NEW YORK NURSE: April 2011
RNs at work
The arbitration process
My NYSNA representative recently discussed with me the possibility of taking my grievance to arbitration. What are the steps involved in the arbitration process?
Arbitration is the final step in the grievance process. It comes about when a settlement on behalf of a unionized employee cannot be reached between the union and the employer. An arbitration award is determined by an impartial third party, called an arbitrator. The main advantages of arbitration are that it’s faster and less expensive than going to court.
There are three main components of an arbitration process:
- Prehearing preparation sessions. At this point, management and union representatives each have the chance to review their evidence. Documents are gathered to assist the arbitrator and parties to focus on the issue at hand.
- Arbitration hearing. The hearing is when both parties have the chance to present their cases and evidence. During the hearing, it’s very common to call witnesses who have observed particular events. Some examples of evidence that could be used are time cards, performance appraisals, and warnings. The hearing is an opportunity for both parties to summarize key aspects of their cases. Post-hearing briefs may also be submitted by both parties.
- Arbitrator’s decision. It’s common for labor contracts to require that a decision be made within a certain time period. However, the settlement may be discussed and agreed to at the hearing by both parties. When making a decision, an arbitrator will discuss the issue presented, the statement of facts, the positions of the parties, the analysis or discussion, and the award.