ARBITRATION IN LABOR DISPUTES 5
Solutions to improve cost and Time lags in arbitration
According to Sloanne and Whitney (2010), time lags and cost haveattracted much criticism to the arbitration process. Making adecision takes time, even when the arbitrator has received enoughevidence. Such delays culminate into higher costs that may otherwiseoutweigh the benefits accrued. One party may opt to employ dilatorytactics to increase the time lags further.
According to Sloanne and Whitney, “One way to handle the time lagproblem is for the parties to look for comparatively new arbitratorsrather than veterans” (Sloanne& Whitney, 2010). Although somepeople may argue that new arbitrators do not have the necessaryexperience, they have a smaller caseload to allow them offer moreimmediate case hearing dates. Veteran arbitrators on the other handhave a greater share of the market and consequently, a biggercaseload that could drag for months.
Parties can circumvent time lags by selecting arbitrators bythemselves instead of relying on FMCS and AAA. Obtaining arbitratorsfrom an agency is time- consuming because the agency will have toinform the arbitrators, who will then write to the parties toschedule a hearing date. Doing away with stenographic transcripts ofthe proceedings and post-hearing briefs will save on cost and reducetime lags. The arbitrator should take their notes at the hearing andgive the parties a chance for oral argument (Sloanne & Whitney,2010).
Structural arrangements in Harold Swift Vs Ecumenical Bagel Company
After the dismissal, Swift contacted his union steward at the companyto explain his predicament. This was the first stage of thearrangement. The second step in the structural arrangement was topresent the grievance, signed by Swift and his union steward, to theforeman. The role of the steward was to sign the grievance form andaccompany Swift to the foreman’s office. The foreman was supposedto view the grievance and give his verdict in 48 hours.
The third step involved the appeal of the foreman’s verdict to thesuperintendent of the department in which Swift worked (Sloanne &Whitney, 2010). The steward acts as the representative of the union.He argues the merits of Swift’s case to no avail. Thesuperintendent’s role was to communicate the management’sdecision to Swift.
Lastly, a meeting was set between the superintendent and hisrepresentatives and the organization’s plant grievance committee torepresent the union. Each group of employees was arguing the positionof their bosses. The superintendent’s team insisted that thedismissal was justified while the grievance team negated the claim.Both teams agreed that Swift was unfairly discharged, but thendisciplinary action was inevitable.
Why the arbitrator’s decision may not be final and binding
An arbitrator’s decision is usually enforced by the courts. Veryrarely do courts alter the decision. However, in some instances, thecourts may find the decision wanting and pronounce it null. In suchinstances, the arbitrator’s decision is not final and bindingbecause they violated some rules stated below. The arbitration of anylabor dispute requires careful preparation (Sloanne & Whitney,2010). Both parties have the responsibility of preparing beforemeeting the arbitrator. Preparation involves collecting evidence,facts, and documents. The parties should also procure relevantwitnesses to help their case. The reason behind this level ofpreparation is to ensure that the process looks serious in the eyesof the court.
The exercise should conform to all rules of fairness as stipulated inthe constitution. The arbitrator should allow enough time for eachparty to present their findings. The arbitrator will then make adecision based on the evidence, facts and testimonies before him. Acourt may quash or overturn a decision if it establishes that theproceedings were not fair. One party might be tempted to leave outwitnesses or evidence under the impression that the arbitrator isalready familiar with the facts. However, the law clearly states thatin such a setting, the arbitrator should act like they know nothingelse apart from the facts and evidence presented. If later on oneparty cries foul, the courts will not find it as reason enough toquash the decision.
The various facets of the job of an arbitrator
Arbitrators should adhere to a strict code of ethics (Sloanne &Whitney, 2010). Examples of ethical considerations include making adecision based on the evidence presented and not personal knowledge.The arbitrator bears the responsibility of applying the language ofthe contract as they find it in a particular case. It is unethicalfor an arbitrator to disrespect the final collective bargainingcontract. Sometimes the ambiguous clauses of a contract can beinterpreted to mean different things. If a certain interpretation islikely to disadvantage one party, it is prudent that the arbitratorlooks at past interpretations of the clause. The currentinterpretation of the ambiguous clause should the same as it was inthe past.
A decision is fair if the arbitrator makes the ruling based on thetabled facts, evidence and witness accounts. An arbitrator thatdeliberately decides to compromise the grievance is not fair. Duringthe process, the arbitrator’s main responsibilities includetreating the parties with dignity and keep the hearing moving. Thearbitrator has no obligation of the witnesses giving theirtestimonies. Other responsibilities include being fair to theparticipants, being incorruptible, and being aware of guidingarbitration principles.
Sloane, A. A., & Witney, F. (2010). Labor relations (13thed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.