Sample Term Paper

In United States Steelworkers v Enterprise Wheel and Car Corp, the dispute that arose was in the context of the collective bargaining agreement and whether it was interpreted correctly. The employees asserted that resort may be had to arbitration according to a provision contained in the terms of the agreement so long as the dispute was in relation to the “meaning and application of the agreement” and “provision for reinstatement with back pay of employees discharged in violation of the agreement” (United States Steel Workers v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 1960).

The employees contended that they had been discharged in the aforementioned violation and resorted to the arbitrator for relief after the agreement had expired, who ruled in their favor awarding them with back pay and reinstatement, which the respondent refused to comply with. The claimant got a favorable response from the District Court who ordered the respondent to comply with the award. The respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal which ruled in their favor suggesting that the award failed due to two reasons, first being the uncertainty of the sum of the award, second being that the agreement had expired rendering the award unenforceable and third that the award of reinstatement could not be complied with since it was adjudicated after the agreement expired. The case reached the Supreme Court which ruled in favor of the arbitration award, calling it enforceable and preferable especially with respect to collective bargaining agreements in the following words, “An arbitrator is confined to interpretation and application of the collective bargaining agreement; he does not sit to dispense his own brand of industrial justice. He may of course look for guidance from many sources, yet his award is legitimate only so long as it draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement. When the arbitrator’s words manifest an infidelity to this obligation, courts have no choice but to refuse enforcement of the award,” (United States Steel Workers v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 1960).

By stipulating that, the Supreme Court effectively put the arbitrator in charge of adjudicating upon collective bargaining agreements and affirmed the enforceability of the arbitrator’s award, so long as he does not exceed the limits of his powers. This judgment conferred powers on the arbitrator only to interpret and apply the terms of the CBA and not to award judgments outside the agreement. Hence, the Supreme Court held that a) the District Court’s judgment would be affirmed with a modification which stipulates the definite amount of the award for the claimant to be determined by arbitration. The Court also emphasized that b) the Federal Courts should decline to review the merits of arbitration awards, citing Steelworks v Warrior and Gulf Co, c) the question of enforcing an award when it is doubtful whether the agreement expired at the time the arbitrator ruled on it should not inhibit the enforcement of the award, even if the doubt permits the inference that the arbitrator may be acting outside his authority d) collective bargaining agreements are to be interpreted by the arbitrator without any need for a referral to the court, and e) The Court of Appeal’s decision in regards to the employees being disentitled to the back pay along with not being entitled to a reinstatement, since that award was delivered after the expiry of the collective bargaining agreement, was flawed, thereby affirming the authority of the arbitrator as an enforceable one.

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