There is a contentious issue between the workers union and Bainbridge Borough Company where Carole Fern, an adoptive mother, has been denied a maternity leave. According to the company, maternity leave should only be accorded to mothers of naturally born infants and not to adoptive parents. Since Carole Fern intends to adopt a baby, the organization feels that it is not her right to unpaid leave. The company only concern as far as maternity leave is concerned only in cases where natural births are evident. On the other hand, the union feels that the company has violated the collective bargaining agreement between the union and the company. As an arbitrator in this contentious issue, I am of the opinion that the company has violated the bargaining agreement.
According to the union, maternity leaves are mainly occasioned by two occurrences. To start with, maternity leave is essential for the physical health and recovery of the mother. Besides, the bond between the mother and the child is an important component in child rearing. Although adoptive mothers have nothing to recover from, the latter reason for maternity leave becomes critical. Just like the naturally born children, there is also need for a good bond between an adoptive mother and the adopted child. The union moves on and defines the noun maternity as the quality or state of being a mother. In this respect, the state of being a mother is not strictly restricted to women going through natural pregnancy. It is, therefore, paramount for the organization to note that Carole Fern is in a state of being a mother through adoption and is therefore entitled to unpaid maternity leave.
On this note, Carole Fern is a new mother and has a right to maternity leave. According to the provisions of the contract, Article X section 4.A, there are strict provisions of unpaid leaves. The primary qualification for the unpaid leaves is a reasonable purpose. Carole Fern has a reasonable purpose for leave without pay on the premise that she has a new child who needs utmost care from her. The organization has an obligation of assenting to such requests. By denying Carole Fern a maternity leave, the company has grossly violated the provisions of terms of contact.
The same article x has further provisions on maternity leave. The contract between local union 10 and the company provides that maternity leave that does not exceed six months should be granted to employees on request. It is they’re a gross violation of contract terms on the side of the company to deny Carole Fern maternity leave despite her efforts of adhering to the terms of service. The company had expressed good faith in accepting her request for the two weeks paid vacation, and this should also be the case in the event of maternity leave. As an arbitrator, I would strongly side with the union’s position that the company has violated the collective bargaining agreement between the two parties.
It is evident that the company has fully ignored the provisions in the contract between them and the union. Apart from the provisions of the terms of the contract, it is also inhuman to deny someone a right to maternal leave simply because she cannot bear children. This would be a demoralizing and traumatizing experience that will lead to low productivity. I would, therefore, rule that the company grants Carole Fern a maternal leave failure to which an industrial action such as strike would be commendable.
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