Whether it is the union or management refusing to participate and whether it is a grievance arbitration or an interest arbitration, the answer is the same.  It is a very big mistake and you will likely regret it—a lot.  The Authority has repeatedly ruled that if a party refuses to participate in an arbitration hearing that was properly scheduled, it commits an unfair labor practice.  Of more immediate significance is …

that the arbitrator can proceed with the hearing without the boycotting party, take evidence only from the party that showed up (or stayed in the room), and issue a final and binding decision without ever contacting the absent party for its evidence.  The far better approach to an unpleasant or offensive arbitration hearing is to stay in the room, put into the official record that you are participating “under protest,” and challenge the decision as invalid.

Check out the following if you want to know more about why not to do this yourself or how to use the other party’s walkout to your advantage. AFGE, 48 FLRA 822;  AFGE, 38 FLRA 1117; and AFGE, 15 FLRA 151.

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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