Much has been spoken and written on the important subject of how to reduce costs and time in labor arbitration. Unfortunately, most prescriptions are intended for others rather than for oneself. Representatives of the parties often contend that arbitrators hold the key to improving the efficiency of the process through more prompt scheduling of hearings and rendering of awards, withdrawal of their availability if they cannot meet (heir obligations promptly, the writing of shorter opinions, and so forth. Arbitrators usually point out that because the process is the creation of the parties and under their control, it Is the parties who hold the key to improving efficiency through more thorough screening of cases to be arbitrated, better preparation, stipulation of issues and facts prior to the hearing, more selectivity in the utilization of transcripts and posthearing briefs, expedited procedures, teleconference hearings, and the like.
In the final analysis, arbitrators have available to them certain means that, although rarely employed, have demonstrated substantial savings for the parties while preserving completely and, indeed, expanding the parties' control of the arbitration process. Specifically, two procedures may be initiated by the arbitrator, one at the beginning and one at the conclusion of the hearing.