How and Why Labor Arbitrators Decide Discipline and Discharge Cases: An Empirical Examination
Arbitration, Proceedings of the Sixtieth Annual Meeting, National Academy of Arbitrators, 2007
45 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2008
This book chapter summarizes the preliminary findings of what may be the most comprehensive collection of discipline and discharge arbitration decisions ever subject to systematic analysis. Since the early 1980s, arbitrators on Minnesota's Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) roster have been required to file a copy of their decisions with the BMS regardless of the source or sector of their appointment. The authors of this chapter coded information concerning 2,055 discipline and discharge cases decided between 1982 and 2005, as well information about the arbitrators who decided those cases. The size of the data base and the large variety of coded survey items permits empirical testing of many assertions in the arbitration literature about the nature of discipline and discharge decision-making. In some respects, our findings support the conclusions in the literature about arbitral decision-making and in the empirical studies on which some of those conclusions were based, but in other respects our results challenge those statements and studies.
These findings examine such issues as the impact of last chance agreements, burden of proof standards, the Seven Tests of Just Cause, and individual arbitrator characteristics, as well as the prevalence of reinstatement without back pay awards.
Keywords: labor, arbitration, discipline, discharge
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