Employers can require their workers to sign arbitration agreements waiving all rights to class-action lawsuits over workplace grievances, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a National Labor Relations Board decision last year that found such agreements conflicted with federal law giving workers the right to pursue collective action to complain about workplace conditions. The court's ruling is a win for businesses that want to limit legal exposure from the rising cost of class-action lawsuits over unpaid overtime and other wage violations. But it's a blow to workers who find it easier to band together when challenging the policies at a large company. read
A long-running battle over whether the top U.S. securities regulator should release records about its supervision of Wall Street's arbitration process is about to go another round, this time with input from a vocal consumer advocate. For nearly four years, a group of lawyers has been pushing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to release documents about its oversight over how the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority selects arbitrators who hear legal disputes between brokerages and investors. FINRA, the Wall Street industry-funded watchdog, runs the arbitration forum where investors and brokerages must resolve their legal disputes. The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), a lawyers' group pushing for the release, has now enlisted lawyers of its own. The litigation arm of Public Citizen, a consumer rights group in Washington, filed a brief on PIABA's behalf in a federal appeals court last week to overturn a U.S. district court's earlier decision to keep the records a secret. read
Steinbrenner High School seniors Katya Brioni and Erica Maurino are part of a group of students trying to make a difference. According to them, they have no choice but to deal with uncomfortable realities of life, and sometimes get in the faces fellow students – but it’s all worth it. They are part of the Steinbrenner Peacemakers, a peer mediation group that deals with almost every issue that makes their fellow students uncomfortable, especially when it comes to bullying. read
Afghan police have recorded more reports of violence against women under a recently enacted law, but prosecutions remain low, a U.N. report says. "The landmark law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was a huge achievement for all Afghans," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a release. "But implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices." read
In the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediators, among other things, help people in dispute come to a mutually acceptable resolution about issues they do not agree on. Each party typically holds a disparate perspective from the other on what constitutes an appropriate settlement. By the time they get to talk it out in the mediation process to see if they can resolve matters, they have often become entrenched in their positions and the relationship is suffering. read
Professor S.I. Strong, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law (and a friend of this blog) has published “Beyond International Commercial Arbitration? the Promise of International Commercial Mediation,” 42 Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, 2014, Forthcoming; University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-21. In her article, Professor Strong examines the role of mediation in international business disputes. read
There comes a time in many class actions when the parties agree to mediate. Like class litigation, the mediation of class actions, whether pre-certification or post-certification, is more complicated than the mediation of individual cases. Here are a few tips for making the most of the experience. read
To the two pessimistic sides in ongoing peace talks, John Kerry quoted Nelson Mandela, who said of challenges: "It always seems impossible until it is done." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry closed another Middle East troubleshooting mission on Friday by urging Israel and the Palestinians to follow Nelson Mandela's lead and make peace. The death on Thursday of Mandela, who fought apartheid in South Africa and became its first black president, was mourned across the globe, including by Israelis and Palestinians — the latter calling him an inspiration for their statehood struggle. Kerry wants to coax the two sides towards a negotiated accord, and set a nine-month deadline when talks were launched in July. But both sides have indicated they are pessimistic about the outcome. Before departing from Tel Aviv after a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Kerry quoted Mandela as having said, in the face of challenges, that "it always seems impossible until it is done." read
Arbitrators in disputes between investors and brokers will get more pay for their work, the brokerage industry's self-regulator decided Thursday, people familiar with the matter said. Lawyers and arbitrators hope the pay rise, the first in 14 years, will attract more--and more skilled--arbitrators. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc., which oversees the arbitration process, approved an increase in compensation for hearing arbitrators. Finra's board agreed to raise pay by 50%, to $300 for half-day dispute hearings and $600 for full-day sessions, according to people familiar with the matter. The chairperson of an arbitration panel is to receive an extra $125, an increase of 67%, these people said. The pay increases are "long overdue," Philip Aidikoff of Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari, a Beverly Hills, Calif., law firm that represents mainly investors who seek compensation from brokers for investment losses. "It's an acknowledgment that the arbitrators, for the most part, do a very good job and take it very seriously." read
TRI-CITIES MICHIGAN — As much as people hope to avoid it, conflict exists in life. Whether it's the board room, the bedroom, the classroom or at City Hall, conflict crops up with the potential to destroy. There's also the potential for growth, and for understanding. That's the goal of The Resolution Center, a conflict resolution clearinghouse which now serves the Thumb. TRC is one of 18 community mediation centers located throughout the state, and has been in existence since 1993. The non-profit center is funded by a state grant from the Michigan Supreme Court, civil matter filing fees and a variety of foundations and fundraisers. TRC's expanded coverage area includes Macomb, St. Clair, Lapeer, Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola counties. TRC provides non-adversarial mediation to businesses, individuals, neighbors, families and more. Persons can choose the process on their own; some may be referred by or ordered through the court system. read
Washington Shutdown and Divorce Mediation (10/04/13) Jeff Murphy Most of us who are trained mediators learned the process of “Principled Negotiation”. It’s the theory behind Roger Fisher and William Ury’s Great work -”Getting To Yes”. It teaches how to negotiate without compromising principles but by examining each parties’ positions and exploring the underlying needs and interests to create options that can help reach fair and equitable solutions and settlements. 1 Comment
Bi-partisanship and Negotiation (8/27/12) Joe Markowitz Is a willingness to negotiate a sign of weakness? That seems to be the thrust of the critique of Thomas Frank, the latest prominent leftist critic of the Obama administration. Frank charges that Obama gave away too much to the right, because he stressed the importance of bi-partisanship, when he should have been fighting harder on substantive issues, such as punishing Wall Street bankers, or achieving more economic stimulus.
How to Win (7/17/12) Joe Markowitz A piece in the New York Times last week called How Liberals Win, reminds us of the deals that FDR and LBJ made with corporate power in order to enact their signature reforms. What President Obama did to pass health care reform followed that tradition. But when the Obama administration made a deal with pharmaceutical companies to obtain their support for health insurance reform, many of his supporters viewed that agreement as a sell-out.
The Rise of Civil Society (3/26/12) Anna Spain With the Kyoto Protocol expiring at the end of this year, international lawmakers have been gathering to find a productive process for resolving environmental conflict. Their conversations are an example of where international conflict resolution is headed and who the key players will be.
Bi-Partisanship (1/30/12) Joe Markowitz Ryan Lizza's article, "The Obama Memos," in this week's New Yorker, contains some inside information explaining how candidate Obama's promises to usher in a new style of politics, ran into the realities of a Congress that is more partisan than ever before. Commentators like Paul Krugman have jumped on the bandwagon, chiding President Obama for being so naive in thinking he could "transcend partisanship."
Mediator in Chief (7/11/11) Joe Markowitz In the budget negotiations going on in Congress, once again we see the president assuming the role of mediator.
A Graceful Exit (2/07/11) Diane Cohen As anyone who has observed history over the last century can attest, the handling of the situation in Egypt can yield results that range from the dire to the glorious. Obama’s conflict resolution skills may play a role in determining which way things will go.
President Obama’s Speech Offers Conflict Resolution Wisdom (1/17/11) Lorraine Segal President Obama gave an eloquent and inspiring speech last Wednesday January 12th at the Tucson Memorial for those killed in the massacre. Particularly impressive to to me were statements he made that captured the essence of conflict resolution principles and compassionate communication.
Do You Really Want To Be A "Tough" Negotiator? (1/10/11) Larry Susskind There it is again. In the New York Times today, William Daley, President Obama's new Chief of Staff, is described on the front page as "A Tough, Decisive Negotiator." If you read the article, they call him a "skilled negotiator" who is "blunt yet charming." Former Vice President Walter Mondale, says that Daley is "tough, but not a bully." Does tough really equal effective? No, I don't think so.
Obama As “Negotiator In Chief”: A Help Or Hindrance For Professional Conflict Managers? (1/03/11) Robert Benjamin As President Obama negotiates his way through the myriad of difficult and complex issues, the public is observing his approach. Whether they see negotiation as the “cursed” process of the appeaser or sellout, as they have historically, or as an effective mode of conflict management that disposes people to negotiate or mediate difficulties in their own personal and business affairs, depends in large part on his example. This is a quick and dirty “arm chair” quarterbacking of his strategy---
or lack thereof. 3 Comments
Negotiation Lessons From The President (12/13/10) Joe Markowitz The media seems preoccupied with trying to figure out which party gains politically and which party loses; who wins and who caves. Partisans on both the right and left seem anguished by how much each side had to "give up" to make a settlement. Watching the president explain the rationale for making a deal, I am struck by how hard he has to work to persuade these partisans of the necessity and justifications for the deal. It is remarkable how similar the president's rationales sound to the explanations lawyers and mediators have to provide for parties to a litigation, to justify the benefits of a settlement over the uncertainties of litigation.
Mediator Needed To Change Ground Zero Mosque Dialogue (8/30/10) Lee Jay Berman What this issue needs is a real dialogue, facilitated (mediated) by a professional who is expert at managing the emotions, the values and the discussion between representatives of the two groups. Give me Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and some of his leaders, along with some of the most vocal opponents, preferably from families of those who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and I will guarantee you a dialogue where each walks away having heard the other and having had their eyes opened to things that they had not realized before this discussion. Televise it, put it on the internet, and broadcast it over the radio, and we will educate hundreds of thousands with one discussion.
A Strange Aversion To Confrontational Politics (8/16/10) Colin Rule John Judis in The New Republic: "Why has the White House failed to convince the public that it is fighting effectively on its behalf? The principal culprit is clearly Barack Obama. He has a strange aversion to confrontational politics...
Can Government Solve Big Problems Collaboratively? (7/12/10) John Folk-Williams The Open Government Initiative of the Obama Administration has given high priority to increasing the use of collaboration in the federal government. Yet many federal offices have not in the past encouraged the sort of collaborative mindset that is necessary for meaningful efforts in this direction.
Obama Meets The House Republicans (2/08/10) Colin Rule This video was UTTERLY MEZMERIZING to watch. Really an incredible event in modern American politics - it begins: "Part of the reason I accepted your invitation to come here was because I wanted to speak with all of you, and not just to all of you. So I'm looking forward to taking your questions and having a real conversation in a few moments. And I hope that the conversation we begin here doesn't end here; that we can continue our dialogue in the days ahead . . ."
Don't Blow It (10/19/09) Colin Rule But that’s not just directed at Mr. Obama. It’s directed at all of us. What the president promised was a “global plan,” not an American plan. The same is true on all the other issues that the Nobel committee cited, from nuclear disarmament to climate change — none of these things will yield to unilateral approaches. They’ll take international cooperation and American leadership.
One Word (4/13/09) Phyllis Pollack Last week, there was a pretty important mediation. It involved a lot of parties - 20 to be exact - on a very important issue- the global economy. It took place in London and was co-mediated. The primary mediator - Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain- seemed to be doing a good job - moving all of the parties forward toward a resolution.
Conflict Resolution Governance (3/30/09) Colin Rule The president tends to seek conflict resolution rather than drama. He has been compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt, confronted with an economic crisis.
Letter To President Obama (3/02/09) Kenneth Cloke Thank you. As conflict resolution professionals, practitioners and scholars, we have noticed and profoundly appreciate your efforts to change the process and tone of how differences are managed, both in Washington and around the world. We value your experience, understanding and commitment to conflict resolution, and offer our full support to you and your administration in your efforts to promote peace, collaboration, and consensus in domestic and international relations. 4 Comments
Hillary Clinton: Currency Before Compassion? (2/23/09) Jeff Thompson Is this the same direction that we thought the Obama Administration was going to head in? What happened to Conflict Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation as well as Negotiation? For those who thought the USA planned on pressing China on human rights issues, newly appointed Secretary of State and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, said the following on her first to to Asia including China:
President Barack Obama's Effective Communication (2/16/09) Alan Sharland Well, President Obama is now making his mark on the world by speaking on the various issues that he will have to deal with over the next 4 years of his presidency. Already it is clear that he uses language that promotes effective communication and conflict resolution, and while I'm sure he is not an avid reader of this site and the Principles espoused on it, his means of communicating reflects many of the Principles that this site describes and the practice of mediation it draws its inspiration from. 1 Comment
The Mediator-in-Chief (1/26/09) Colin Rule Well, I suppose no long time reader of this blog would be surprised to hear I'm in a good mood today. This has been a dark period in our nation's history, and I'm filled with optimism today that we'll be able to heal this nation and get back on the right path. Obama's words reaffirm my hope that he would bring an understanding of the importance of resolving conflicts into the Presidency.
Obama And The Politics Of Despair (10/21/08) Victoria Pynchon There's nothing like getting a new Harpers in the mail to upset my idealistic dreams of a new America flourishing under an Obama administration. Ouch! I read this magazine for the same reason I watch Fox News. To upset my own comfortable ideologies. That's the trouble with us liberals -- we're always fretting about being fair, when, according to Harper's Roger Hodge we're just a big bunch of conflict-avoidant pussies.
Barack Obama: mediator to a divided nation (9/02/08) Diane J. Levin In the days after the towers fell on September 11, 2001, Americans everywhere came together to honor the dead and demand justice. The world stood beside us, sharing our shock and grief.
That unity proved short-lived. “You’re either with us or against us” became U.S. foreign policy, alienating long-time allies. Pursuit of war against Iraq tore Americans apart as the U.S. divided into two opposing camps, red state from blue. Earlier this year, conservative pundit Rush...