The parties' perception of the arbitrators' neutrality is essential to the success of the labor arbitration process. If either labor or management believes that an arbitrator has a tendency to rule for one side more than the other, that arbitrator's acceptability will be seriously jeopardized.
Parties often measure neutrality by determining the number of cases in which an arbitrator ruled for labor versus management. An analysis of more than 1 ,000 arbitration awards shows, however, that a 50/50 split in awards is not neces~arily a valid measure of impartialIty. Factors such as the issue in dispute, who bears the burden of proof, and whether the political and legal environment influence case processing must be considered in any evaluation of an arbitrator's neutrality.