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Canadian Railroads > Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work


Date: 11/25/19 18:07
Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: trainjunkie

Not sure how work/rest rules are in Canada but compared to some of the arguments between crews and dispatchers I've heard in the U.S., this was one of the most polite yet oblique conversations I've ever heard.

http://teamsterscanada.org/en/blog/2019/11/25/teamsters-release-recording-of-cn-ordering-fatigued-conductor-to-work/

Direct link to the sound file (7:37) if you don't wnt to read the accompanying "story": 

http://teamsterscanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2018-Oct-19-exhausted-worker.mp3



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/25/19 19:21 by trainjunkie.



Date: 11/25/19 21:58
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: xcnsnake

Canadian Work/Rest Rules for Railway Operating Employees:

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/rules-tco140-364.htm#toc5



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/25/19 21:58 by xcnsnake.



Date: 11/26/19 17:33
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: cn6218

In listening to the radio transmission, it appears that the crew "booked rest", which seems to be a contractual right, rather than a government regulation.  If that's the case, but they can be ordered to work longer anyway, then the contract is flawed, and I can see why they want it strengthened.  Although the exchange was polite, the Chief did resort to threatening them with a hearing at one point, but he didn't actually order them to work beyond the 10 hours.  Likewise, the conductor didn't actually refuse to keep working, he just made some related demands (inform Transport Canada first).

I don't know the history of the contract language, but I suspect it was some sort of compromise, that was later open to abuse.  At my old job we used to have a "short turnaround" clause in the contract.  If we started a shift less than 12 hours after the previous one ended, we were paid time and a half for time less than 12 hours.  It could be triggered by shifts intentionally scheduled too close togeather, or by overtime added to the previous shift.  The company HATED that, and wanted it gone.  Rather than strike over it, we agreed to language that said they wouldn't schedule shifts that close together, but there was NO actual penalty if it did happen for some reason.  You can guess what happened.

GTD



Date: 11/26/19 17:57
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: DrawingroomA

This CBC article says:

"In the end, the union said, the conductor did not move the train and was suspended for 14 days without pay as a result."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/cn-conductor-recording-1.5374082
 



Date: 11/26/19 18:09
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: Lackawanna484

who actually pulls the trigger to make the suspension happen?  Is that the chief dispatcher, or a superintendent, etc?

It sounds like both the conductor and the dispatcher were in a ballet, with each showing very precise, scripted points. Which could be used in an appeal of an expected penalty.
 



Date: 11/26/19 19:27
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: xcnsnake

It would happen after a full and impartial investigation...;)



Date: 11/26/19 20:11
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: eminence_grise

The contract language between CP and CN agreements may differ.  Crews wishing to use the collective agreement clause to book rest after ten hours on duty are required to inform the applicable supervisor within the first few hours of the shift. This is done using the point to train radio to contact the rail traffic controller who will relay the message to the supervisor.

Here's the rub. The RTC's main job is operating the traffic control system on the portion of track he/she controls. Messages not related to train operations sometimes get forgotten. Also, the supervisor may not be at his/her desk for prolonged periods. Intentionally or not, sometimes the request for rest after 10 hours is not received by the supervisor. There are no consequences should the supervisor say that he/she did not receive or chose to ignore the request. Some supervisors may accept a later request, believing that the proper notice was given earlier, others do not. 

In the recorded conversation, the conductor mentions that he had requested relief after 10 hours within the required period, and the supervisor does not detail why that request was not received by the supervisor.

During my years as a locomotive engineer for CP, I lived this scenario several times. Depending on who the supervisor was, sometimes I was willing to believe it was a breakdown in communication, with other supervisors, I felt it was a deliberate attempt to ignore the working agreement.



Date: 11/27/19 03:22
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: hoggerdoug

On BC Rail, our agreement read crews entitled to "rest or relief" on the tenth hour on duty. When CN tookover, most of their RTC's and Management were used to the Federal 12 hour clause and tried to apply it to BC Rail crews and disregarding our 10 hour clause in the Collective Agreement. There were some rather heated discussions between crews and the RTC interpreting the BC Rail rest clause. To the best of my knowledge and from personal experience, no crews were ever taken out of service for invoking the 10 hour clause. I must give the CN Conductor kudos in the radio recording for keeping his cool on the radio even though he was probably seething with anger and frustration.

On the other side of the coin, we had some crews willing to work over the 10 hour rest clause by requesting "a new day", in other word violating the collective agreement and getting an extra day pay to work beyond the tenth hour. The Union dealt with this matter and it came to an end.

Doug



Date: 11/27/19 06:43
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: eminence_grise

hoggerdoug Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> On the other side of the coin, we had some crews
> willing to work over the 10 hour rest clause by
> requesting "a new day", in other word violating
> the collective agreement and getting an extra day
> pay to work beyond the tenth hour. The Union dealt
> with this matter and it came to an end.
>
> Doug

One day in the 1980's, I ended up on Via 1, stuck behind a mud slide and on duty for about 18 hours. I had a road foreman (supervisor) riding with me. We were still using paper wage tickets. He said, "Sign and stamp a blank ticket, and I will take care of it". I forget what I was paid but it was far in excess of what my wage claim would have been.
It was then that I learned that company officers could generate wage claims which were paid without question.

Fast forward twenty years, and wage claims were computer generated. Someone was in a similar situation to me in regard to time on duty, and discovered that supervisors could still generate extra pay, usually another minimum day (100 miles). This was at a time when many crews were running out of time, and this emergency pay became almost frequent.
Soon, crews were saying they would work over their 10 hours for a minimum day extra pay on the radio. Fearing that this would become a frequent practice, both the union and company put an end to the practice. Sadly, those truly deserving extra pay in unusual circumstances no longer were paid. 

In a similar way, there is a Federally mandated "penalty payment" for any service performed after the 12 hour maximum service day. The 12 hour law mandates that the engineer no longer be at the controls of the locomotive, nor the conductor in charge of the train in terms of operating authority.  Non "safety critical' duties such as securing handbrakes can still be performed after 12 hours on duty. Part of this is to ensure the employees are still "working" in reference to Workers Compensation Claims. I believe the "penalty payment" is a minimum day (100 miles), however in these cases, penalty pay is reported to Transport Canada and the railway may be questioned why they required employees to work beyond twelve hours. 

In an important case on CP, a supervisor told a crew to leave a train unsecured. What he didn't do was ensure someone else would secure the train. The supervisor was fired and subsequently convicted of failing to ensure the train was secured. All that to ensure he did not have to authorize a penalty payment.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/19 09:45 by eminence_grise.



Date: 11/27/19 08:44
Re: Recording of CN Ordering Fatigued Conductor to Work
Author: Lackawanna484

Giving front line managers and supervisors enough latitude to get the job done is a key element of managing successfully. And, having your staff know the boss has their back is the other side of that process.

Sadly, both parts are long gone in many places.



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