Ever since the steelworkers' Trilogy cases were decided in 1960, final and binding arbitration has been the principal means of resolving labor contract grievances. Courts have, tor the most part, stayed out of contract disputes in the private sector, primarily because, as the Trilogy made clear, national labor relations policy favored arbitration, rather than litigation, as the preferred method of dispute resolution.
In the public sector, however, labor relations problems and their solutions do not easily fit into the private sector mold. This is partly because each state is master of its own public sector labor relations policy and national uniformity is impossible. In addition, questions of public policy in the public sector are much broader than the private.
In recent years, there has been not only a dramatic increase in public sector employment and unionism, but an equally dramatic increase in the activity of the courts in contract disputes. I his article reviews those court cases and developments that demonstrate a shift from Trilogy principles where public sector grievance arbitration is at issue. The author considers both cases in which a party seeks to stay arbitration or vacate an award and concludes that, given the courts' growing pendant for intervention, involving m, many instances, the issue of scope of bargaining as the basis for overturning awards, the attractiveness of arbitration as a dispute resolution forum will be diminished.