Arbitrator as Consensus Builder: Opportunities and Challenges in the Changing Labor Relations Environment [Article]

At the National Academy of Arbitrators’ (NAA’s) 2011 Fall Education Conference in Miami, Florida, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) offered a one-day pre-conference training for NAA members interested in qualifying for an education reform panel that the FMCS created as a result of the agency’s experience in a Central Falls, Rhode Island, school district dispute. That dispute arose when the superintendent of schools, in February 2010, notified all Central Falls teachers that they would be dismissed a the end of the school year. Over the course of 60 days, FMCS Director George Cohen and one of the agency’s senior managers, Jack Buettner, worked wiht the parties to find a mutually satisfactory solution. In a paper that he subsequently presented at a conference in New York, Cohen opined that the importance of the agreement that the Central Falls parties ultimately reached was that it “set the predicate for the dawning of a new era at the school district by upgrading student achievement and teacher development within a framework of labor-management cooperation.”

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Citation: Peace, Nancy (2009). “Invited Paper: Arbitrator as Consensus Builder: Opportunities and Challenges in the Changing Labor Relations Environment.” Arbitration 2012, Outside In: How the External Environment is Shaping Arbitration. Arlington, VA.

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