Contract Arbitration

The CBA between Knights Manufacturing and Blue United was coming to an end and negotiations had begun prior to its expiration date of September 30, 2019. An agreement could not be reached before that date, so negotiations continued, and the expired contract was extended until the new CBA took effect.

During the negotiations, the union asked for the Friday after Thanksgiving to be designated as a holiday. The old contract included 10 holidays, and this would increase the total to 11. The company countered that with adding the Friday after Thanksgiving, but removing the Columbus Day holiday, keeping the total number of holidays at 10. The union accepted this exchange and the new contract was ratified on November 5, 2019. The parties agreed that the effective date of the contract would be retroactive to the day after the previous contract expired, October 1, 2019.

The company did not pay employees holiday pay for Columbus Day 2019 and the union filed a grievance against Knights Manufacturing stating that because the contingent agreement was in effect at the time of the holiday, employees should have been paid for the holiday.

The company responded that all holidays, including the new Friday after Thanksgiving holiday, were paid in accordance with the ratified contract.

The grievance was sent to an arbitrator.

Please provide your answer to each question below in one to two paragraphs. Please note: do not copy the questions – this will increase your similarity. Just use the headings to organize your responses:

Date: On which date should the arbitrator put more focus: ratification date or effective date? Why?
Holidays: How does the retroactive date affect the holidays?
Proof: Does the burden of proof lie with the union or the company? Why?
Grievance: Should the grievance be upheld or denied? Why?
Language: Why is clear and unambiguous language important in writing a contract, and how does it affect arbitration?

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