Maintenance Job Training Selection

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Local management may not use non-scheduled days as a criterion for Maintenance Craft job training selection, because doing so limits the number of potential applicants and excludes viable candidates.

Local management may, however, include language on a training solicitation stating that the skill resulting from the completion of the training is necessary for a given set of work days, i.e. Wednesday and Thursday. Language of this nature does not limit the number of applicants. Rather, it incorporates all volunteers within the identified occupational group, level, and tour with scheduled days that meet the required need.

Article 38, Section 6.A.1, contains specific language governing job training opportunities, posting of these opportunities, content of the posting of job training opportunities as well as the method of selection.

Article 38, Section 6.A.1, requires local managers to identify, on the training solicitation, the occupational group, level and tour where the trained employee is needed.

The phrase, "the occupational group, level and tour where the need for the skill exists," is broken down as follows:

  1. The occupational group (e.g. MPE, BEM, ET) 
  2. The level (PS-07, PS-06, PS-08) 
  3. The tour (tour 1, 2, or 3) 
  4. Where the need for the skill exists (specific non-scheduled days on a particular tour)

Therefore when seniority is the determining selection factor, it may be possible for local management to bypass a senior volunteer and select a junior employee on the tour for specific job training due to the non-scheduled days as well as the scheduled days the skill is needed.

For example, assume there is a need for a specific skill requiring job training on tour 2 and the need is for seven day coverage. The senior volunteer on tour 2 has a work-week of Saturday through Wednesday. Selecting this employee leaves a coverage need on Thursday and Friday. However, the next several volunteers also have Thursday and Friday as nonscheduled days; local management elects to bypass these senior employees and selects a junior employee that has scheduled work days of Thursday and Friday.

A plain reading of the phrase, "the occupational group, level and tour where the need to the ON exists" could result in a finding that local management's selection violated the selection process since non-scheduled days are not one of the determining factors for maintenance job training selection. This is precisely the issue the Union adjudicated in case H1T-3A-C-5761 before National Arbitrator Richard I. Bloch. Arbitrator Bloch denied the union’s grievance. He ruled:

There is more than one interpretation available for this provision. The contested language does require that seniority be considered in the context of "occupational group, level and tour." But the language also refers to "need." This leads to at least two possibilities. One might argue that once any need has been identified within a given group, level and tour, Management must proceed by strict seniority. That is, in essence, the approach here suggested by the Union. The problem with this, however, is illustrated by the instant facts. Here, after weekday requirements had been covered by selecting the most senior individual, the only remaining "need" was for weekend coverage. That could not be satisfied in this case by selecting the next senior personnel. There was, then, no "need" for people whose work assignments did not cover weekends. Management need not have selected those individuals. But the need still existed on weekends. Surely this language may not be read as requiring the training of those who would not satisfy the need. Yet, applying the language as suggested by the Union would require either that this be done or that the slot be left vacant. But that is contrary to the assumption of the entire provision. Nor may one infer an intent to require restructuring workweeks or assignment on some overtime or premium basis. Had the parties intended that significant a deviation from the normal assignment pattern, it was incumbent on them to have so stated.

The more reasonable conclusion is that the parties intended to establish a suitable method for protecting seniority in those situations where a need has been identified. So long as Management proceeded, by seniority, to select the most senior individual in the occupational group, level and tour where the need existed (in this case on Fridays and Saturdays) it was acting in accordance with the language of the agreement.

Based on the language of this interpretive decision, local management may only use an employee’s "scheduled days" on the identified tour as the determining factor for maintenance job training selection. The use of non-scheduled days to restrict volunteers would be a violation of Article 38 Section 6.A of the National Agreement.

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