Dr. Craig E. Overton is an Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island and is a member of the National Labor Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association. He received his Ph.D. in Labor Relations from the University of Massachusetts in 1971, and has since published articles related to labor relations in a number of professional journals.
During the period when the United States was involved in World War II it was quite evident that industrial disputes could not be tolerated. Accordingly, labor and management accepted President Roosevelt's request for a no-strike, no-lockout agreement in their contracts. He established a tripartite War Labor Board which supported the use of voluntary arbitration in the settlement of contract disputes. It also encouraged the inclusion of a grievance arbitration procedure in contracts which did not contain one. At the end of the war, the War Labor Board expired. However, it can be stated that this Board played a major role in sharpening the distinction between interest arbitration and rights arbitration.
According to Randle and Wortman, in interest arbitration, an arbitrator is charged with deciding those issues submitted involving proposed changes in or additions to contract language, and the award will determine how the contract language will read in the disputed areas. In grievance or rights arbitration an arbitrator interprets and applies the language of the contract in a given factual situation and the award determines the rigths of the parties under that language and the facts.