What is a labor arbitration?

Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that is used to resolve a dispute arising under a collective bargaining agreement. Usually, a neutral arbitrator, selected and paid by the union and the employer, has the power to issue a binding decision that is not subject to appeal except in very rare cases. However, arbitrators have no independent authority under law and only have the power and jurisdiction that the parties have given them through their negotiated provisions.

Usually, only the union may bring a case to arbitration following whatever grievance procedures the parties have negotiated. Typically, the grievance before the arbitrator is a claim by the union that the employer has violated a particular provision of the contract. For the most part, arbitration cases tend to involve either disciplinary issues, i.e. that the employer did not have just cause to discipline a particular worker (warning, suspension or termination), or other claims that the employer violated other articles of the agreement. For example, the union might claim that the employer failed to follow contract requirements in assigning work, or did not calculate pay correctly.

See also: Arbitration, Union