The fourth and last step of the grievance process is arbitration. If the Adjustment Board is unable to reach a majority decision, or the parties mutually waive the Adjustment Board, the union, and only the union, may invoke arbitration by filing a written request to do so within the timeframe prescribed in the applicable MOU. In an arbitration proceeding, the positions of the grievant and management are presented by attorneys. An arbitrator hears the grievance and renders a binding decision. The union and the Department within which the grievance arose share the cost of arbitration fees equally. Each party is responsible for its own legal expenses.
Once a case goes to arbitration, County Counsel becomes the department’s representative, as arbitration is a formal proceeding governed by the rules of evidence and procedure. County Counsel and Employee & Labor Relations work together with the department representatives to prepare management’s case and witnesses prior to the proceeding.