I am pleased to report that I was inducted into the National Academy of Arbitrators on May 26, 2018. The ceremony took place at the Academy's annual meeting, held this year north of the border in Vancouver, British Columbia. My five fellow inductees were from Ontario, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas. The NAA includes about five hundred active labor-management arbitrators from the US and Canada. - Paul
Three of my arbitration awards have been published by BNA / Bloomberg. They appear in the March 28, April 4 and April 18, 2018 issues of the Labor Relations Reporter. This is the first time I have submitted decisions to BNA for publication consideration. I was impressed by how the editors summarized the decisions and provided cross-reference topics for readers. The citations are 138 LA 386, 138 LA 424, and 138 LA 510. - Paul
I am speaking on a panel about grievance arbitration at the upcoming CalPELRA conference in Monterey. The other panel members are arbitrator Carol Vendrillo and attorney Tim Yeung from Renne, Sloan, Holtzman & Sakai. The panel topic is arbitration of disciplinary grievances. If you are planning to attend the conference, I hope to see you at the session: Thursday December 7 at 3:30 PM. - Paul
I will be raising my rates for all services, beginning with selections made after January 1, 2018. The reason for this is twofold. One, I have not raised my rates since I opened my arbitration practice in 2012. Two, I have been notified that I will be accepted into the National Academy of Arbitrators. I bring to the table more experience as an arbitrator than I did when I first launched my practice.
Up until this point, I have not charged for travel time. However, as my practice has expanded beyond the greater San Francisco Bay Area, I have become aware that I need to add a travel time charge, as most arbitrators do, for hearings that are farther afield. My travel time charges will be the equivalent of half my hearing per diem.
One aspect of my rate structure I have carried over is my commitment to provide financial incentives for parties to settle their disputes prior to hearing. As such, my cancellation fee will remain at half the cost of going forward with the hearing.
I am well aware of the limited resources that employers and unions have available for labor arbitration and mediation. My goal over the years has been to make my services affordable. On the other hand, I also believe that arbitration and mediation are vital components of a robust and dynamic labor-management relationship. As such, time and money spent on retaining neutral arbitrators and mediators can add tremendous value. My rate structure attempts to balance those factors.
If you have any questions about my new rates, feel free to ask. - Paul
I recently submitted my application to become a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA). The NAA is the leading organization of labor-management arbitrators in North America. I was pleased to learn that the NAA's Board of Governors approved the recommendation of the Membership Committee to accept my application. My status as a member of the NAA will not become official until I attend a new member orientation at the next annual meeting, in May 2018. To see the criteria for NAA membership, click on this link. - Paul
I recently received permission from the Oakland Unified School District and the Oakland Education Association, the representative of the certificated staff, to publish a grievance arbitration award. The case concerned the interpretation of a complex salary formula negotiated by the parties in their collective bargaining agreement. To read the award, click here. - Paul
I have recently obtained permission of the parties to publish a case involving lead nurses at a private hospital. The case had many complex elements, including an NLRB charge, a prior related arbitration decision, and bargaining history. To read the award, with employee names redacted, click here. - Paul
I recently served as the neutral chairperson for a factfinding process at the El Dorado Hills Community Services District with the El Dorado County Employees Association. In the report, I sided with the employer's position on two issues and the union's position on one issue. However, the employer panel member concurred with the entire report. The report has now been made public, as per requirements in the Meyers Milias Brown Act, and is linked here. - Paul
I recently added three decisions to my list of published grievance arbitration awards, bringing the total to ten. Each decision is listed with the grievance title and an indication of how the case came out for the parties. I have tried to include a mix of discipline and contract cases with varying outcomes. I routinely ask parties for permission to publish awards. Often, permission is not granted by one party or the other. I never publish without permission of both sides. And when I do publish, I take the extra step of redacting names of grievants and other employees from the award. This provides an additional level of privacy for those involved in arbitration proceedings, often not of their own choosing.
You can view the awards here.
On April 22, 2016, I was on a panel on factfinding in local government at a conference at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. The panel was part of the annual public sector conference of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California. Joining me on the panel were arbitrator Carol Vendrillo, labor-side attorney Rob Szykowny, and management-side attorney Shelline Bennett. The panel moderator was Carol Koenig of Wylie, McBride, Platten & Renner. The panel title is The Evolving Law and Rules of Factfinding Under the MMBA. Here is a copy of the article I submitted for the panel, titled "Why Factfinding Needs Baseball." - Paul
I recently issued a factfinding report on the collective bargaining dispute between the City of Marina and the Marina Public Safety Officers Association. This was the first time in my experience that the parties have dispensed with a tripartite panel in this type of a dispute and designated me as the sole factfinder. The report is linked here. - Paul
I had a once in a lifetime opportunity recently to speak to a class of graduate students in industrial relations and human resources at the University of Cape Coast in Cape Coast, Ghana. Here is a photo of me with the students, taken on March 3, 2016. Professor Nicodemus Osei-Uwusu is on the far right. - Paul
In October 2015, Arbitrator Catherine Harris and I presented a 90-minute live webinar on "Surviving Your First Labor Arbitration: Tips for the New Advocate." A recording of that webinar is now available for purchase from the American Arbitration Association, at this link. Completion of the webinar can qualify for CLE credits. - Paul
I was selected by the City of Palo Alto and SEIU Local 521 to serve as the the neutral chairperson of their factfinding panel. The report on that matter has now been published. It is available at this link. This was an unusual factfinding, since it concerned a single issue - contracting out - that arose during the term of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. - Paul
I am pleased to report that an article I co-authored with arbitrator Catherine Harris has been published in the American Arbitration Association's flagship publication, the Dispute Resolution Journal. The article, titled "Surviving Your First Labor Arbitration: Tips for the New Advocate", appears in the March 2015 issue. It is linked here. Reprints can be ordered from Juris Publications at http://www.jurispub.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=17741. - Paul
On February 28, 2015, I had the opportunity to teach a two-hour class in Sacramento on mediation and factfinding to school district negotiators from throughout the state of California. The class, sponsored by the School Employers Association of California, was part of their School Management Negotiators Certificate Program. I am available to teach this class or similar classes for union, management, and neutral organizations. In addition to the Powerpoint presentation (click here to see the Powerpoint presentation on Mediation and Factfinding in K-12), I led the class through a hands-on mediation exercise. - Paul
My name will now go out on lists of labor-management neutrals supplied by the National Mediation Board (NMB) and the State of Nevada. The NMB, a federal agency, administers a roster of arbitrators who conduct grievance arbitration in the railway and airline industries. The State of Nevada's Employee-Management Relations Board maintains a roster of mediators for public sector disputes in that state. - Paul
I am now on the City of Los Angeles Employment Relations Board Roster of Arbitrators. This list is utilized when city departments and unions need an arbitrator to conduct a grievance arbitration. - Paul
I was recently selected by the City of Vacaville, California, and Stationary Engineers Local 39 to chair the factfinding panel on their contract negotiations impasse. The dispute was essentially over wages. In this instance, I found myself in the position of being unwilling to recommend either party's proposal, based on my reading of the statutory factors that the panel must consider. We ended up reaching a panel majority by crafting a quite general recommendation. My own personal specific recommendation as the panel neutral is in a footnote. The report has now been published and is available here. - Paul