Contract Educational Bulletin 13-02
“Work not in connection with own train” (WNICW)
I get asked quite often about if something is or isn’t “good” claim. A lot of what goes into a good claim is the information you the member supply as to what transpired.
I’ve included two separate Public Law Boards (PLB’s) in this bulletin both dealing with “work not in connection with” your assignment. You’ll notice the awards are by the SAME Arbitrator, Robert O. Harris who was also the Arbitrator of PEB 219 which granted the Carrier rights to do such work. This is key because Harris set the standard, and his awards provide insight into what the provisions of PEB were all about and what exactly the Arbitrators thoughts were when he issued his decision. Subsequent awards will seldom deviate from the standard set by other Arbitrators, and if they do it is usually because there was information lacking in the claim, or a lack of a “nexus” provided by the claimant in his/her claim to the actual work done being “not in connection with” the assignment. These awards provided below might help with the claims writing process on your part because once you get the idea what they look for from you the claim writer, you’ll provide the pertinent info and write better claims.
In PLB 4975 A 34 (Harris) a road crew was instructed by the Yardmaster to take locomotives that were not in connection with the road movement from one point in the yard to the engine house. This was done where yard crews were employed 24/7.
The Arbitrator sustained payment based on language of previous awards and because the organization proved that the movement of the other locomotives had nothing to do with the road movement.
In PLB 4975 A71 (Harris) a road crew was instructed by the yardmaster to set aside a yard locomotive that was coupled to their train, and that yard locomotive was acting as an “air supply” to the cars for the road train. The Arbitrator denied the case based on the fact that the yard locomotive blocking the road crews path, was being used at the time for the “furtherance of the cars that were to be a part of the claimants assignment” meaning that if the locomotive hadn’t been being used for an air supply for the cars in question, that the claim may have had merit, but since the locomotive was being used to expedite advancing the cars, that it was permissible for the work that was done, to be done without penalty. (The locomotive was not unlike an airline attached to the cars, it had to be removed, much like a ground line is, in most locations, to further the cars.)
What was key in the case at hand was the fact that the locomotive was being used as a ground line (air supply). If it had not been being used as such, the claim may have prevailed, as moving a locomotive such as in PLB 4975 A34 that is not in connection with ones assignment isn’t permissible under the Contract.
When writing claims it is key upon you the claimant, to provide sufficient information, a nexus, as to what you did with relation to the contract and the violation you’re claiming.
If the text of you claim goes like this:
“The work done was not within the contract”
You can expect a denial, and if you turn the claim to me, a denial and withdrawal from handling because you didn’t provide enough information.
If however your claims text is :
“Yarded train on tk 7 Required by YM Jones to couple our locomotives to locomotives 1234 and 3456 on track 17, and take those locomotives to engine house. The work done was in no way connected with the assignment XXXX-xx between Point A and Point B. Please play radio/phone tapes CH 58-58 at approx 1500 hrs as proof of instructions”
We now have a case we might prevail in because you’ve provided pertinent details, as well as asked that the Carrier controlled radio tapes be played as proof of instructions given to you.