In this article, the authors assess the arbitral background and judicial outcomes of roughly 1 ,200 federal court cases involving either prearbitration appeals (refusals to arbitrate) or post-arbitration appeals (refusals to comply with an award) decided since the Steelworkers Trilogy decisions in 1960. Most of the appeals resulted from employer refusals to arbitrate or employer refusals to comply with an award. The vast majority of these cases involved appealed awards, and in 80 percent of these awards, the arbitrator fully or partly sustained the grievance. Most pre-arbitration appeals resulted in a court decision compelling arbitration, and most post-arbitration appeals resulted in a court decision upholding the award.
The increase in the number of arbitration appeals filed in the late 1970s and 1980s appears to have outpaced the concurrent rise in arbitration activity during this period. Nevertheless, less than one percent of private sector grievance arbitration awards are appealed to federal court.