Arbitrator's Decision in Mine Safety Inspector's Case
The attached arbitrator's decision came about as the result of a
grievance filed at the MSHA Metal Non-Metal Field Office in Mesa,
Arizona by AFGE Local 3416 union steward Larry Nelson. Brother Nelson
filed the grievance because he had applied for Accident Investigator
(AI) and Special Investigator (SI) training a total of eight times.
When he asked the District Manager what he needed to do to improve his
chances, the District Manager did not say but rather asked him what he
thought he needed to do. I was the NCFLL representative at this
arbitration hearing in Mesa on February 20.
The arbitrator found that management has the obligation to answer an
employee's question. I believe this decision has wide application, not
only to the AI/SI matter, but to performance issues. Article 43 is
already clear that management must answer an employee's questions, such
as "How can I meet or exceed this standard?" Management must give a
clear answer instead of, "What do you think you need to do?" The
arbitrator alluded to the requirement of Article 43, Section 4 in his
The arbitrator also analyzed the behavior of the two supervisors in
Mesa. It is an interesting read.
Thanks to Larry Nelson for allowing the NCFLL to share this decision.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about this
arbitrator's decision. Have a good weekend.
President, AFGE Local 2139
Vice President, National Council of Field Labor Locals, AFGE, AFL-CIO
Vice President, Texas AFL-CIO First Vice President, Sabine Area CLC,
350 Magnolia, Room 160-C
Beaumont, TX 77701
Office: (409) 839-2484
Fax: (409) 839-2485
Cell: (409) 719-8223