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Arbitration FAQs

If you're considering using FMCS for arbitration, here's some answers to your questions.
 
 
Q - What should a party do if they believe an arbitrator has violated FMCS Policies or The Code?

Q - How do I request a panel of arbitrators from FMCS?

Q - Is there a charge for FMCS services?

Q - From where will the arbitrators for a panel be selected?

Q - What happens after we receive a panel of seven arbitrators?

Q - What if I have any questions regarding a case?

Q - What are the requirements for admission to the FMCS Roster of Arbitrators?

Q - May the parties jointly request FMCS to appoint an arbitrator without receiving a panel?

Q - What are the sources to learn about an arbitratorís rulings?

Q - What responsibilities do arbitrators have once selected from an FMCS panel?

Q - Why should the parties notify FMCS of an appointment of an arbitrator if the agency issued the panel?

Q - Why should an arbitrator notify FMCS of an appointment?

Q - Should the parties notify FMCS if an award is late? If so, what will FMCS do?

Q - Can parties withhold payment to an arbitrator if a decision is appealed?

Q - What can the parties do if an arbitrator has an overdue award?

Q - What should a party do if they believe an arbitrator has violated FMCS Policies or The Code?

A - FMCS strongly encourages a party or parties to an FMCS case to notify the agency if they believe an arbitrator has violated either the FMCS Arbitration Policies and Procedures or The Code of Professional Responsibility for Arbitrators of Labor-Management Disputes. All complaints are reviewed and may be referred to the Arbitrator Review Board.

Q - How do I request a panel of arbitrators from FMCS?

A - There are three methods by which you may request a panel of arbitrators:
  1. Submit a Form R-43 (Request for a Panel) to FMCS, Office of Arbitration Services, 2100 K Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20427.
  2. Fax the R-43 Form to (202) 606-3749. You use any of the following credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, or Discover. TO AVOID DUPLICATE CREDIT CARD CHARGES, DO NOT MAIL AND FAX YOUR REQUEST.
  3. Go to “On-line Panel Requests” to request a panel electronically. Panel requests may be sent via e-mail, fax or First-Class mail. You must use a MasterCard, VISA, American Express, or Discover to request a panel via the Internet.  You may also use an electronic check by providing specific banking information.


Q - Is there a charge for FMCS services?

A - Effective April 7, 2003, the new fee will be $50 for each panel of arbitrators provided. The increase will apply only to arbitration panel request forms received by mail or fax. Requests submitted through the agency website will be fulfilled for $30.

The fee for supplying arbitrator biographies will rise to $25, plus 25 cents per page, and the fee for making a direct appointment, if a specific arbitrator is requested by both parties, remains at $20.



Q - From where will the arbitrators for a panel be selected?

A - FMCS has three location designations from which parties may select arbitrators:
  1. Metropolitan (within 125-mile radius of the site of the dispute);
  2. Sub-Regional; and
  3. Regional.

For more specific information on Sub-Regional and Regional selections, see State Coding for Arbitrator Selections. If the party or parties requesting the panel do not specify, our computers will conduct a random selection of seven arbitrators from the REGION in which the site of the dispute is located.



Q - What happens after we receive a panel of seven arbitrators?

A - Both parties must inform FMCS of their mutual selection or of their preferred choices (“Priority Ranking”) so that we may determine the most acceptable arbitrator. We will then appoint the arbitrator and instruct him/her to contact the parties and arrange for a hearing date. (FMCS Rules require that arbitrators contact the parties within 14 days of their appointment to schedule a hearing.) The parties are also informed if FMCS uses the “Priority Ranking” method. The arbitrator works directly with the parties to schedule a hearing date.

Q - What if I have any questions regarding a case?

A - The Case Administrator who is identified on the panel sent to the parties is the person to contact regarding any questions concerning your arbitration panel.

Q - What are the requirements for admission to the FMCS Roster of Arbitrators?

A - To be admitted to the Roster, you must be experienced, competent, and acceptable in decision-making roles in the resolution of labor disputes. The Arbitrator Review Board has recommended that applicants have at least seven years of relevant experience in labor relations. Applicants must submit the Arbitrator’s Personal Data Questionnaire (FMCS Form R-22), five labor arbitration awards, five references, and a comprehensive biographical sketch describing your collective bargaining experience. In lieu of the five awards, qualified applicants could successfully complete the FMCS Labor Arbitrator Training Course, sponsored by the FMCS Institute, within five years immediately preceding the date of application, and submit two arbitration awards as described above. This 40-hour course is geared toward labor management practitioners with substantial experience in industrial, labor and employment relations who wish to become labor arbitrators.

Q - May the parties jointly request FMCS to appoint an arbitrator without receiving a panel?

A - Yes, this is called a direct appointment. FMCS will make a direct appointment only upon a joint request. The charge for this service is $20.

Q - What are the sources to learn about an arbitratorís rulings?

A - There are three sources of which we are aware:
  1. Labor Arbitration Information System, Axon Group/LRP Publications, P.O. Box 980, Horsham, PA 19044, (800) 341-7874 ext. 274
  2. CCH, Inc., 2700 Lake Cook Road, Riverwoods, IL 60015, Attn: Jackie Salman
  3. Commerce Clearing House, 10100 Martin Luther King, St. Petersburg, FL 33716, (813) 576-3189 ext. 779.


Q - What responsibilities do arbitrators have once selected from an FMCS panel?

A - FMCS rules require an arbitrator to contact the parties within 14 days of the appointment to schedule a hearing. Arbitrator decisions are to be made no later than 60 days from the date of the closing of the record, as determined by the arbitrator, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties or specified by the collective bargaining agreement or law. Also, arbitrators must notify the parties of any delay in rendering the decision and request an extension.

Q - Why should the parties notify FMCS of an appointment of an arbitrator if the agency issued the panel?

A - The parties should notify FMCS of an arbitrator appointment so that the agency can intervene on the party’s behalf should there be delays by the arbitrator in scheduling or rendering a decision or allegations of violations of FMCS Arbitration Policies and Procedures and The Code of Professional Responsibility for Arbitrators of Labor-Management Disputes. FMCS has no authority to get involved in “private” arbitration matters, even if the arbitrator serves on the FMCS Roster.

Q - Why should an arbitrator notify FMCS of an appointment?

A - It is to the arbitrator’s advantage to write to FMCS if parties contact them directly regarding an appointment to an FMCS case. Notifying FMCS of the appointment ensures that the arbitrator is credited properly should the agency be required to remove arbitrators from the Roster who have low acceptability rates with the parties.

Q - Should the parties notify FMCS if an award is late? If so, what will FMCS do?

A - FMCS strongly encourages the parties to notify the agency if an award is overdue. FMCS tracks this information on each arbitrator as reported by the parties. If the Director of OAS believes that an arbitrator is obviously not fulfilling this responsibility, the Director may refer the arbitrator’s name to the Arbitrator Review Board. The Board can recommend removal of an arbitrator from the Roster.

Q - Can parties withhold payment to an arbitrator if a decision is appealed?

A - FMCS does not support parties withholding payments to arbitrators if the case is appealed. If the collective bargaining agreement stipulates, “loser pays all” FMCS’ position is that it is the responsibility of both parties to ensure that the arbitrator is paid once the decision is rendered.

Q - What can the parties do if an arbitrator has an overdue award?

A - FMCS strongly encourages the parties to inform FMCS of arbitrators who have not delivered an award within the timeframe outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. The agency will not disclose to the arbitrator which party lodged the complaint. In cases where FMCS confirms that an arbitrator has two overdue awards, the arbitrator’s name will be not available for selection by the parties until the awards have been rendered.