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    Arguments by Company and Union Lawyer in Arbitration

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    1. If Peter is discharged, what arguments would the company lawyer use at arbitration?

    2. What arguments would the union lawyer make in response?

    3. What criteria would an arbitrator use to decide the case and what decision would likely be made?


    Peter Frost is a 52 year old maintenance mechanic with 25 years service in a construction materials plant in western Mississauga. He originally completed his mechanic apprenticeship in England. Peter is known as a likeable, fairly knowledgeable, technically competent tradesman, with a pro-union stance and enough leadership skills to have been chosen chief steward by his fellow union members 8 years ago. He is viewed by the company as someone to fear because he orchestrated and lead a successful illegal strike four years ago in a dispute over vacation pay. The strike cost the company over a million dollars in lost productivity.

    Unfortunately Peter doesn't seem to want to come to work, and when he does he is often late. Over the past four years, Peter has missed over 100 shifts due to absenteeism, and he was late an additional 53 times. The records also show that on at least 25 occasions Peter not only missed his shift but, but he didn't advise his supervisor that he would be absent. Absenteeism in the plant averages six shifts a year.

    The company has noticed a significant deterioration in Peter's performance over the past four years and it is getting progressively worse. There seems to be a pattern of Monday and Friday absences and there are strong and persistent rumors from other employees and supervisors that Peter's breath smells of alcohol on a regular basis. When Peter is at work, his mood swings are totally unpredictable. Some employees have even gone so far as to complain to management about Peter's absenteeism, attitude and performance suggesting that his behavior is disruptive to the entire workforce.

    The newly appointed Labor Relations Manager is Bob Graham. His first directive from senior management is to get rid of Peter Frost. Bob reviews Peter's file and, to his horror he discovers that Peter's disciplinary record is clear.

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    Solution Preview

    1. If Peter is discharged, what arguments would the company lawyer use at arbitration?

    In response, the company lawyer would point out to the union lawyer that Peter's disciplinary record may be clean; however, he still has excessive time missed from work and was late numerous times. Further, his work performance has deteriorated and is continuously getting worse. There have been complaints from other employees about his behavior, his disruptiveness and the smell on alcohol on his breath. Bob may try to make the argument that the time off is documented, and therefore ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution provides arguments by company and union lawyer in arbitration.