What to Expect if Your Grievance is Going to Arbitration
If your case goes all the way to arbitration, you can expect that some time – usually measured in months – will pass between the employer’s final rejection of the grievance and the actual arbitration hearing. Some of this delay is unavoidable, since often the employer and the union will have to go through an agreed upon process to select an arbitrator and to set a hearing date that will fit everyone’s schedule.
But participants in the process can put that time to good use for preparation. Just as with processing a grievance through the steps of the grievance procedure, there may well be the need for intensive investigation of the facts to get ready for the hearing. You may need to locate witnesses to any disputed events or to track down the history of other occurrences that may factor into your case.
And you, or others who may be called to testify at the arbitration hearing, will need to prepare to give testimony. And the representatives of both sides and the arbitrator will have work to do in advance of the hearing. Your representative, for example, may be trying to get documents or other evidence from the other side, to help build your case. And the arbitrator may be pushing both sides to define the issues to be presented to the arbitrator for resolution and to determine what witnesses will be testifying and which documents may be admitted as evidence.
-- Adapted from The Union Members Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer