Machinery for the Adjustment of Disputes under New Collective Agreements

David A. McCabe
1938 Law & Contemporary Problems  
The establishment of industrial peace through collective bargaining requires more than the signing of an agreement on terms of employment. The making of a collective agreement does not necessarily settle all the questions that arise between employer and employee during the period for which the agreement is signed. Where the parties have the fullest confidence in each other and a highly developed will to agree, they may settle each question as it arises, through conference, as a matter of
more » ... a matter of course, without any preordained procedure. Experience has shown, however, that it is usually necessary to lay down a procedure in advance for the handling of disputed questions, if resort to coercion by one side or the other, or both, is to be avoided. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that no machinery of adjustment will work well if either of the parties is determined to get its own way even if it has to resort to economic coercion to do so. Indeed, parties with a commendable measure of the will to agree have at times been unable to restrain some of their constituents from attempting to force the acceptance of a particular position rather than follow the agreed-upon procedure for the settlement of disputes. But this is not to say that the type of adjustment machinery has not an important bearing upon the workings of the collective agreement system. One might say that, given the amount of patience and willingness to compromise on the part of the two sides, the degree to which disputes will be settled without interruption of peaceful relations will vary with the adeqftacy of the adjustment machinery, objectively considered. The adequacy of any type of adjustment machinery must be judged in relation to the strain put upon it by the content of the agreement with respect to the terms of employment. The agreement may be comprehensive in scope, or it may leave a number of important questions uncovered. The language of the agreement may be clear and definite or it may be vague or ambiguous. Obviously, if the wage schedules and other clauses of the collective agreement were inclusive enough to cover all questions that will arise, and so clear as to exclude conflicting interpretations, there *A.B., 19o, Harvard; Ph.D.,
doi:10.2307/1189645 fatcat:ma6wbdan6nfnrht5johuwiu6im