Lessons from Experience with Interest Arbitration in Nine Jurisdictions - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 41, No. 2
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Many different and significant conclusions can be drawn from an analysis of interest arbitration in various jurisdictions. This article considers developments in nine jurisdictions, based on materials covering a period of 7 to 16 years. Eight states— Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, in the East, and Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, in the Midwest—and New York City were investigated.
Extensive experimentation with arbitration forms and procedures in these jurisdictions does, of course, complicate the task of drawing conclusions from their collective experience. Conclusions based on common developments and similar results under such varied conditions, however, do have considerable breadth of support. They are, obviously, subject to revision in the light of subsequent developments in the selected jurisdictions and of experience in other states and municipalities.
A set of five findings or conclusions is offered here in the hope that researchers and practitioners will critically appraise their validity and will add to the collection. Such additional efforts will serve to improve their usefulness for persons dealing with interest arbitration in the public sector.
ACCEPTANCE AND PERFORMANCE
(1) The systems of interest arbitration analyzed have tended to receive increased acceptance, and performance under them has improved as the parties and the neutrals have had the benefit of experience over an extended period of time. The factors of education and adaptation seem to be mainly responsible for that improvement. Over time, the parties and their advocates learn how to operate intelligently and skillfully under the particular statute and its administration. Mediators and arbitrators also learn how to function more effectively under the provisions of the law. The parties and the neutrals get to know and understand one another better through experience, so that there are fewer misjudgments or surprises and more cooperation among them. This education-adaptation process should have more systematic analysis than it has so far received.