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Other people’s messes: The arbitrator as cleanup hitter

Professor Heinsz discusses the authority of arbitrators to reconsideration the earlier decisions of other arbitrators. His observations include the results of a questionnaire that he sent Academy members. Rolf Valtin opines that parties’ use of the words “final and binding” connotes their intention that an arbitration decision will not be merely advisory; not their intention …

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The parties have a right to expect an arbitrator to answer the question presented, and to resolve that question with a final award when the hearing has concluded. Interim awards, retention of jurisdiction, remanding matters back to the parties, and expansive commentary generally do not serve the purpose for which the parties retained the arbitrator. …

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The first obligation of an arbitrator is, therefore, to understand the nature of the dispute, asking questions as necessary or convening an additional hearing. The second obligation is to resolve the dispute within the framework of the labor agreement. Arbitrators should limit their involvement and analysis to the absolute minimum necessary to answer the specific …

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The deferral policy of the NLRB and the advent of equal employment statutes contribute to the increasing complexity and sophistication of the exercise of arbitral power. Abuses of power are not limited to complex cases or major aspects of a case, however. Venial offenses, such as repetitious recitation of the respective positions of the parties …

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The first obligation of an arbitrator is, therefore, to understand the nature of the dispute, asking questions as necessary or convening an additional hearing. The second obligation is to resolve the dispute within the framework of the labor agreement. Arbitrators should limit their involvement and analysis to the absolute minimum necessary to answer the specific …

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A report of the Committee on Law and Legislation for 1969, National Academy of Arbitrators

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