Richard N. Block is a professor at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations, Michigan State University. John Beck is an assistant professor at Michigan State’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations.
A. Robin Olson is a human resources specialist at IBM Corp. whose contribution to this paper was made while she was a graduate student at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations.
The success of grievance mediation can be measured in its high settlement rates and in the general satisfaction of the parties with the system. Yet, grievance mediation has yet to be truly accepted as an alternative to labor arbitration, say the authors. An historical analysis of some of the studies of the grievance mediation process may shed some light on the reason.
Although grievance mediation as a vehicle for resolving disputes arising under a collective agreement has been advocated for four decades, it has never been truly accepted as an alternative to labor arbitration. This is true despite the fact that it is generally acknowledged that grievance mediation is less costly and much faster at resolving many disputes than conventional labor arbitration.