The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 4 (August 1, 1928)
Production Engineering — Part XXIII
Co-operative Committee System of the Canadian National Railways
Reading the report of the delegation appointed by the British Government to study industrial conditions in Canada and the United States, I came across a very interesting appendix dealing with the Co-operative Committee System that has been in operation since 1925 in the Workshops of the Canadian National Railways.
The establishment of Shop Committees in our own Workshops, somewhat over a year ago now, has demonstrated the active and constructive assistance that can be rendered, to mutual advantage, in such an organisation as ours. The part that interests me—and will interest all those who have the interests of the service at heart—is the range of subjects which have become committee business in the Canadian National Railway.
The report is too long to copy, but I think paragraphs four and seven are worth reproducing. They show clearly there is little limit to the activity of such committees provided sound judgment and common-sense always prevail.
Paragraph four states:—
The scheme of co-operation between the Unions and the Management is based on this union organisation. The joint machinery consists of (a) local joint meetings held every two weeks of equal representation between the shop management and local federated shop committee, and (b) joint conferences held quarterly, as a rule, between the members of the system federation and the executive head of the department of maintenance of equipment and his staff.
Paragraph seven states:—
A marked feature of the scheme is that the subjects discussed at these joint meetings are entirely constructive in nature. Separate machinery is provided under agreement between the unions and the Railway companies for the settlement of wages and working conditions, the adjustment of grievances and disputes and the interpretation of the agreements. For example, in Canada the Railway Adjustment Board is the final arbitrator on questions of interpretation of the existing wages agreements. Matters which are most likely to provoke dissension are therefore excluded from the subjects considered by the co-operative meetings. The subjects which are customarily considered include the following:—
1. Job analysis and standardisation.
2. Improving tools and equipment.
3. Proper storage, care and delivery of material.
4. Economical use of supplies and material.
5. Proper balancing of forces and work in shops.
6. Co-ordinating and scheduling of work through shops.
7. Training apprentices.
8. Recruiting new employees.
9. Improving quality of work.
10. Conditions of shops and shop grounds, especially in respect to heating, lighting, ventilation and safety.page 15
11. Securing new business for the railroad.
12. Securing new work for the shops.
13. Measuring output.
14. Stabilising employment.
The success of the scheme depends on the spirit which animates it, and the detailed conference procedure is largely determined by common sense and co-operation. The view taken by the unions is that they have as great an interest at stake on these subjects as in their immediate hourly wages rate or working conditions, and that it is only in so far as the organised worker through his union can show that he contributes to the greater success of industry by means of helping to eliminate waste, that he enables industry to provide him a higher standard of living and at the same time he greatly strengthens his rightful claim upon the progressively improving benefits of industry.
By way of explanation I may add that in Canada each craft has its own union and all these unions are in one Federation, and the term “local federated shop committee” refers to one member elected from each craft union in that Workshop. The result, in effect, is almost identical with our own system of electing local shop committeemen.
There is always room for a man of force, and he makes room for many.—Emerson.
Proof-readers Please Note
We'll begin with box; but plural is boxes.
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of mouse should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole nest of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice,
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
The cow in the plural may be called cows, or kine,
But a bow, if repeated is never called bine;
And the plural of vow is vows, never vine.
If I speak of a foot and you show me two feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
If the singular's this, and the plural is these,
Should the plural of kiss ever be written keese?
Then one may be that, and the two would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose.
And the plural of cat is cats, and not cose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him.
But imagine the feminine, she, shis, and shim!
So the English, I think you will agree,
Is the funniest language you ever did see.
—“Typosium,” in the “Santa Fe Magazine.”