1. A grievance processed under Article 20 of this Agreement may be referred to arbitration as provided for in this Article. Such referral shall be made within 30 days after receipt of the written decision rendered in the final step of an action processed under Article 20, Article 23, or Article 24. A request to invoke arbitration can be made only by the Union or the Employer and shall be in writing and delivered to the appropriate Union or Department official.
2. : Within five (5) calendar days from the date of the request for arbitration, the parties shall jointly request the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to provide a list of seven (7) impartial persons qualified to act as arbitrators. A brief statement of the nature of the issue(s) in dispute will accompany the request to enable the Service to submit the names of arbitrators qualified for the issue involved. The Parties shall confer within fifteen (15) calendar days after the receipt of such list. If they cannot mutually agree upon one (1) of the listed arbitrators, the Employer and the Union will alternately strike arbitrators' names from the list of seven until one name remains. This remaining person shall be the duly selected arbitrator. The order of striking shall be decided by the flip of a coin.
3. The arbitration hearing shall be held at the locale where the grievance originated, or at another mutually agreeable location. The Arbitration hearing will be held, if possible, on management's premises and during the regular day shift hours.
4. During any 12 month period, beginning with the effective date of the Agreement, the Employer agrees to pay the first $1,500 of the costs of the arbitrator. For any arbitrator costs in excess of $1,500 in any 12 month period (the 12 month period shall commence upon the date of the arbitrators billing), the parties agree that the loser will pay the balance. Where the decision is split, the arbitrator shall determine the assessment for each party and bill accordingly. The arbitration costs shall include the arbitrator's fees and all expenses, including any transcripts or copies thereof that the Arbitrator may order. Either party may elect to have a verbatim transcript of the proceedings. In those cases, such transcript shall be made by an authorized court reporter, and the costs shall be borne by the Party ordering. If clarification of an Arbitrator's decision is necessary, the requesting party will pay for the additional arbitration fees and expenses. The arbitrator will be requested to complete the clarification within thirty (30) calendar days. If jointly requested, the costs will be shared.
5. : The arbitration process to be used may be one of the following:
a. A stipulation of facts to the arbitrator can be used when both Parties agree to the facts at issue, and further agree that a hearing would serve no useful purpose. In this case, all facts, data, documentation, etc., are jointly submitted to the arbitrator with a request for a decision based upon the facts presented.
b. An arbitrator inquiry can be used when the Parties agree that a formal hearing would serve no useful purpose. In this case, the arbitrator would make such inquiries as he/she deemed necessary (e.g., inspecting the work sites, taking statements).
c. An arbitration hearing should be used when a formal hearing is necessary to clarify the matter in dispute and develop the facts that are in dispute between the Parties, or when the Parties cannot agree to the procedures set forth in subsections a. or b. of this section. In this case, a formal hearing is convened and conducted by the arbitrator.
a. The Parties agree to keep the number of witnesses to a reasonable number.
b. The expenses of any witness shall be borne by the Party calling the witness, except that the Agency will pay normal travel and per diem for witnesses who work for the Agency provided: where the relevance of the witness is questioned by the Agency, the Union will provide the basic context of the employee’s contribution to the case. Where the Agency disputes the relevance, the cost of the employee’s travel and per diem will be determined by the arbitrator. If the arbitrator rules the witness’ testimony as relevant, the Agency will pay the expenses of that witness. If the arbitrator rules the testimony is not relevant, the Union will pay the expenses of their witness(s).