The Quest for Finality in Airline Disputes: A Case for Arb-Med - Chapter 4 - AAA Handbook on Labor Arbitration & ADR, 3rd Edition
Arnold Zack is a Mediator and Arbitrator of labor-management disputes, a teacher at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, and author of 12 books on dispute resolution and international labor issues. He is a member of the Visiting Committee on Human Resources at Harvard University, and he chairs the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Education in Dispute Resolution. Mr. Zack, a former president of the National Academy of Arbitrators, has been appointed to four Presidential Emergency Boards. He co-chaired the Due Process Task Force which produced the Due Process Protocol for the Mediation and Arbitration of Statutory Employment Disputes. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award for Labor Management Arbitration, the Whitney North Seymour Medal of the American Arbitration Association, and the Cushing Gavin Award of the Archdiocese of Boston.
THE QUEST FOR FINALITY IN AIRLINE
DISPUTES: A CASE FOR ARB-MED
Arnold M. Zack
The conventional wisdom has mediation as the prelude to arbitration of disputes arising out of labor-management contract negotiations. The author suggests a faster method, one that avoids using mediation to reach the next step. His proposal flips the sequence, using arbitration first, but putting the decision in a sealed envelope while the parties mediate for a set time period. If agreement is reached, the neutral tears up the envelope and the decision is never revealed. If the mediation fails, the envelope is opened and the arbitration award resolves the dispute.
Collective bargaining between unions and management over new or renewal contract terms, as practiced in the airline industry, is not working. The system designed in 1936 is rife with delays and lacks any assurance of reaching a final resolution of these disputes; moreover, the system fails to meet the current needs of society. Of the proposed alternatives to the present system, the concept that holds the most promise of providing a full hearing of the issues with an opportunity for the parties to reach agreement on their own is called “arb-med.” This chapter will discuss these alternatives and particularly the advantages of arb-med.