An arbitrator recently ruled that a union could not unilaterally withdraw its grievance four days into the arbitration hearing.
The arbitrator concluded that unless the employer consents, a union’s ability to withdraw a grievance during the hearing is subject to the arbitrator’s discretion. While he could not force the union to attend the balance of the hearing, the arbitrator determined that he retained jurisdiction over the grievance and discretion as to its disposition.
The employer argued that it had a right to have the grievance resolved through arbitration and that it had incurred significant expense in preparing for the hearing. The arbitrator agreed that in these circumstances it would be unfair to allow the union to withdraw its grievance. The arbitrator dismissed the grievance on the basis that the union had not proven its case on the evidence before him.