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cars are transferred from Old Blue Island Yard for servicing and classification. To transfer these cars, it is necessary to have the hoses coupled and air test made.
Prior to December 22, 1957, carrier employed one car inspector on each of the three shifts. Due to the reduced number of cars received during the second shift hours, the carrier on December 22, 1957 arranged to have the limited inspections necessary made at Blue Island and abolished the second shift inspector position.
After the position was abolished, the trainmen coupled the air hose and made air test of the few cars transferred except in a few instances when performed by second shift carmen from Blue Island Yard who were temporarily at Old Blue Island performing minor repairs on cars that could not otherwise be transferred to Blue Island Yard. Use of Blue Island Yard carmen to make repairs at Old Blue Island is proper because both points are within the same seniority district.
Trainmen may couple the air hose and make air tests when this work is incidental to the movement of their cars.
This dispute was progressed to carrier's final appeals officer who denied the carmen's claim on September 22, 1958.
POSITION OF CARRIER: Carrier has long maintained that coupling of air hoses and making air tests are duties which are incidental to trainmen as well as carmen, and not the exclusive property of either. This is true not only on the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad and other roads affiliated with the New York Central System but throughout the industry and your Board has so decided.
The Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad, with direct connections to all Trunk Line Railroads entering the Chicago switching district, acts only as an intermediate switching line in performing the switching requirements of various industries located along its line and in transferring cars between yards of trunk line road haul carriers on business passing through the Chicago gateway. It is involved only in these switching movements and performs no road service. While it is responsible for defects originating on its own line it does not delay a loaded car unless the defect which exists will prohibit safe movement, as to do so might cause the car to miss outbound connections. It does not delay any car to perform some mere technical item of inspection or repair by its carmen, since all such items are eventually taken care of by the trunk line in the course of assembling and conditioning of these cars for road movement by the trunk line.
The trunk line railroads which move the cars after receipt from the switching line (particularly in the territory known as the Chicago switching district), perform the final air brake testing and make any necessary repairs required to condition the cars for their main line movement. This work consists of a more comprehensive inspection, light or running repair, or other attention to assure the car will move long distances without any subsequent necessity for repairs which would cause the set-out of car and delay the shipment. The Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad does, however, make such inspection and repairs incidental thereto as are required in the transfer of cars from one trunk line to another, or on cars received from trunk lines for loading or unloading for various industries along its line. Such inspections and repairs are made in designated yards by car inspection forces employed therein.
Although the carrier abolished all carmen positions at Old Blue Island Yard on August 16, 1958 and waived all remaining interchange inspection, it will confine its arguments to the abolishment of the second shift carman position on December 22, 1957 since that is the claim of the instant dispute and the one disposed of by carrier's final appeals officer on September 22, 1958.
On December 22, 1957 at Old Blue Island Yard the carrier abolished the carman's position on the second shift due to decrease in number of cars delivered during that shift and arranged to have the limited mechanical inspection made at Blue Island.
W1 ile the carrier recognized that because the number of cars handled had decreased to a point where the services of a carman on the second shift were no longer required, it could not rule out the possibility that an occasional condition would occur where temporary services of carmen might be necessary. On such occasions carmen from Blue Island Yard perform these minor repairs so that the defective cars can be moved to Blue Island Yard where more extensive repairs can be performed. This is proper procedure as Blue Island carmen and Old Blue Island carmen are within the same seniority district. However, it must be reiterated these are not commonplace occurrences; rather, they happen only occasionally. At all other times, on the second shift, trainmen coupled hose and made the set and release air test necessary to move the cars from Old Blue Island Yard to the Blue Island Yard. This too is proper for coupling of air hose and making air test is work incidental to the trainmen's regular duties. In fact, this work is incidental to any train yard employe. No special qualification is necessary, no special tools are necessary, nor is any special knowledge necessary.
It may be well at this point to describe the duties performed by trainmen at Old Blue Island Yard relative to the coupling of air hose in connection with the transferring of cars from Old Blue Island Yard to Blue Island Yard. The only work of this nature being regularly performed by the trainmen involved in this controversy is the coupling of air hose and making air tests on transfer runs. After the trainmen have coupled the hose and cut in the air, the air brakes are applied by the engineer. The trainmen then walk along the train to ascertain if brakes are set on all cars. After the air has been released by the engineer, one member of the crew observes if the brakes on all cars have been properly released. Any cars having brakes that do not apply or release are cut from the train and are set aside for repairs. The employes used in repairing these cars are called from Blue Island Yard.
The trainmen do not replace air hose or apply air hose gaskets. The only time the trainmen do this type of work is in emergency as on line of road and in instances of this nature the practice is not questioned.
If the second shift carman position were to be re-established at Old Blue Island Yard, it would be necessary to utilize that carman's services exclusively to couple air hose and make trainline departure tests as there would be no other work for him to perform except replacement of an occasional burst hose or some similar minor defect. In fact, the coupling of air hose and train departure tests would only require a very small amount of the carman's time and the remainder of his time would be spent doing nothing. It is unreasonable to request that carrier be penalized to the extent here requested and be required to restore carmen to perform this service, particularly when the carrier has not limited itself by rule to such performance by carmen.
In the claim as herein presented, the employes have made no reference to any rule violation, their claim really containing the general implication that the work in dispute belongs to the carmen's craft. Rule 154, which is the carmen classification of work rule, is quoted for convenience:
CLASSIFICATION OF WORK
"(a) Carmen's work shall consist of building, maintaining dismantling (except all-wood freight-train cars), painting, upholstering and inspecting all passenger and freight cars, both wood and steel, planing mill, cabinet and bench carpenter work, pattern and flask making and all other carpenter work in shops and yards, except work generally recognized as bridge and building department work; carmen's work in building and repairing motor cars, lever cars, hand cars and station trucks, building, repairing and removing and apply. ing locomotive cabs, pilots, pilot beams, running boards, foot and headlight boards, tender frames and trucks, pipe and inspection work in connection with air brake equipment on freight cars; applying patented metal roofing; operating punches and shears, doing shaping and forming; work done with hand forges and heating torches in connection with carmen's work; painting with brushes, varnishing, surfacing, decorating, lettering, cutting of stencils and removing paint (not including use of sandblast machine or removing in vats); all other work generally recognized as painters' work under the supervision of the locomotive and car departments, except the application of blacking to fire and smoke boxes of locomotives in engine houses; joint car inspectors, car inspectors, safety appliance and train car repairs; oxy-acetylene, thermit and electric welding on work generally recognized as carmen's work; and all other work generally recognized as carmen's work.
“(b) It is understood that present practice in the performance of work between the carmen and boilermakers will continue.”
This rule details at considerable length the various duties accruing to carmen; however, neither the coupling of air hose nor train departure tests is referred to therein. Neither Rule 154 nor any other rule of the carmen's agreement either specifically or inferentially defines this work as belonging exclusively to carmen. While the coupling of air hose and air tests incidental to inspection and repairs of cars is considered and has been generally recognized as carmen's work, the coupling of air hose and air tests incidental to train or car movements has never been so recognized. Under the latter conditions this work is an essential part of the duties expected of train and yard service employes, as is best evidenced by past practices on railroads throughout the country for many years. From time immemorial trainmen have been required to do the work of this kind to a greater or lesser degree. Certainly they have always done it when the coupling was made between the locomotive and the balance of the train, or when coupling cabooses, or when the coupling is made between strings of cars in doubling. There are many yards of this carrier and other roads affiliated with the New York Central, as well as other railroads where trainmen do this incidental work.
A review of railroad history will reveal that at one time practically all of this work was done by train service employes, and that only in later years, to expedite the movement of trains, did the roads begin to use carmen, when available, to assist train service employes in this work. In this respect, it may be pointed out that in most train yards carmen are employed but they are not employed merely to couple air hoses or to make air test. They are employed for the purpose of inspecting or repairing cars and only incidental thereto and in connection therewith the duties of coupling air hose.
Numerous awards of this division declining the employes' claims have held this to be a fact.
In Award No. 3335, which concerned a dispute on a carrier also affiliated with the New York Central System, a train crew coupled hose and tested air. The employes contended the testing of air was car inspectors' work and claimed eight hours at premium rate of pay for the work performed by the conductor and crew. The employes relied upon Rule 25 — Classification of Work — which is identical to Rule 154 in the within dispute except only to methods of removing paint. The claim was denied with findings which read:
“On Sunday, July 28, 1957, a train crew moved an intact draft of 71 cars from Downer Junction Yard to Newell, Pennsylvania, for removal of wooden floors prior to being taken to McKees Rocks for dismantling. In connection with this movement from Downer Junction, the crew coupled hose and tested air to ascertain if the brakes were working. Claim is made that 'the work of testing air is Car Inspectors work' and thus that claimant Garee — who was on his rest day on this date, should be compensated in the amount of 8 hours' pay at premium rate.
"Since the subject air test was performed by trainmen incidental to the movement of a train, it was not work that is exclusively reserved to car inspectors (carmen) under Rule 25 (Classification of Work) of the subject agreement. A denial award is required.”
Pertinent parts of the Findings and/or awards disposing of several other disputes read as follows:
“Award No. 1305
"The use of both carmen and yardmen to couple air hose on strings of cars assembled and delivered by switch engines to connecting lines of other carriers has been the carrier's consistent past practice before and since * * *, the date when Rule * *
was incorporated into the labor agreement.
“* * * Where such travel is over main lines, but within yard or switching limits, the switch engine transferring strings of cars is not traveling as a 'train', and the movement retains the characteristic of a 'switching operation' * * *.”
“Award No. 32
“Coupling and uncoupling air hose is recognized as carmen's work when performed in connection with their regular duties of inspection and repairs. However, it is impractical to confine this work to carmen at loading platforms, or on line of road and in switching cars."
“Award No. 1636
“The work in question is not specifically covered by any cited rule as carmen helpers' work unless it comes within that part of Rule 43 providing, ‘and all other work generally recognized as carmen helpers' work'.
“We have said several times that the coupling and uncoupling of air hose may be performed by more than one craft. It is recognized as carmen's work when performed in connection with their regular duties of inspection and repairs. Here the work was done in connection with switching operations and the carrier could, if it saw fit, assign the work to switchmen * * * "
“Award No. 1626
“The present dispute arises out of the fact that carrier is assigning employes other than carmen to couple and uncouple air hose at its LaClaire, McKinley Junction and Coal Dock Yards. Employes contend that this work belongs exclusively to carmen at these points and ask this division to so hold.
“The carmen's classification of Work Rule, Rule 124, current agreement, spells out much of the work reserved to carmen but makes no specific reference to coupling or uncoupling of air hose. The work is claimed by the employes under the last clause of Rule 124 providing: 'and all other work generally recognized as carmen's work.'"
Significant language is contained in Award No. 1627 of the Second Division in a case which does not exactly parallel the present dispute but does contain the same general principle. The language in the findings of that award is as follows:
“We think it is clear that the general rule is that the coupling and uncoupling of air hose in the absence of specific agreement is the exclusive work of carmen (inspectors) when it is performed in connection with and incidental to their regular duties of inspection and repair. It follows that the coupling or uncoupling of air hose, when it is not done in connection with or incidental to a carman's regular duties of inspection and repair is not, in the absence of specific agreement, the exclusive work of carmen. Award 1626. The records show that during the time the mine run train was being operated an inspector was assigned to inspect and repair cars at mines and industries, do hose coupling and make air tests, and to do road work between Collinsville and Pait. When production at the mine was curtailed and train SL-3 picked up and set out cars at Collinsville the same as at any other intermediate point, the Carrier assigned the work at that