The author, a labor arbitrator and associate professor of law at California State University, Sacramento, presented this paper at the national meeting of the Industrial Relations Research Association in Boston in January 7994. He wishes to thank Lucie Kafka for her assistance in the preparation of this article.
Labor arbitrators have long grappled with how to handle the professional, yet friendly, relationships they develop with individuals who represent employers and labor organizations. Busy and successful arbitrators establish a friendly rapport with advocates because advocates not only frequently appear before arbitrators, but also advocates and arbitrators participate in many of the same professional associations. To some extent, arbitrators gain a reputation for intelligence and integrity by interacting with the labor and management representatives at, for example, local chapter meetings of the Industrial Relations Research Association. When attending such a meeting, must an arbitrator shun all persons whose employers or unions currently have cases pending before the arbitrator or who may potentially bring cases to the arbitrator?