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Copyright (c) 1983 Case Western Reserve Law Review.
Case Western Reserve University

ARTICLE: Resolving Holiday Pay Disputes In Labor Arbitration


33 Case W. Res. 380


Roger I. Abrams ** and Dennis R. Nolan ***



COLLECTIVE BARGAINING and labor arbitration form the foundation of national labor policy. 1 Negotiations between management and its employees' chosen representative produce collective bargaining agreements which order the workplace, setting forth the terms and conditions of employment. 2 Contractual disputes arise during terms of those agreements, and the industrial partners universally have adopted arbitration as the most efficient mechanism for resolving those controversies. 3

On a case-by-case basis over the past half century, labor arbitrators have created a body of principles for resolving the disputes that arise under collective bargaining agreements. 4 Arbitral principles for the interpretation of contract provisions reflect an accommodation of the legitimate but conflicting interests of management and labor. This common law of the labor agreement can be systematically restated and analyzed. 5

One type of dispute commonly resolved through the arbitration process involves employee claims to holiday benefits. While holiday benefits constitute only a small part of a contract's compensation package, disputes concerning entitlement are quite significant to the employees involved. Moreover, when management has refused to pay the benefit to the entire work force, the amount of money at stake may be substantial. This Article reviews and, where warranted, criticizes the principles used by arbitrators in addressing claims for holiday pay. In addition, it suggests guidelines for resolving recurring holiday pay disputes.


Almost all collective bargaining agreements include clauses providing paid holidays for employees. 6 Traditionally, hourly employees were not paid for days, such as ...
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