and Arbitrator Nicholas Zumas.
ISSUE PLACED BEFORE THE ARBITRATION PANEL
The parties were unable to agree on a single question to place before this Board, so each presented its own, While their issues may be worded differently, the dispute essentially centers on the question of how much switching can be required for Conductor-only crews in terminals where yard crews are assigned.
Is the Carrier violating the Witt Crew Consist Award and other applicable agreements by requiring un- supplemented Conductor-only crews to perform general yard switching?
Does the Witt Award affect the work which may be performed by unsupplemented Conductor-only, through freight crews at their initial/final terminal?
As noted, it is this Board's responsibility to determine how much switching can be assigned to Conductor-only through freight crews, Specifically, can Carrier assign general yard switching to these crews? Based on firsthand knowledge of the intent of the Arbitration Board involved in Arbitration Case No. 509, as well as our analysis of the applicable language of the Witt Award and the Zumas interpretation of that Award, this Board is compelled to adopt the position put forth by the Union in the instant dispute.
We can find no indication in any of the documents relied on by Carrier to support the notion that Conductor-only through freight crews can be used to perform general switching not associated with their own trains within initial or final terminals, Nor do we find any basis in these Awards for authorizing carrier to call a Conductor-only through freight crew and use that crew to perform general switching for an eight-hour shift without ever leaving the terminal with a train.
In the Award of Arbitration Board No. 509, the issue of what work Conductor-only crews could perform in initial and final terminals was considered. As Chairman of that Board, I can state that the issue of general switching by Conductor-only road crews was not discussed, It was the intent of the 509 Board to grant the Carrier's request for Conductor-only crews, but not to negate the effect of obtaining the reduced crew size by restricting what work could be done by the crew in readying and yarding its train. To that end, the 509 Board concluded that the reduced crew could be expected to perform the normal switching required to ready and yard its train. It made no sense to the Board to establish a Conductor-only crew and then not allow that crew to perform its normal switching duties at terminals, The issue of how much general switching could be done by the crew if that work was not associated with the crew's train never arose. Utilization of Conductor-only through freight crews as yard switching crews was not contemplated, The issue of what switching could be done by Conductor-only through freight crews was always considered in relation to the crew's train, not to readying or yarding other trains or general yard switching.
This Board cannot read the Witt or the Zumas Award to go beyond the intent of the 509 Board. In fact, Arbitrator Zumas invoked the wording of the Award in that instance to support his interpretation of the Witt Award on the subject, The pertinent wording of the 509 Award on the issue is as follows:
The work that C&NW may require of a road freight crew at its initial and final terminals is governed by applicable pro- visions of the UTU National Agreements, Those provisions allow the Carrier to require such a crew to engage in limited work with respect to readying its train for departure from the initial terminal. This involves, for example, doubling its train and yarding the train at the final terminal, as well as performing a specific number of pick ups and set outs at such terminals. Thus, we believe that the UTU National Agreements establish the industry practice with respect to the question of what work a road freight ground crew may be required to perform at its initial and final terminals.
The Board in this instance is impressed with the fact that none of the arbitration Awards cited in the record before us specifically addresses the issue of requiring Conductor-only crews to perform general switching within a terminal or, for that matter, any switching not associated with their own trains, It is this Board's conclusion that no arbitration Board preceding this one contemplated that switching unassociated with preparing or yarding the crew's train would be a part of the crew's duties. Consequently, it is this Board's decision to adopt the Union's position in this case. The Board concludes that the proposed Findings presented by the Union in its submission can be modified slightly and presented as the Findings of this Board.
Through freight Conductor-only crews may only engage in switching work incidental to yarding their trains at the final terminal and switching work incidental to preparing their train for departure at the initial terminal. Through freight conductor-only crews may not engage in general switching or general yard switching.
Neither the Witt Award or the Zumas interpretation of that Award authorized general yard switching by Conductor-only yard crews,
R.E. Dennis, Neutral Member
D.L. Hollis, Employe Member
S.L. Doolittle, Carrier Member