Prepare for a Grievance Arbitration With a Union

Key Points

  • The first thing an employer should do is review the grievance in order to identify the issue(s) to be presented before the arbitrator(s). Once an employer has a clear understanding of the grievance and the grounds upon which the grievance is based, the employer should determine whether there are any relevant documents, including most definitely the collective bargaining agreement as well as correspondence, memorandum and portions of personnel files to be reviewed and later admitted into evidence during the arbitration.
  • All potential witnesses with relevant information should be identified and interviewed. If a potential witness is no longer employed at the organization, the arbitrator may issue a subpoena to compel his or her appearance. It is critical that persons with first-hand knowledge of the facts be interviewed.
  • Unless specified in the collective bargaining agreement, an employer and union must find and agree on an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators to preside over the grievance hearing. The process of selecting an arbitrator(s) depends on the association with which the parties filed the claim for arbitration, e.g. American Arbitration Association. Once the arbitrator(s) has been selected, employers and unions shall be required to follow the arbitrator(s)' procedural requirements and rules.

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