Educational Memo 19-01
The Carrier has recently taken to utilizing Road Switcher crews in what could be considered yard service assignments and yard engines to do road work outside the 25 mile provisions provided for in National Agreements. This memo is designed to provide a degree of guidance to the members covered under the Single System Agreement. Conductors are covered under similar provisions however the Rules or Article may differ dependent on the agreement involved.
Road Switchers in yard service. The Carrier currently believes that a specific Public Law Board (PLB) gives them the right to utilize Road Switchers much like a yard assignment as they call it a “hybrid” assignment. This is NOT the case for engineers or conductors covered under the agreements in force on CSX. That award, PLB 4886 Award 39 (Moore), is a property specific award (for N&W Railway), and does not include any national agreement provisions such as PEB 219 provisions. Indeed after research, that specific agreement does allow for road switchers to preform yard work on the N&W property ONLY.
So what can road switchers do? They CAN, make up their own trains from multiple tracks, preform switching where no yard crews are on duty, service industry, and make interchange movements associated with their own train.
Road Switchers CANNOT preform general yard switching that is not associated with their own train at locations where yard crews are on duty, they cannot hostle power unless those engines are related to their movement (NOTE handling power that is NOT intended to be part of your consist leaving the terminal is NOT allowable). You cannot come into a yard with yard engines on duty, yard your train and be handed a switch list for another track, and switch that other track out without additional compensation. NEVER be insubordinate, but also NEVER let the claim go by thinking “oh they’ll never pay that” because if you don’t put the claim in, you’re right they never will pay it.
The basis for the organizations stance is within PLB 4975 Award 81 (Harris) which states:
“….The Chairman of this Board was also the Chairman of PEB 219. Nothing in the record of PEB 219 supports the Carrier argument that the recommendations of that PEB gave the carriers the right to combine road and yard work except where the work was performed in connection with the regular road assignment of the crew.
The Carrier has cited several cases which might be interpreted as reaching a different result. To the extent such cases found that road work need not be in connection with the road crews assignment, such decisions are not consistent with the intent of PEB 219.”
Additionally, NRAB First Division award 1-24856 (Malin) provides additional support and guidance when it comes to “in connection with” one’s own train/assignment as follows:
“…The instant case turns on the interpretation of the term “In connection with their own assignments” in Section 3 of the 1986 Agreement. The Carriers’ interpretation is highly problematic. Carrier contends that as long as it assigns specified duties to an employee, those duties are in connection with the employees’ own assignment. In other words, Carriers interpretation gives it complete authority to define and change the employees assignment from minute to minute. Such an interpretation strips the term “in connection with their own assignment” of any meaning. The Term is used in Section 3 as a term of limitation. However under the Carrier interpretation there is no limitation on what the Carrier may require an employee to do without additional compensation. If that were the intended meaning of Section 3, then there would be no need to qualify it with the term “in connection with their own assignments.”..”
Yard service outside yard limits. Yard engines CAN be used outside yard limits as provided for in the 1986 agreement as follows:
“Section 2 - Yard Crews
(a) Yard crews may perform the following work outside of switching limits without additional
compensation except as provided below:
(i) Bring in disabled train or trains whose crews have tied up under the Hours of Service Law
from locations up to 25 miles outside of switching limits.
(ii) Complete the work that would normally be handled by the crews of trains that have been
disabled or tied up under the Hours of Service Law and are being brought into the terminal by
those yard crews. This paragraph does not apply to work train or wrecking service.
Note: For performing the service provided in (a)(i) and (ii) above, yard crews shall be
paid miles or hours, whichever is the greater, with a minimum of one (1) hour for the
class of service performed (except where existing agreements require payment at yard
rates) for all time consumed outside of switching limits. This allowance shall be in
addition to the regular yard pay and without any deduction therefrom for the time
consumed outside of switching limits. (See SSA Article 48 Section 4 ALL engineers included)
(iii) Perform service to customers up to 20 miles outside switching limits provided such service
does not result in the elimination of a road crew or crews in the territory. The use of a yard crew
in accordance with this paragraph will not be construed as giving yard crews exclusive rights to
such work. This paragraph does not contemplate the use of yard crews to perform work train or
wrecking service outside switching limits.
(iv) Nothing in this Article will serve to prevent or affect in any way a carrier's right to extend
switching limits in accordance with applicable agreements. However, the distances prescribed in
this Article shall continue to be measured from switching limits as they existed as of July 26,
1978, except by mutual agreement.
(b) Yard crews may perform hostling work without additional payment or penalty.”
If you are used OUTSIDE the parameters of what’s stated above, for instance you’re on a yard assignment in Selkirk and ate sent to Kingston to recrew a train, it’s beyond the 25 mile limit and the penalty is an 8 hour day. Also noter for engineers that Article 48 contains a provision against the advancing of traffic outside yard limits while in yard service as contained in Article 48 Section 3:
“Section 3 Advancing Traffic
It is not intended to allow the use of a yard crew to advance a road train from inside the
terminal to a location outside of yard limits for any purpose if road crews are available. If so
used, a penalty day will be paid above and beyond all earnings of the assignment.”
Again NEVER be insubordinate and refuse to do what you’re ordered to do unless it’s unsafe, but also NEVER let the claim go by thinking “oh they’ll never pay that” because if you don’t put the claim in, you’re right they never will pay it. It’s up to you the member to police your contract.