Compulsory Dispute Settlement Via Litigation - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 27, No. 3
Associate Professor, College of Business and Public Administration, Department of Business Administration, Behavioral Science Division, University of Maryland.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
At the present time there is no legislation providing for the compulsory settlement of labor disputes in private industry in the United States despite a noticeable trend toward heightened industrial conflict in recent years. The national emergency strike provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act and the "cooling-off' provisions of the Railway Labor Act which govern railroads and airlines temporarily postpone the deleterious effects of prolonged work stoppages but include no element of compulsory adherence to govemmentally determined employment standards. The closest approximation to compulsory arbitration came in the form of a Nixon administration proposal which would have seen railroad labor and management allowed to bargain to an impasse and then agree to accept the fairest last offer as determined by a govemmentally appointed arbitrator. However, Congress failed to implement this suggestion through legislative inaction, and more than a year later, no new compulsory dispute settlement formulas have been advanced.
Compulsory arbitration, or the concept of governmentally-imposed settlements in labor dispute cases which characterizes conflict resolution in Australia and New Zealand, has met unalterable opposition in this country from not only labor and management but the public as well. The general notion is that any government intervention shall be voluntarily agreed upon by the parties concerned and that acceptance of the findings or recommendations of an outside party shall be optional unless the union and employer have agreed voluntarily in advance to accept the decision of an impartial arbitrator.