Promise Checking: Grievance Arbitration - Section 17 - Collective Bargaining: How it Works and Why - 3rd Edition
Thomas R. Colosi is American Arbitration Association Vice President for National Affairs and a third-party neutral. He spends much of his time training advocates and neutrals about the workings of dispute resolution. He has taught as an adjunct professor for the University of Maryland Law School and at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Arthur E. Berkeley is Associate Professor at the Memphis State University’s School of Business, where he teaches alternative dispute resolution. He is involved in training programs as well as serving as an arbitrator. He served as the founding president of the Maryland Chapter of Industrial Relations Research Association.
Originally from Collective Bargaining: How it Works and Why - 3rd Edition
IN THIS SECTION the “promise checking” phase of collective bargaining is examined, and an overview of the process and the participants is provided.
Contract Administration: Checking the Promises
While grievance arbitration is similar in conceptual approach to interest arbitration in that a neutral hears the positions of both parties and renders a binding decision, there is a fundamental difference between the two forms of arbitration. Grievance arbitration is concerned with the interpretation and/or application of already existing contract language that the parties themselves negotiated. That is the key to its widespread voluntary acceptance in both the public and private sectors.
As noted earlier, when the parties are unable to reach agreement during the contract-making process, resort may be made to interest arbitration, which serves to make promises for the parties. Once the parties have reached a contract and exchanged promises, the relationship changes. Now they are willing to give up overt weapons of conflict, such as the strike or lockout, in exchange for stability, continued production and wages.
Realizing the importance of a continuous uninterrupted functioning of the enterprise to both employer and employee, the parties have voluntarily surrendered their traditional weapons of strike and lockout in favor of grievance arbitration. This process is also called rights arbitration, because it determines the contractual rights of the parties under their agreement.