From the Director

The last several months have been a waiting game for those who follow labor and employment relations.  Now, however, things are heating up.  The President has named two new nominees for the NLRB and CIHLER is pleased that one of the nominees, Bill Emanuel, is a partner at Littler, Mendelson, a firm that is not only a member of CIHLER, but is home to three of our most active participants: Zev Eigen, Barry Hartstein, and Celeste Yeager. In addition, the President has named a new Chair of the EEOC. 

A new EEOC chair is interesting as CIHLER is currently engaged in a major project with regard to comparing the EEOC/Litigation process to Arbitration.  Along, with colleagues, Sam Estreicher from NYU Law School and Michael Heise from Cornell Law School, we are analyzing the results of all cases where the employee either filed for arbitration or received a right to sue letter. Thus, instead of comparing the fewer than 2% of cases that actually go to verdict and the fewer than 15% of AAA cases that go to award, we seek to compare the 98%/85% of cases that are resolved in another way. This is a project that will take a massive amount of time, but should be the definitive study on this issue.

In addition, Harry Katz (ILR), Steward Schwab (Cornell Law School), and I are advocating a proposal where administrative agencies will defer cases to employer promulgated arbitration polices that meet a Cornell standard of fairness. The basis for this proposal can be found in our most recent article: Deferring For Justice: How Administrative Agencies Can Solve the Employment Dispute Quagmire By Endorsing AN Improved Arbitration System 26 Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy #2 pages 217-273.  Under our proposal, administrative agencies would defer to arbitration only if: (1) the policy satisfied a defined fairness standard; and (2) the Agency did not want to pursue the case on its own. Employees would therefore be guaranteed a fair system, Agencies could be assured that if a case needed to be in the public domain the Agency could have the opportunity to bring the case itself, and employers would no longer have to undergo the time, expense, and uncertainty of motions to compel.  We believe that CIHLER, can, by working with government, employers, and unions create a system that truly benefits all stakeholders.  In the coming months we will update you as to our progress and we look forward to any and all comments and help from our members.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, I am thrilled to announce that after 4 years CIHLER will move from being an Institute to a Center with the ILR School as a full partner. Of course, from the beginning ILR has been an active participant in CIHLER, former dean Harry Katz was a major force in developing the Institute and, current dean, Kevin Hallock, has continued that momentum. In addition, ILR faculty Rick Hurd and Rachel Aleks have been intimately involved. Finally, ILR alumni are a major part of CIHLER: (Gregg Gilman, Barry Hartstein, Ken Kahn, Michael Lebowich, Harold Morgan, Carolyn Richmond, David Ritter, Ruth Seroussi).

In the next few months we will be working on transitioning (a name change is likely as we are now a Center not an Institute). In the meantime, I want to thank all of our members, deans Kevin Hallock and Kate Walsh (SHA) as well as Harry and of course, out benefactors: John Ceriale and Ken Kahn for making this idea a reality.