Friday, January 18, 2013

Arbitrator concludes "functus officio" precludes reconsideration of award

Arbitrator Gary Axon has rejected a Motion for Reconsideration filed by the University of Washington, seeking to have him reconsider and vacate his award upholding a grievance filed by the UAW. Arbitrator Axon had found that the University violated its cba with the UAW by imposing certain fees on academic student employees. In seeking reconsideration, the University argued that the award contravened state statutes and public policy. The Union objected to the Motion, arguing that the Arbitrator lacked the authority to reconsider the award after it was issued.

Agreeing with the Union, Arbitrator Axon concluded:

I find the Employer’s Motion to reconsider, and vacate the Award is a challenge to the merits of the Award. I hold that under the doctrine of functus officio this Arbitrator has no power to reconsider and vacate the Award once it has been published.

The Arbitrator noted that his retention of jurisdiction to resolve any questions about the remedy ordered did not contravene the doctrine since it did not go to the merits of the dispute. Accordingly, the Arbitrator rejected the University's Motion but continued his retention of jurisdiction for remedial questions.

UAW Local 4121 links to both the original and supplemental awards, and the parties' briefs here.

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