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Labor organizations and employers have used various dispute resolution techniques to assist them with contract negotiations and contractual grievances. They have used negotiation, mediation, and arbitration since the 1800s. When the ADR movement was developed for conventional legal disputes, many of the techniques adopted were derived from the industrial relations movement. As states enacted public sector bargaining laws granting representational rights to state and local government employees, the parties had to determine how to resolve controversies over the terms to be included in new contracts and over grievances arising under existing accords. Most states refused to allow government personnel to strike, and even states that did permit such work stoppages banned them by essential workers. As public sector disputes began to create problems for bargaining parties, they started to focus on newly recognized ADR techniques, such as mediation and binding arbitration. In the end, many have incorporated the very techniques which private sector labor parties had created decades earlier.

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