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A review and suggested synthesis of the Howlett/Meltzer debate over the extent to which arbitrators should consider the law in interpreting contracts. Moves from the obvious case where the contract explicitly references the law, to intermediate cases where the law informs the meaning of unclear language, to the debate begun at the prior year’s Academy …

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Reiterates position previously taken that, where there appears to be an irrepressible conflict between a labor agreement and the law, the arbitrator typically should follow the agreement and ignore the law, leaving application of the law to courts and administrative agencies. The author rejects the Mittenthal formula (1968, p. 42) and suggests it runs contrary …

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