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Court will not order consolidation of union's multi-unit grievance
March 08, 2011 by Ross Runkel at LawMemo

UFCW v. MultiCare Health Sys (W.D. Wash 03/03/2011) is an interesting case.

The union filed a grievance in response to the employer's change in its policy on paying employees who are furloughed due to infectious conditions.

The union represents employees in eight bargaining units, and sought a court order to conduct a single arbitration for all units.

The US District Court held that (1) the court (not an arbitrator) should decide this issue, and (2) consolidation will not be ordered.

The court found that the parties did not intend consolidated arbitration.

The eight collective bargaining agreements differ as to arbitrator selection; two use a pre-selected list of arbitrators, and six provide for selection using an FMCS list. If one arbitrator decided the case, then he or she would act in excess of authority by deciding an issue under contracts that did not provide for his or her appointment.

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