The Carrier has me set out on multiple tracks in road service, what can I do, and what can’t I do without additional compensation?
This question gets asked a lot, and is difficult to answer because every situation is different, and what might seem like a move or series of moves is in violation of the agreement all to often it isn’t. Conversely what might seem like a simple move might actually be in violation of the agreement and you might be due a penalty.
Much of what we can and cannot do in road service within a terminal with yard engines on duty stems from a series of National Agreements which were the product of Arbitration and “PEB’s”.
Back in the late 70’s early 80’s Rail Carriers were looking for relief from sometimes restrictive work rules with regards to road service employees. The results of those efforts were Presidential Emergency Boards (PEB) 219, 458, and 559 where Arbitration panels decided the fate of what we can and cannot do in road service. Yes there have been lots and lots of Arbitration since that time based on those PEB’s both pro and con as to what we can and cannot do without additional compensation, but much rests with the member and how well they describe what they did when they enter in a claim.
This short diatribe is designed to be a help or a guide as to entering in, or not entering in claims for what you might be required to do in road service at locations where yard assignments are on duty.
Attached to this missive are several side letters from the BLET and UTU Agreements which set forth the parameters of what you can and cannot do. They have changed little except for perhaps interpretation on BOTH sides of the Labor/Management fence.
There have been several claims in the past that have asked for a days pay for setting over cars from the inbound train on top of cars already in the track. While it is arguable that the work done in doing so isn’t “in connection with the claimants own assignment” the attached side letters speak otherwise. (see side letter #6 BLET Agreement May 19, 1986)
The language speaks of pick ups set outs, and states:
“…It does permit the cutting of crossings, cross walks etc…, the spotting of cars set-out, and the re-spotting of cars that may be moved off spot in the making of the two straight set outs or pick ups.”
So you can set over on to of cars already in the track, you cannot however cut cars into the middle of that track, so the language you use in your claim is key.
Questions to ask before you enter in a claim:
- Is the work in connection with my own assignment, or the furtherance of my train?
- If not, how do I explain it in a fashion that shows that the work done ISN’T in connection with my own train?
For example,you’re in through freight service A to B you bring in a train to a yard at B.
The Carrier makes you set the 3 blocks in your train over to 3 different tracks and take the locomotives to the engine house. This IS allowable under the rule/Article/Agreement.
However under the same scenario, you dispose of your train as above but enroute to the engine house the Carrier has you spot track six at the air. Track six had NOTHING to do with where you disposed of your train, THAT is an example of “work not in connection with” your own assignment. Another scenario would be after disposing of your power, you’re required to get on a different set of power and move it to somewhere in the yard, again, that is work “not in connection with” your own train.
Another example with a minor change to what you might have done. You come into yard B on track 10, your instructed to set the head 10 cars to track 1, then go back to 10 grabbing the balance of you train and adding that portion to track 1, this constitutes “changing the order of cars in your train” or otherwise called classifying enroute. Minor differences such as yarding on 10, set off 3 cars to 1, then back to 10, then set off 5 cars to 2, then back to 10 and set the balance of track on top of track 5 COULD conceivably be a claim simply because you tied onto the same track twice/three times in the act of disposing of your train . Under the same scenario you yard on 10, come off with the entire train set cars to 5, 2 and 1 that is conceivably allowable under the agreement because they are “straight set offs/pick ups”.
Again a lot has to do with the fashion in which you describe what you did. Every case is different and the info you supply is very important in how well your case goes further down the line.
If you think it’s a claim, put it in, but please don’t take offense if the claim is sent back or gets denied and not furthered along because the merits of the claim aren’t there or are too weak to support going further on in the process.
As always make sure you describe what you did but be careful, sometimes if you mention you say moved power out of the way to get to your train, the Carrier comes back with “it involved the furtherance of the movement” of the train and denied the claim. (This based on an Arbitration award involving the road crew removing a locomotive from the track that was being used for ground air to the cars, the basis was that the locomotive was acting in the furtherance of the movement of the cars to be picked up (acting as a ground air line)).
Hoping in advance that this information helps.