The standards under which the National Labor Relations Board will defer to the arbitration process have been subjected to considerable review by the ever-changing membership of the Board. Recently, the Reagan Board redefined the standards to be followed in determining the circumstances under which the Board will defer to the arbitration process prior to an award and the circumstances under which the Board will accept an arbitration award.
While the Board's new standards will require the parties to demand more precise awards from arbitrators in terms of resolution of unfair labor practice issues, arbitrators should not be reluctant to accommodate these needs. The areas in which the contractual and statutory issues are "factually parallel" are generally those familiar to arbitrators. When the issue of ultimate NLRB deferral might arise, arbitrators should require the parties to state their respective positions on the statutory issues, present sufficient evidence for the arbitrator to decide the issue, and, if necessary, provide written briefs on the statutory issues. Under these circumstances, the arbitrator will serve the needs of the parties, and a final resolution of a controversy can be achieved.