Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

The Vicissitudes of Labor Arbitration

Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

The Vicissitudes of Labor Arbitration

Article excerpt

The Vicissitudes of Labor Arbitration

ARBITRATION 2001: ARBITRATING IN AN EVOLVING LEGAL ENVIRONMENT (Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Arbitrators)

Edited by Jay E. Grenig and Steven Briggs Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Affairs (www.bna.com; 1-800-960-1220), 2002. Hardcover. 212 pages. $45.

Labor arbitration does not and cannot exist in a vacuum. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the proceedings of the annual meeting of the National Academy of Arbitrators continue to be "must" reading for those in the field. Year in and year out, this book serves as a key indicator of what the labor-management sector is up to, what it is up against, and where it is headed.

At the NAA's 2001 meeting held in Atlanta, the discussion centered on how labor arbitration is affected by the courts and commercial arbitration, specifically arbitration of workrelated disputes in the non-union sector. John Kagel, NAA president in 2000-2001, spoke about how employment arbitration is "sneaking up" on labor arbitration. He opined that the courts are trying too many employment cases, that management lawyers are doing more employment work than collective bargaining work, and that union lawyers are likewise getting more involved in this type of caseload. "What is being brought to labor arbitration from these commercial cases and their litigation evil twin is a scorched-earth, win-at-any-cost approach," said Kagel, who also blamed the greater length of labor arbitration hearings on the spillover from court litigation and commercial arbitration. Kagel called for greater awareness on the part of all parties to the labor arbitration process and greater vigilance on the part of labor arbitrators in guiding the parties and in addressing specific disputed issues in their awards. …

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