William F. Edmonson is Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Instruction, Rockingham Community College, North Carolina. Alex J. Simon, a labor arbitrator, is Dean, School of Business and Economics, and Professor of Business and Economics, Middle Tennessee State University.
The settlement of disputes in higher education through arbitration is a relatively recent phenomenon. Most of the cases to date have occurred in the 1970's. As a result the literature concerning the use of arbitration in resolving grievances in the field of higher education is somewhat limited. This is not surprising, for most educators and particularly college and university faculty members have had little contact with this specialized process.
Not until the 1960's and 1970's has the public sector experienced such an unprecedented change as it relates to public employee-management relations. It was not until 1962 when President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order No. 10988 that any "employee" working in the public sector had any of the rights granted to those in the private sector by the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947—and this right was limited somewhat. The Kennedy order, however, was of prime importance since it gave positive encouragement to collective bargaining as a process and "rights" to public servants.