Arbitrator orders employer to raise wage rate for reclassified position
Arbitrator rejects argument that the wage rate for a reclassified position was the same as that of the old position
PWU Local 1 convinces arbitrator to increase the wage rate for a reclassified position.
In 2011, Toronto Hydro reclassified the “Trouble Dispatcher” classification in the PWU Local 1 bargaining unit. It added a host of customer service duties to the classification, which had previously been responsible for dispatching crews to deal with emergencies and other urgent situations related to the electricity grid.
The newly reclassified position was called the Power System Planning and Logistics Dispatcher (“PSPL”). When the employer refused to pay a greater wage rate to the PSPL’s than it had previously paid to the Trouble Dispatchers, the union grieved and referred the matter to arbitration.
The employer argued that the appropriate wage rate was the same as the old Trouble Dispatcher rate because the new customer service duties originated in a lower-rated classification. The union asserted that the additional duties increased the overall complexity, volume of work, and knowledge required for incumbents, thereby warranting a higher wage.
The arbitrator’s decision
Arbitrator Brian McLean accepted the union’s argument that the proper way to determine the appropriate wage rate was to assess the PSPL’s duties and to determine where the classification fit into the employer’s existing wage grid. After undertaking this analysis, the arbitrator concluded that the appropriate rate for the reclassified position was 75 cents per hour greater than the Trouble Dispatcher rate, retroactive to the date of the change of duties in 2011.