How much does arbitration cost? And, Who pays for it?

The total cost of an arbitration to the employer and union concerned can vary widely, depending upon several factors. Nevertheless, the arbitration process can be far less expensive and far speedier than taking a case to court.

Arbitrators charge a daily rate for their services. Their rates are available from referral agencies or their web sites (if they have one). Arbitrator fees normally range from about $1000 per day (per diem) to $2000 per day, usually depending upon the arbitrator’s experience and the geographic area in which he or she practices. In addition, arbitrators will charge the parties for time in travel (usually pro-rated) and/or time in executive session (pre- or post-hearing discussions with both parties, often via telephone). The parties will also be charged for the arbitrator’s necessary expenses – such as travel and meals – incurred in connection with holding the hearing.

Figures on the average cost of an arbitration are generally available from either American Arbitration Associate or the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and may also be found from other sources. In most cases, the parties to an arbitration divide the cost of the arbitrator’s fees and expenses evenly – that is, each pays half. In very rare cases, the collective bargaining agreement between the parties may specify a different distribution of the cost, including such provisions as “loser pays the cost of the arbitrator.” A typical arbitration provision, however, will  specify that each party pays the costs of its representative (lawyer or non-lawyer) and those associated with providing its own witnesses, with the parties splitting the cost of the arbitrator’s fees and expenses.