Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hill, Marvin F.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Management


Arbitration; Industrial--United States


The process of industrial relations is constrained by a tremendous number of legalistic mandates. Consequently, it is common in this field for different sets of rights, statutes, and forums to become enmeshed with one another. In this regard, the overlapping jurisdictions of the arbitral forum and the National Labor Relations Board has created a great deal of confusion for almost four decades. Traditionally, arbitration is that process used to interpret and apply collective bargaining agreements made between employers and employee representatives. On the other hand, the National Labor Relations Board is a governmental agency entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing public rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Frequently, actions on the part of employers or unions may not only violate the collective bargaining agreement, but they may also be in conflict with American labor laws. The National Labor Relations Board sought to accommodate these different adjudicatory schemes, one private and one public, through a system of arbitration deferral. Under the Spielberg doctrine, the Board can withhold its processes and allow a prior arbitration award to stand as final and binding upon the parties — provided the award is dispositive of the statutory issue. With the advent of the Collyer doctrine, the Board may postpone a consideration of an unfair labor practice charge until the parties to an arbitration agreement have exhausted the arbitral process. In order for deferral to be granted under Spielberg or Collyer, each specific case must satisfy a number of criteria. However, the Board has been unable to agree on a clear definition of two criteria under Spielberg. Consequently, litigants and the courts alike have been left in a state of confusion. Compounding the semantic problems of deferral, the declining number of Collyer deferrals has virtually amounted to the abolishment of the Collyer doctrine. The history of these two doctrines were reviewed by surveying law review articles, Board decisions, and court decisions. Examples of the applicability of each criterion under the two doctrines was provided by analyzing current Board decisions. This thesis concludes that the Board must revise its criteria under Spielberg and also increase the number of Collyer deferrals.


Includes bibliographical references.


70 pages




Northern Illinois University

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