Arbitration in Practice: A Profile of Public Sector Arbitration Cases

By Mesch, Debra J.; Shamayeva, Olga | Public Personnel Management, Spring 1996 | Go to article overview

Arbitration in Practice: A Profile of Public Sector Arbitration Cases


Mesch, Debra J., Shamayeva, Olga, Public Personnel Management


Union membership in the public sector has grown rapidly, particularly at the state and local levels (Klingner, 1993). More than one-third of state government employees belong to unions as do almost one-half of people employed by local governments and schools (Coleman, 1990). Accompanying this growth has been the spread of collective bargaining into the public sector and an increased reliance on arbitration (Vest, O'Brien, & Vest, 1990). Many states have passed legislation mandating arbitration and have given arbitrators sole responsibility for settling collective bargaining agreement disputes with binding arbitration provisions (Coleman, 1990; Dunn & Overton, 1988). Furthermore, forty-one states have passed comprehensive laws which establish a duty to bargain over conditions of employment for public employees and, in most of these states, grievance arbitration is a mandatory topic of negotiation (Coleman, 1988).

Despite the recent widespread practice of arbitration in the public sector, the research literature in this area is weak (Lavan, 1990). The issues which reach arbitration are unclear (Coleman, 1988), little is known about the outcomes of the arbitration process and, generally, most employers do not know the reasons why cases are most often brought to the arbitration step (Mesch & Dalton, 1992). Moreover, employers are unfamiliar with the patterns of case resolutions - in what areas is the grievant or the organization more likely to win, lose, or reach some compromise (Mesch & Dalton, 1992). This lack of awareness may be particularly unsettling given that one recent study found almost 23 percent of filed grievances in the public sector resulted in a demand for an arbitration hearing (Bohlander, 1992).

The purpose of this paper is to shed some light on these issues. The authors analyzed 994 public sector arbitration cases from Labor Arbitration Reports: Dispute Settlements over a seven year period of time (1985-1992). Each case was coded according to the parties involved in the dispute, the type of case, and case resolution. It is anticipated that the results of this analysis will provide some insight into the public sector arbitration process. This study extends current knowledge of the topic in that it is not limited to one group of public employees - rather, all public unions at the local, state, and federal level are included.(1) Furthermore, all classifications of arbitration cases are examined and disciplinary-type infractions are classified and analyzed separately.

Categories of Arbitration Cases

A few studies have investigated patterns of arbitration across both public and private sectors. In an early study, Zirkel (1983) analyzed a sample of 400 arbitration cases according to case chronology, hearing characteristics, case content, issue identification, and case outcome. Although discharge and discipline cases were found to be the most prevalent, other categories frequently brought to arbitration were fringe benefits, work assignments, promotion and transfer, wages, and arbitrability. A more recent analysis of over 1100 arbitration cases found very similar results - discharge cases again being the most prevalent (Mesch & Dalton, 1992).

Coleman (1988; 1990) also found discipline and discharge cases to be the most prevalent for government employees. Half of the reported cases filed involved discipline, discharge, the policies and procedures in those areas, just cause, and employee suspensions (Coleman, 1990). Unlike the private sector, however, benefit and wage issues were less likely to occur in the public domain. Katz and LaVan (1991) also found discipline cases to be extremely high in the public sector.

Although there is little empirical research examining arbitration outcomes, the literature reviewed suggests that cases brought to arbitration in both the public and private sector address a variety of incidents and conditions. The following is a brief explanation of issues of typically brought to arbitration in the public sector. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Arbitration in Practice: A Profile of Public Sector Arbitration Cases
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.