It is twenty-five years since I began my internship with Saul Wallen. During the intervening years, arbitration has expanded from private sector work alone into municipal and state mediation, fact finding, interest arbitration and grievance arbitration, and, most recently, into federal sector grievance arbitration. The ranks of the War Labor Board sages are thinning, while the rosters of the AAA and the FMCS are expanding.
Throughout the twenty-five year period, the lament of the parties has remained the same: "There's a shortage of good arbitrators" and "We have to wait too long for hearing dates and decisions."
The reply has always been "Select the newer arbitrators who have more readily available dates." But in so responding, the neutrals have placed the responsibility for continuing to use the old timers instead of the newer arbitrators at the feet of the parties. Certainly, they are the ones who have the option to take the newer or the established arbitrator, but the pressures mitigate against choosing the fledgling. There are several reasons.