Synopsis By: Lurie - Proceeding Author: Raymond Goetz, Robert G. Meiners, Addison Mueller

Between Harry Shulman’s view that collective bargaining agreements are pacts adopted in complex industrial societies to set up systems for their governance, and the Williston view that a contract is a contract, is the middle ground: collective bargaining agreements as special types of contracts with respect to which the principles of “ordinary” contract law. Professor Mueller examines the ways in which collective bargaining agreements exist in that middle ground. “If literalness is sheer absurdity, we are to seek some other meaning whereby reason will be instilled and absurdity avoided.” [Quoting Cardozo] Professor Goetz, in response, takes issue with the suggestion that all we need are “everyday standards of relevance” and “common sense”: “…despite certain unique features, collective bargaining agreements nevertheless do create the legal relationship we have classified as ‘contract.'” Finally, Professor Meiners opines that there is one overriding reason why arbitrators should not attempt to use the law of contracts in theresolution of labor arbitration cases: the expectations of the parties.