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American Labor Arbitration - The Early Years

NCJ Number
University of Florida Law Review Volume: 35 Issue: 3 Dated: (Summer 1983) Pages: 373-421
D R Nolan; R I Abrams
Date Published
49 pages
This paper describes the development of labor arbitration in the United States during its formative years prior to World War II.
The analysis focuses on two issues: (1) the degree to which labor arbitration is an autonomous system of self-regulation and (2) the degree to which it was fully developed and accepted before World War II. The analysis covers arbitration's antecedents in the colonial period, its initial statutory recognition at the beginning of the 19th century, further experiments with arbitration during the 19th century, and State laws providing for arbitration boards. The early acceptance of arbitration in industries particularly vulnerable to losses from strikes is detailed, with emphasis on developments in the railroad, coal, newspaper, and clothing industries. Federal legislation passed between 1888 and 1934 is also discussed. The growing acceptance of arbitration prior to World War I, the three types of Government efforts to minimize disruption of the war effort by labor disputes, and the emergence of labor arbitration in nearly its modern form in the years between World War I and World War II are detailed. The analysis concludes that labor arbitration grew from outside legal and political forces rather than autnonomously and that, contrary to the common view, American labor arbitration was virtually full developed by 1941. 256 footnotes.


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