Peter A. Prosper is a professor of labor economics and industrial relations at Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., nn AAA arbitrator nnd a N.Y. State Public Employment Relations Board mediator, fact finder and arbitrator. His areas of study include comparative industrial relations systems and labor econmnics.
Joel M. Douglas is a professor of public adtninislralion nnd industrial relations at Baruch College, City University of New York. He is an arbitrator with the AAA, a N. Y. Stale Public Employment Relations Board mediator, fact finder, and arbitrator, and a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators. His areas of study include public sector labor law and collective bargaining in higher education.
In an effort to address human rights discrimination complaints, the New York State legislature in 1989 authorized voluntary arbitration of such cases. The experimental program was designed to shorten the time-lag involved in the processing of perceived violations of the state's human rights law. Use of the program is contingent on agreement of both the complainant and respondent, and is not intended to preclude the right of a complainant to subsequently pursue statutory civil rights claims through litigation. It is hoped that the voluntary arbitration alternative will substantially reduce the accumulation of nearly 12,000 complaints pending as of April1, 1989, and will provide a model that can be modified to fit the needs of other states.