Seniors Deserve Change to Prove Learning Ability on New Job

December 1967
Labor Law Journal;Dec67, Vol. 18 Issue 12, p760
Academic Journal
This article focuses on the ruling of arbitrator Ralph Roger Williams on a provision relating to seniority preferences in a new job opening. Normally, vacancies are to be filled by senior men who are trained and qualified for the job. In this instance, however, a new job was involved for which no one was trained and qualified. Hence, a specific provision stated that the job was to be filled according to seniority if ability to learn the work and fitness to perform it were equal as between bidders. But Williams held that the ability to learn provision had to be considered in conjunction with a clause providing a 12-week training period for employees placed on a job. Taking them together, the arbitrator ruled, indicated that something more than the company's arbitrary determination of ability was required. In this case, there was no proof that rejected seniors did not have the ability to learn. They performed satisfactorily on the jobs immediately below the open one in the line of progression. Consequently, the company was ordered to replace three junior men who had been given the jobs with the three seniors, and to give the latter the training period provided for by the contract.


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