The union sought to enforce the following newly negotiated Collective Agreement language:
Currently there are four (4) Class ten (10) vessels including the SST Orleans. One (1) Master will be added to Pay Group ten (10) for each additional tug added in the Class ten (10) category. If these tugs are taken out of service for more than four (4) consecutive months, then one (1) Master will be removed from Pay Group ten (10) for each of the additional tug(s) removed.
(italics added by the Arbitrator)
The employer introduced a tugboat, the Salish, to work in the Vancouver harbour where four other tugs were operating.
Arbitrator John Hall, applied the oft cited principles of contract interpretation from Pacific Press and CGIU, and GCIU Local 25-C,  B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 647 (Bird) and Nanaimo Times Ltd. and GCIU, Local 525-M, BCLRB No. 40/96.
Unlike the qualifying language which stipulated when Masters would be removed from the Pay Group, there was no time period stipulated for the length of time a tug must be in service before it became “an additional tug added”.
After considering extrinsic bargaining evidence, the Arbitrator concluded the clause was meant to apply any time the employer utilized an additional tug.
He allowed the union’s grievance and held that one Master should have been added to the higher pay group.