Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has left its early stages and is now coming into full maturity in the U.S. courts and, more recently, outside of them. In 2004, Marc Galanter’s groundbreaking research noted that trials were vanishing rapidly from the US court system: 11.5% of filed federal cases ended in trial in 1962, but fell to 1.8 percent in 2002, due mostly to ADR and negotiated settlements
Mediators tend to believe practically every conflict can be resolved through negotiation, and that settlement is almost always better than the alternatives of continued conflict or an adversarial form of conflict resolution like trial. Mediators like to quote Abraham Lincoln’s admonition to discourage litigation and persuade neighbors to compromise, because lawyers do the most good as peacemakers.
Labor unions overwhelmingly opposed this measure which basically allows elected officials to have the final say on an arbitrator’s award. While Arbitration is clearly being undermined, critics of the new measure must ask if arbitration is the ideal forum to resolve labor disputes in these economic times.