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The author presents the current thinking of arbitrators (52 respondents) on the conundrum of what to do when a CBA provision irreconcilably conflicts with external law. The alternatives are to uphold the agreement over the law, the law over the agreement, or the “middle ground”: permit conduct forbidden by law but not require it (i.e., …

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An examination of the roles of arbitrators and the courts in interpreting and enforcing labor agreements. Bases on which courts have refused to enforce arbitrators’ decisions are examined, and advice given about contract interpretation and public policy.

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Professor Feller observes that courts, enforcing the arbitration provisions of both commercial and labor agreements, will rarely set aside a commercial award. However, courts will set aside labor arbitration awards that offend them, on the premises of “public policy” or failure to “draw its essence” from the CBA. Thus, there is no longer reason to …

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An examination of court decisions (post-Misco ) in which arbitration decisions have been vacated on grounds other than “public policy.” Such grounds include contractual limits on the arbitrator’s authority, the arbitrator’s adding to the terms of the CBA, failure of the decision to “draw its essence” from the CBA, and irreconcilability of the decision with …

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Professor Vetter notes the conclusions of Judges Harry Edwards and Frank Easterbrook that, post-Misco, public policy should be equated with illegality, but expresses reservations about that conclusion and its usefulness. He opines that post-Misco cases appear to ask whether the arbitration decision “unduly jeopardizes the interests of third persons, whose interests the decision make may …

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