Arbitration Success is in the Details
One of the most important services NSO offers its state affiliates is financial and non-financial assistance with grievances and arbitrations. According to the Vice President for Defense, there are several basic steps NSO affiliates can take for optimum results. In all cases it is understood that the NSO’s assistance is voluntary in the sense that neither it or the affiliate is contractually committed to either make the request or the NSO to render assistance. This is so because the affiliate has the bargaining rights and the NSO has the discretion what level of assistance to provide. In no case will the NSO provide assistance outside the scope of the affiliate’s request for assistance.
Ask NSO for assistance early in the process. NSO affiliates make their own decision concerning grievances and whether or not they go to arbitration. If you believe a grievance may proceed to arbitration then contact your NSO regional director immediately, who in turn, will contact the Vice President for Defense. “Contacting your regional director as soon as the demand for arbitration has been filed gives me the opportunity to search for an advocate who will best represent your interests,” said Ambrose.
Follow your procedure to the letter. It doesn’t matter how in-depth the evidence is or how egregious the violations are, if you don’t follow your negotiated grievance procedure the case can be lost on a technicality. It’s unfortunate how many arbitrations are dismissed because of something as basic as not meeting the timelines. These types of losses can damage your credibility with your members as well as giving management an opportunity to denigrate the grievance process.
Weigh the short and long term ramifications of negative arbitration results. Decisions based on the political climate within our state affiliates often influence our decision to take an issue to arbitration. It’s very important that NSO affiliates carefully review the merits of a grievance at the pre-arbitration level. Arbitration decisions should be based on merit not data. Affiliates should determine, among other things, whether the grievance affects a class of employees or does the grievance potentially raise a question better left unanswered. These and other issue related questions should be answered and the potential implications carefully weighed by the affiliate prior to taking the grievance to arbitration.
If, after careful consideration, the affiliate does decide to take the case to arbitration, NSO will pay the expense of the advocate and reimburse the affiliate 50% of the costs of the arbitration as well as the AAA filing fee. To receive reimbursement, the affiliate must submit both an Arbitration Subsidy Request Form and an Arbitrator Evaluation Form plus photocopies of the arbitrator’s bill. NSO does not pay for travel or lodging costs for witnesses nor does it pay for court transcripts without prior approval.
“NSO supports our state affiliates in their efforts to maintain their contracts,” said NSO President Chuck Agerstrand. “Contact your regional director and we will make sure you receive the assistance you need.”
Marius Ambrose, Vice President (Defense)
Grievance and Arbitration Guidelines and Legal Assistance
Arbitrator Subsidy Request Form
Arbitrator Evaluation Form
NSO Policy Manual - Grievance, Arbitration