In re: USS, a Division of USX Corporation, Minnesota Ore Operations, Local 9155

An employer imposed a total smoking ban anywhere indoors on the premises; an employee who had smoked at work for all of his 23 years of service for the Company filed a grievance.  The Union contends that there has not occurred any change in circumstances over the past 20 years that would justify a change in the practice allowing employees to smoke in the work areas.  An arbitrator ruled that “it is at least as likely that ‘the ordinary employee’ would find the unlimited right of employees to smoke in the Administration Building to be a health hazard as it would to consider it to be a ‘benefit.'”  Also, a section of the contract provides that the “Company shall make reasonable provisions for the safety and health of its employees during the hours of their employment, in accordance with the practices now prevailing in each separate plant.”  The arbitrator denied the grievance.

109 LA 36 (1997).