« PreviousContinue »
the office of the master mechanic at Argentine, Kansas, starting at 2:00 P. M., September 15, 1960, the claimant being represented by P. S. Brooker, general chairman of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America.
During the course of the investigation, testimony of a number or witnesses was heard as to the insubordination and the vile language used by the claimant in conversation over the public address system and in person, to his immediate supervisor, Assistant Car Foreman E. J. Ruff, on his tour of duty which started on Friday, August 19, 1960. The public address (loud! speaker) system is referred to as the "PA system” in the testimony of various witnesses. Pertinent portions of the testimony of these witnesses are quoted. in the following:
Mr. Tavener questioned by Mr. Chastain: (Pages 2, 3 and 5)
“Q. Please state your name for the record ?
Q. Your length of service ?
Q. Your present occupation ?
Q. Do you have a representative here, Mr. Tavener ?
Q. Mr. Brooker, the General Chairman of the Carmen's Organization is here as your representative at your request ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mr. Tavener, you heard the opening statement of this investigation. Did you receive formal notice to attend this formal investigation ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. The original notice for this investigation was dated August 23, 1960, and was originally scheduled for 10:00 A. M., Friday, August 26, 1960. Is that correct?
A. I believe so, sir.
Q. Upon receipt of such notice you requested in your letter of August 23, 1960, an extension of time in order that you could secure a representative of your choice. Is that correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You were granted an extension of time, investigation being rescheduled for 10:00 A. M., Friday, September 2, 1960. Is that correct ?
A. Yes, sir. It is.
Q. You again made further request for extension in order that you could secure a representative of your choice; your formal request dated August 28, 1960. Is that correct?
A. Yes, sir. I believe so.
Q. You received final acknowledgment dated August 31, 1960,
Q. The number you refer to was called over the PA system?
Q. Upon receiving or hearing such a call was it necessary for you to go to the shanty and pick up the phone and receive the message ?
A. No, sir. I was there at the time.
Q. You were still in the building in which 322 was located ?
Q. You indicated that you called train SF-59 ready to work by 5 rear gangs, and that Mr. Tavener indicated to you that the train had already been called by 6 gangs?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Can you tell us exactly how many gangs actually work train SF-59 ?
A. 5 rear gangs.
Q. Can you tell us at what time the work was completed on train SF-59 ?
A. Approximately 10:45 P. M. or 10:50 P. M.
Q. Did you have any further conversation with Mr. Tavener relative to the number of gangs worked on train SF-59 ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You had further conversation with Mr. Tavener about the matter?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you tell this committee in your own words what transpired during that conversation ?
A. I went up to where Mr. Tavener was at on this SF-59 train. He was working third gang on east end. While I was walking up toward where he was located, the 5 rear gangs that were working on train had called up over the speaker which is customary, and everyone that was on the train had called off that they had completed before I got to where Mr. Tavener was located. When I got to where he was at I asked him, 'Did you cut this train for 5 rear gangs as instructed'. He did not give me any answer, so I repeated the question, and at this time he said, 'Well, I don't even have to talk to you'. And I told him I thought he did as it was about company business. Then he at that time started in talking about that I thought that the men were just around there to please me and accused me of being the one that caused delays to the trains. I told him at that time I did not think it was me that was causing delays to the trains, and he then said, 'Aw, fuck these trains and you too', and he then told me that he did not think anybody else had heard him say that.
Q. When you were having this conversation with Mr. Tavener, where were you located in the yards ?
A. Third shanty from rear end.
Q. Were there any other people present at the time this conversation took place ?
A. Yes, sir. There were 3 car inspectors present.
Q. Do you know their names ?
Q. Was there anyone else present at the location where this conversation took place?
A. Yes, sir. Mr. Nail was also present.
Q. I presume you refer to Mr. Nail you are referring to V. G. Nail?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mr. Ruff, would you examine the signature on this statement. Is that your signature ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you examine the statement ? Is that your prepared statement?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you read the statement for the benefit of the record, please? A.
August 19, 1960 ‘Mr. D. L. Vincent, GCF Argentine, Kansas
I am writing this letter to give you information concerning the actions of K. J. Tavener, Car Inspector for the AT&SF Railroad, which I think will show numerous rule violations and will warrant an investigation. As you know, I am assigned to filling vacation vacancy of Departure Yard foreman (O. M. Malcolm), and Mr. Tavener is filling, until bid in, a car inspector's vacancy created by leave of absence granted to another employe (E. Navaroo).
Since August 9, 1960, when I started my present assignment, Mr. Tavener has been abusive to me and apparently is openly opposed to any form of supervison. There is nothing on my part to cause this man to be this way.
This evening while turning in bad orders on 37 train he became abusive to the car clerk at the bowl over the speaker phone.
This evening I started the three (3) rear gangs, which included K. J. Travener, on a sixty-nine (69) car fill for 45/91 train combined at 6:45 P. M. Mr. Tavener called off at 7:45 P. M. At 8:35 P. M. I called 2/46 train good to work, at which time Mr. Tavener told me he was going to tie up for lunch. When I asked him why he did not eat between 7:45 P. M. and 8:35 P. M., which is a time period of fifty (50) minutes, he said I had worked him too far from his lunch. As a matter of fact, anyone can walk from one end of the yard to the other in fifteen (15) minutes, that is between the head shanty and the rear shanty. All the other men had completed
their work on 2/46 train at 9:15 P. M. Mr. Tavener did not call off until 9:30 P. M., saying he had to adjust five (5) brakes.
1/53 train with eighty-one (81) cars was made up good to work at 8:45 P. M. and worked by all six (6) gangs. At 10:20 P. M. when the men were calling off 1/53 train, I called SF-59 train good to work by the five (5) rear gangs. This train had sixty-two (62) cars. Mr. Tavener came in over the speaker phone and screamed, “What the hell is the matter with you, I've already cut this God-Damn train for six (6) gangs”. The blue lights had not yet been called on the train at this time. Then he accused me of always letting the head and rear gangs set on their asses while he and the other middle men did all the work. I told him the only thing for him to do was follow my instructions or refuse. He said, and I quote, “Your GodDamn right I refuse and I'm going to see Mr. Vincent about you in the morning. Piss on you”. I then called Mr. Nail over the telephone at 10:25 P. M. for some assistance, and he arrived within ten (10) minutes.
Mr. Nail and I then went to the yard as requested by the yardmaster to determine what was the matter with the air on 1/53 train, and found an angle cock closed on NYC 119846, west end of the car. Car Inspector Humphreys was instructed to straighten the angle cock, after which the retest was completed, all of which required thirty (30) minutes from 10:20 P. M. to 10:50 P. M. After which I told Mr. Nail I was going to talk with Mr. Tavener and see if he had cut the SF-59 train for five (5) gangs as instructed, in order to determine if there were any cars left to be worked as I would have to get them worked so as not to cause delay to the train. While we were walking towards him, everyone who was working on the train called off. When we arrived where Mr. Tavener was located (third shanty from the east end of D-yard called the "Golden Ox” by most everyone), Car Inspectors Sinclair, Shuart, and Chappel were present sitting on the benches outside the shanty and Mr. Tavener was standing up next to them.
I asked Mr. Tavener if he had cut the train for five (5) gangs as instructed. He did not answer and I repeated the question. He said, “We called off didn't we?” I told him, “This means nothing, are all the cars worked ?” He said, “Well, I don't even have to talk to you”. I told him, “You do if it's about this company's business”. He said, “You think all we are around here for is to please you". He then accused me of being the one who was causing delay to the trains. I told him, “It's things like you not taking your lunch during the fifty (50) minutes in which you had time between 1/53 train and 2/46 trains and then tying up for lunch”. Then he denied tying up for lunch and said he went right to work on 2/46 tarin.
In his next statement he told me, "If we didn't need these God-Damn men on the head and rear ends of these trains they should send the sons-a-bitches home”. I then told him, “This sure sounds good coming from the local chairman who is supposed to be representing the men.” And that if they had all heard him they probably would be real proud of him. He yelled out, “Aw, fuck these trains and you too". At this point Mr. Nail, who was standing in the shadows between the cars of the train on D-9 having come up from the north side, stepped out and said, “I heard that statement and I think that's just about enough.” Then Mr. Tavener said, "Well, all I said was about the train not about Ruff and besides these carmen didn't hear anything anyway." I then told him, “I don't know whether these men will lie for you or not.”
After the above exchange of words, the rear end man called over the speaker and said they were not getting air on the rear end of SF-59 train for test. I started towards the head end to see why the air was not coming and Mr. Tavener followed me. When we were out of ear shot he said, "Let's shake hands and forget about all this because I have really been working hard for you.” I told him, “I will not shake your hand and I will not forget and the only thing I can see you have done since coming into this yard is cause me a whole lot of trouble, and I think you have finally bit off more than you can chew, and that's all I have to say to you.” No other words were exchanged.
The above for your information and further handling.
Yours truly, /s/ E. J. Ruff'
“Q. What is the date of the statement you have just read ? A. August 19, 1960
Q. Is that your statement, your own prepared statement ?
Mr. Chastain questioning Mr. Ruff: (Page 49)
“Q. In previous testimony with respect to your opinion of the rules which were allegedly violated on August 19, 1960, on the part of Mr. Tavener, particularly the first paragraph of Rule 21, which reads, 'Courteous deportment is required of all employes in their dealings with the public, their subordinates, and each other.' Was the language which Mr. Tavener allegedly used toward you in your opinion courteous ?
A. No, sir.
Q. Then again in your opinion, that portion of Rule 21 applies in this case and was violated ?
A. Yes, sir.”
Mr. Chastain questioning Mr. Nail:
Pages 49 to 55 inclusive)
“Q. Would you state your name for the record ? A. Vernon Nail.
Q. Your occupation ?