Queen's University IRC

Grievance Mediation: The Impact of the Process and Outcomes on the Interests of the Parties

Mitchell S. Birken

January 1, 2000

The revival of grievance mediation can be traced to an experiment in mediating workplace disputes in the coal industry of the United States in 1980, which resulted in a very high success rate of 80 to 90 percent. The decades that followed, researchers comparing the effectiveness of grievance mediation and arbitration concluded that grievance mediation is a faster process with lower costs that can produce a ‘win-win’ outcome and a positive long-term impact on the relationship between the parties. However, except in a very general way, the research has tended not to explore the long-term impact of the process and the outcomes of mediation.

Using a hypothetical case of a discharge grievance, this study attempts to fill that gap by taking the grievance through both mediation and arbitration, and contrasting the impact of the two mechanisms on the interests of the parties.




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