One year ago, the Education Department of the American Arbitration Association arranged a series of full-day seminar discussions at which nationally prominent arbitrators talked candidly with lawyers, union officers, and company and union representatives about procedural problems they encounter in deciding grievance arbitration cases. Their comments and their answers to searching questions should interest the entire labor-management community.
My subject is arbitration practices and procedures, and cutting arbitration costs and delays. Of course, these are closely related. Time-wasting procedures and disruptive practices mean higher costs and expensive delays in the resolution of a dispute. But there also should be constant awareness of a need for continuous exploration, experimentation, and imaginative and creative thinking on new practices and procedures so that arbitration might retain its vitality and fulfill its purposes.
Arbitration is not an inflexible procedure j it must be continuously tailored to the needs of the particular relationship. By its very nature, it is an instrument of the parties, created for the particular collective bargaining agreement. Each collective relationship can become for itself or for others a pilot project for testing new ideas and methods to make the procedures more effective for the parties, consistent with the goals they seek to achieve.