Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fourth Circuit holds that closure of employee cafeteria with withdrawal of employee benefit and arbitrable

In WASHINGTON METRO. AREA TRANSIT v. LOCAL 2, the Fourth Circuit considered whether closure of an employee cafeteria was arbitrable. The dispute arose when the transit authority announced it was going to close the cafeteria at its downtown-District of Columbia headquarters. At the time,the cafeteria had been operating for about 30 years, though it had been closed to the public since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Authority justified the closure in terms of its need for the space to be used for other activities of the Authority, and the former cafeteria space is now used for storage and a law library. Based on the agreements between the parties, the panel agreed with the district court and held that this was the withdrawal of an employee benefit and thus subject to arbitration.

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