The following two recent news articles report on discussions about the merits of interest arbitration in the U.S. and Canada.

Postal workers’ union refuses arbitration with Canada Post reports that the Canadian Union Postal Workers has “politely declined” the suggestion by Mary Ann Mihychuk, Labour Minister, to undergo binding arbitration as a means to avoid a potential work stoppage.

Ocean City Council, Firefighters Union Spar Over Petition describes a dispute between the Career Firefighter Paramedics Association of Ocean City (Maryland), the Mayor, and the City Council over an ongoing petition drive by the union seeking to put a referendum for binding arbitration before the voters.

Both articles deal with the concerns that unions and city governments have with the use of interest arbitration. In 2010, Thomas Kochan (MIT) and his colleagues conducted a comprehensive review of the effects of the use of interest arbitration under NY’s Taylor Law.  (The Long Haul Effects of Interest Arbitration: The Case of New York State’s Taylor Law, Thomas Kochan, David B. Lipsky, Mary Newhart & Alan Benson,  Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Vol. 63, No. 4 (July 2010), pp. 565-584).   Among other findings, the authors conclude that, based upon a national sample of the effects of interest arbitration on wage changes, wage increases differed little in states with arbitration from those without it.