Due process a ground to vacate arbitration award?
February 23, 2009 by Ross Runkel at LawMemo
Five employees of the Union Pacific Railroad filed claims through their Union (the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen) contesting a discharge or discipline imposed by the Railroad. Rather than resolving the dispute over the propriety of the discipline, the National Railroad Adjustment Board concluded that the Union had failed to submit conclusive evidence that the parties had held a conference to attempt to resolve the dispute - a procedural prerequisite to arbitration - and thus the Board determined that it was required to dismiss the claim for lack of jurisdiction. The district court agreed. The 7th Circuit reversed.
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen General Committee of Adjustment, Central Region v. Union Pacific Railroad Company (7th Cir 04/09/2008).
Rehearing denied, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen General Committee of Adjustment, Central Region v. Union Pacific Railroad Company (7th Cir 08/11/2008)
Although the 7th Circuit agreed with the district court that it has always been clear that the parties must conference, and that they must submit evidence of that fact, it heretofore has not been clear when and how that evidence must be presented. The court found that the Board denied the Union due process by requiring evidence of conferencing to be presented in the on-property record, a requirement not clearly enunciated in the statutes, regulations, or the collective bargaining agreement of the parties. Consequently, the 7th Circuit reversed.
The US Supreme Court granted certiorari on February 23, 2009 to review the 7th Circuit judgment.
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