A two-prong test is used by courts to determine if a provision in a collective bargaining agreement is subject to arbitration
Concluding that the dispute was arbitrable, Supreme Court denied the County’s application for the permanent stay of arbitration. The County appealed and the Appellate Division sustained the lower court’s ruling.
If the demand for arbitration meets this test, the court will then consider the grievance and arbitration provisions set out in the collective bargaining agreement. Where the arbitration clause in a collective bargaining agreement is broad, said the Appellate Division, courts "should merely determine whether there is a reasonable relationship between the subject matter of the dispute and the general subject matter of the CBA."
Recognizing that certain substantive clauses in the CBA might not support the grievances, the court said that issue was irrelevant with respect to the threshold question of arbitrability, as the arbitrator, and not the court, is to resolve any uncertainty concerning the substantive rights and obligations of the parties."