Virtually all of the thousands of collective bargaining agreements--negotiations between an employer and labor unions, usually on wages, hours, and working conditions—entered into annually provide for the arbitration of unresolved grievances.

The AAA provides all stakeholdersunion officials, employers, human resources executives, attorneyswith an orderly, efficient, flexible, and constructive path to dispute resolution.

Labor Grievance

Parties who use the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to resolve labor disputes have options, either to proceed with the standard AAA arbitration that uses the
AAA Labor Arbitration Rules or to utilize streamlined, less expensive procedures, as follows:

Expedited Procedures of the Labor Arbitration Rules intended to resolve cases within a month of arbitrator appointment

AAA Labor Rapid Resolve Procedures

AAA Emergency Scheduling Procedures for Labor Disputes

Labor Documents Only Procedures

AAA Labor File & Hold Procedures

Union Fees

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that labor unions charging union fees to non-member employees must provide an explanation of the basis for the fees and an opportunity to challenge the fee amount. The AAA developed the Rules for Impartial Determination of Union Fees to assist parties at addressing and resolving such challenges.  

Rotating Panel

Parties to a collective bargaining agreement may mutually appoint a panel of arbitrators, from which they will select an arbitrator on a rotating basis according to the subject-matter expertise required for the case. Utilizing a rotating panel is a less expensive and more time-efficient option for certain caseloads or specific client needs. With a rotating panel, the panel size, all arbitrator costs (per diem, cancellation fee, and study time), and selection process can be negotiated, agreed to by the parties, and implemented by the AAA. At the request of the parties, the AAA also can review the panel and process, including fees, on an ongoing basis.

Additional Binding Labor Processes

High/Low Arbitration

Prior to the hearing, the parties agree that, no matter what the arbitrator decides, the amount to be paid by one party to the other will be no more than an agreed maximum amount and no less than an agreed minimum.

Last Best Offer or Baseball Arbitration

The arbitrator may select only the last offer of either party and may not split it in any way.

State-Specific Programs
  • California: The AAA provides hearing officers for various services by county, including but not limited to: hearing disciplinary appeal and grievances of regular and permanent public employees, conducting evidentiary hearings, providing findings of fact, and issuing recommendations in regards to specified procedures.
  • Texas: As per section 143.057 of the Texas Local Government Code (Municipal Service), the AAA provides a list of hearing examiners to firefighters or police officers electing to appeal to an independent third-party hearing examiner instead of their city’s commission.
  • Pennsylvania: Under Act 111 – the AAA provides a list and appointing panel to firefighters and police officers filing an appeal to a panel of three arbitrators when an impasse occurs in their contract. Under Act 88 (Voluntary Best Offer) – the AAA provides a list of qualified arbitrators to teachers filing for arbitration prior to a strike.
Additional Non-Binding Labor Services
  • Fact-Finding—investigation of a question or issue by an independent third party to ensure that both parties are using the same data, usually accompanied by a non-binding decision
  • Facilitation—a negotiating process used to help parties reach consensus on complex issues
  • Conciliation—use of an impartial third party to assist parties in addressing differences and return them to business, often interchanged with mediation
  • Ombudsman—a confidential third party who receives, investigates, and proposes settlement of grievances brought by employees, clients, or constituents, most likely within the corporate or university setting.
Labor Grievance Mediation

AAA Grievance Mediation Services are provided to parties to collective bargaining agreements who decide to use mediation (a non-binding process) on an informal basis for selected grievances or who agree to include mediation in their collective bargaining agreement as a step prior to arbitration.