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 stakeholders—union officials, employers, human resources executives, attorneys—with an orderly, efficient, flexible, and constructive path to dispute resolution.

To learn more about AAA Labor cases, please view the AAA 2019 Labor Arbitration Statistics Infographic

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 and Hold Fee Schedule

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.

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.

Pension / ERISA

Arbitration can be a viable dispute resolution technique in a wide variety of pension and welfare disputes. They range from disagreements over what the terms of a pension plan should be to disputes arising under plans administered by joint labor-management boards and disputes involving a plan sponsor of a multi-employer plan.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 is a federal law that applies to many private employers. ERISA establishes minimum standards for retirement (pension plans), health, and other welfare benefit plans. These minimum standards have been established to protect the employee, the employer and the plan sponsors.

There are three sets of rules that govern the administration of these disputes including:

Multi-Employer Pension Plan Arbitration Rules for Withdrawal Liability Disputes

Section 4221 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), supported by Section 104(2) of the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA) provides that “any dispute between an employer and a plan sponsor of a multi-employer plan concerning a determination made under Section 4201 through 4219 shall be resolved through arbitration…….conducted in accordance with fair and equitable procedures to be promulgated by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).”

Effective January 1, 2020, the MEPPA Rules were revised. Click here for the Summary of Changes for the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Arbitration Rules for Withdrawal Liability Disputes.

Impartial Umpire Rules for Arbitration Impasses Between Trustees of Joint Employee Benefit Trust Funds

Section 302 (c ) (5) (B) of the Labor-Management-Relations Act of 1947 (29 U.S.C Section 186 (c ) (5) (B) authorized jointly managed pension funds to be established and maintained subject to certain requirements.  “In the event the employer and employee groups deadlock on the administration of the fund and there are no neutral persons empowered to break such deadlock (the written agreement with the employer) provides that the two groups shall agree on an impartial umpire to decide such dispute, or in the event of their failure to agree within a reasonable length of time, an impartial umpire to decide such dispute shall, on petition of either group, be appointed by the district court…”.

Employee Benefit Plan Claims Arbitration Rules

Jointly administered multi-employer labor-management employee-benefit trust funds grew from the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and exists to provide employees and their families and dependents with pensions upon retirement.  They are administered by boards of trustees on which labor and management are equally represented.  The boards receive contributions and distribute funds to employees in the form of benefits, in accordance with provisions of collective bargaining and trust agreements and the law.

Election Services

Experienced AAA® election experts provide impartial, accurate, cost-effective, and timely election administration to public and private organizations, from ballot preparation to tabulation and results certification (which is produced within 24 hours). The AAA oversees approximately 250 elections per year.

For more information, please contact one of the individuals below or click here to send an email:

  • Scott Boswell (Director of Elections, New York, NY): 212-484-4136.
  • Ken Egger (National Vice President of Elections, Philadelphia, PA): 215-731-2281

Wide Range of Election Programs

Clients include labor unions, guilds, corporations, not-for-profit entities, credit unions, co-operative and condominium associations, universities and educational organizations, and federal, state, and local governments.

Programs include:

  • Officer elections
  • Contract ratifications
  • Representation elections
  • Dues referenda
  • Bylaw amendments
  • Affiliations
  • Mergers
  • Employee card checks
  • Proxy elections
  • Delegate elections
  • International elections

Voting Processes for All Needs

  • Mail Ballot Voting 
  • Image Scanning
  • On-Site, Touch-Screen Voting
  • Telephone and Internet Voting

For additional information, click here

Additional Non-Binding Labor Processes
  • 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.
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.  

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.
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.