The slogan of the American Arbitration Association—"Settling Private Disputes in the Public Interest"—^may need some retailoring to include public disputes, in view of the events of 1966.
The time may have come for all to realize the imperative need of reconciling the individual rights of employees and employers with the rights of the public. The recent paralysis of transportation in New York City was a compelling demonstration of the fact that, at the time of the crisis, we did not know what to do about it. The involvement of public employees of the transit system was more dramatic perhaps than that of any private employees, even in a very large industrial situation. The problem presented is, however, basically the same as in industry, even though the need for a solution is more pressing. Furthermore, when people involved in a labor dispute are working in a public service enterprise, a private quarrel may, it is now evident, become very quickly a public dispute involving the public interest in an immediate and direct fashion. Thus a three dimensional situation of awesome complexity is created. With all of the advances made by labor and management toward a system of mutual accommodation, and even with no more than two parties to consider, little has been accomplished in establishing a sure remedy or even an approach to a remedy for the big strike. There have been many ideas, proposals, and tentative solutions offered, but in spite of everything, the trains stopped rolling in New York. The public, playing out its important role, must have had ample opportunity for reflection.