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Docket No. 3853
NATIONAL RAILROAD ADJUSTMENT BOARD
The Second Division consisted of the regular members and in
PARTIES TO DISPUTE:
SYSTEM FEDERATION NO. 2, RAILWAY EMPLOYES'
MISSOURI PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY
DISPUTE: CLAIM OF EMPLOYES:
1. The controlling agreement, particularly Rule 26, was violated when Telephone Maintainer Supervisor A. Highfill performed telephone maintainers' work on August 28th, 31st, September 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 1959.
2. That accordingly, the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company compensate the following named telephone maintainers in the amount of one four (4) hour call on the dates appearing next to their names when Supervisor Highfill performed work belonging to the Electricians' Craft:
EMPLOYES' STATEMENT OF FACTS: The Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, hereinafter referred to as the carrier, maintains a force of telephone maintainers at Kansas City, Missouri, to perform work subscribed to telephone maintainers. However, on August 28th, 31st, September 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 1959, Telephone Maintainer Supervisor, Mr. A. Highfill, was used to perform work that has been performed by telephone maintainers at Kansas City for many years, namely:
On Friday, August 28th, Mr. Highfill answered a call from home to clear trouble on the round robin in the general yard office. On Monday, August 31st, Mr. Highfill buzzed cable near the new west end yard master. On Tuesday, September 1st, Mr. Highfill spliced cable near the new west end yard master, and on September 2nd, 3rd and 4th, he spliced cable east of the diesel shop.
On each of these dates enumerated above a qualified telephone maintainer was available to perform this work, namely, Telephone Maintainers Glen Kuhlman, K. Hamilton, F. H. Lindsey, D. E. Ritter, C. C. Browning and R. I. Clark, hereinafter referred to as the claimants.
This dispute has been unsuccessfully handled up to and including the highest designated officer of the carrier authorized to handle such disputes including conferences.
The agreement dated September 1, 1949, as subsequently amended, is controlling.
POSITION OF EMPLOYES: That Rule 26(a), reading:
None but mechanics or apprentices regularly employed as such shall do mechanic's work as per special rule of each craft, except foremen at points where no mechanics are employed.” (Emhpasis ours.)
was violated when a supervisor was used to perform telephone maintainers' work at a point where adequate force of telephone maintainers are maintained and were available to perform this work. The work in question has been performed by telephone maintainers at this point for many years and it has always been a past practice to call them when such work is to be performed.
The above quoted rule is clear and concise as to intent and meaning, and when the carrier used a supervisor to perform work of repairing and maintaining equipment heretofore performed by telephone maintainers, they then and there violated the provisions of Rule 26(a).
In light of the foregoing, the employes ask your Honorable Board to so find in favor of the claimants.
CARRIER'S STATEMENT OF FACTS:
1. There is an agreement effective September 1, 1949, between the parties to this dispute.
2. The claimants in this dispute are telephone maintainers whose duties include the maintenance of telephone and telegraph equipment, radios, paging and talk-back communications equipment and related duties. Telephone maintainers are available at all times to make emergency repairs to communication equipment since the operation of the railroad depends on the continuous availability of the various means of communications. Since telephone maintainers must keep themselves available for call at all times, they are paid a monthly rate to cover all services rendered with certain exceptions applicable to the 6th and 7th days of their work weeks. All of the claims in this docket occurred on one of the first five days of the claimants' work week so that the exceptions do not apply. On dates of claims, the compensation of the claimants was governed by that portion of the rule stating that telephone maintainers will be paid a monthly rate to cover all services rendered. The rule referred to is 107 (c) and is quoted here for your Board's convenience:
"(c) Western and Southern Districts only.)
Telephone maintainers will be paid a monthly rate to cover all services rendered except as hereinafter provided. They will be assigned one regular rest day per week, Sunday if possible. Rules applicable to the classification of electrician shall apply to service for monthly rate telephone maintainers on their assigned rest day. Ordinary maintenance or construction work not heretofore required on Sunday will not be required on the sixth day of the work week. The straight time hourly rate for such employes shall be determined by dividing the monthly rate by 2084 hours. Further wage adjustments, so ong as monthly rates remain in effect, shall be made on the basis of 2084 hours per month. Except as specifically provided in this paragraph (c), the rules applicable to monthly rated telephone maintainers prior to September 1, 1949, shall continue without change.”
3. The claimants are headquartered at Kansas City and work under the supervision of Mr. Highfill, the supervisor who has jurisdiction over all telephone maintainers on the Western District.
4. Beginning in 1958, the carrier constructed a new electronic classifica
yard which required the use of new types of communication equipment. The yard was the first of this type constructed by this carrier and the problems presented during the construction thereof were new to all of the personnel including the officers and supervisory personnel. Construction continued over a considerable period and the yard was not finished until 1959, after the dates on which the instant claims were made.
5. One of the new units of equipment was a communication system commonly referred to as a round-robin. A round-robin system is a group of amplifiers and loud speakers in various locations all connected together by common wires. A protective device containing carbons is a part of the central console that prevents any accidental high voltage currents from harming the equipment. The carbons must be cleaned from time to time and involves pulling out the carbon block and a small insulator with two fingers, wiping off the carbon and insulator with a rag and replacing them. Each individual carbon can be cleaned in about 30 seconds, but there are several in each protective device.
6. On August 28, 1959, the general yardmaster on duty called Supervisor Highfill about midnight stating that a failure had occurred in the communication equipment which was a part of the round-robin system. None of the telephone maintainers were on duty at the time. The continuity of the hump operations is dependent upon the continuous functioning of the various loud speakers and talk-back equipment. Supervisor Highfill came to the yardmaster's office to determine what was the difficulty. When he arrived, he found that the difficulty could be corrected simply by the cleaning of the carbons as described above. This is routine maintenance which can be performed by telegraph operators, wire chiefs, maintainers or supervisors who are familiar with such equipment, since the protective devices are in common usage and are simple to maintain. This work has never been done exclusively by telephone
maintainers. Since the difficulty could be corrected in the manner described, there was no necessity to call a telephone maintainer.
7. The date of the next claim listed in the letter of intent filed with your Board is August 31, 1959. During the course of handling the claim on the property, the employes accused Supervisor Highfill of buzzing out a cable on that day. Buzzing out a cable is a means used to identify the pairs of wires in a cable. A cable consists of a number of wires that are twisted together in pairs with all the pairs held together by a common sheath. During the particular time the alleged trouble occurred, the cables used consisted of twisted pairs that could not be identified by color code. It was necessary for two people, one at each end of the cable, to locate each pair of wires at both ends. By applying a voltage at one end and applying a buzzer at the opposite end to individual pairs, the pair with the battery on it at the remote end can be readily located. The time involved in identifying each of the pairs of wires depends on the size of the cable. The employes submitted statements stating that they saw Supervisor Highfill buzzing out a cable, but Mr. Highfill does not recollect performing such work. Furthermore, the employes have never stated who was at the other end of the cable assisting Mr. Highfill. We have pointed out above that it takes two men to buzz out a cable. The employes have never established the facts upon which the claim for August 31st is based.
8. On September 1, 2, 3 and 4, the employes allege they observed Supervisor Highfill splicing cable at the east end of the diesel facility. The construction of the new yard required the making of a considerable number of splices. The carrier experimented with new patent devices for making splices, which were intended by the manufacturer to make the splices air tight and water tight at less expense and with a saving of time. The carrier found some of the devices unsatisfactory, but adopted others. New materials were used such as plastics. The splice is housed within an aluminum cylinder made for that purpose. The splice must be made in a proper manner in order to fit in the cylinder and the seals properly applied. Since the communications department had not previously used such devices, Supervisor Highfill followed the work of installing the new splices closely in fulfillment of his duties as supervisor so as to acquire a practical knowledge about their application, to determine if they worked satisfactorily and to instruct the men. As soon as a decision was made as to the type of patented device which was to be used, the telephone maintainers were instructed in the techniques involved and they were able to make the splices thereafter without assistance.
POSITION OF CARRIER: The employes allege that Supervisor Highfill violated Rule 26 of the agreement by performing telephone maintainers' work on dates of claim. It is the position of the carrier that Mr. Highfill did nothing more than perform that work which was necessary in the exercise of his duties as supervisor. Mr. Highfill fulfilled his obligation as a supervisor in responding to the call by the general yardmaster when the round-robin failed and in seeing and knowing that the new methods for splicing cable worked properly. The claims for August 28 and September 1-4 must be denied for that reason. The carrier does not know the basis for the claim that Mr. Highfill buzzed out a cable since he did not perform such work on the date of claim. The claim for August 31 must be denied because not supported by the facts. In addition, the claimants are telephone maintainers who are paid a monthly rate to cover all services rendered on the dates of claim and would not have received additional compensation even if called to perform the work in dispute. The monetary payment requested is not supported by the agreement in any event.
It is the duty of any supervisor to know how work is to be done, especially where new equipment is used. The supervisor can fulfill this duty in some cases only by practical experience in working with the equipment. He must check to see that the work done by the men under his jurisdiction is performed properly and here again he can fulfill this duty only if he first knows how the work is to be performed. In the case of the failure of the roundrobin system, men were not completely familiar with the equipment since it was new. Mr. Highfill properly fulfilled his obligation as supervisor by responding to the call since he then was not sure that the telephone maintainers were sufficiently familiar with the equipment to take appropriate corrective measures in case of a serious equipment failure. It turned out that the difficulty was something so simple that even the employes operating the equipment could have taken care of.
In connection with the splicing of cable, Mr. Highfill did no more than was necessary to acquaint himself with the new patented devices which the company was trying. In turn, the supervisor in the normal discharge of his duties must instruct his men in certain phases of the work with which they are not thoroughly familiar. In carrying out these phases of his duties, it may appear to the uninitiated that he is doing maintainer's work, but this is not the case. There is no contention that Mr. Highfill continued to do such work after the telephone maintainers were instructed in the techniques used in making splices with the new devices.
It is apparent from the foregoing that Mr. Highfill did nothing more than fulfill his obligation as a supervisor in responding to the call of the general yardmaster and of inspecting the methods used in splicing cable. The agreement recognizes that it may be necessary from time to time for a supervisor to perform work in connection with his duties. This is evident from the second paragraph of Rule 26, which reads:
“This rule does not prohibit foremen in the exercise of their duties to perform work."
Mr. Highfill was doing nothing more than fulfilling his duty as supervisor in performing the work described above. The very rule relied on by the employes recognizes the necessity for a foreman to perform work on occasion.
As to the claim for August 31, 1959, Supervisor Highfill denied that he buzzed any cable on that date. He made that statement when the claim was filed with him and the carrier has not been able to determine the reason for the filing of a claim for that date. As far as we know, no cable work was done on August 31st at Kansas City and no cable was buzzed out. Apparently there has been some misunderstanding at Kansas City, for there is no basis for a claim for that date.
Although there is no basis for the claims as pointed out above and the claims should be denied for that reason, we point out that the dates of the claims herein fell on one of the first five days of the claimants' work week. Under the express provisions of Rule 107 (c), each is paid a monthly rate to cover all services rendered on such days. Even if the claimants had been called or had been used for the work involved, they would have received no additional compensation above and beyond their monthly rate. General Chairman Muschietty in a letter dated November 11, 1959, addressed to the chief personnel officer, agreed claimants would have received no additional compensation even if called. There he stated: