Expedited Med-Arb – Frequently Asked Questions

What Types of Grievances Are Appropriate for Expedited Med-Arb?

Many employers and unions use expedited med-arb for minor discipline cases ranging from oral or written warnings through suspensions. Others send broader range of cases to expedited med-arb, albeit limited to those cases in which they are more concerned with a prompt and final decision than with the arbitrator’s reasoning or with setting a precedent.

Does the Availability of Expedited Med-Arb Discourage Settlements Earlier in the Grievance Process?

Expedited med-arb should not discourage settlements earlier in the grievance process. It is less expensive than regular arbitration, but it is not free. MREP data show that a similar low-cost procedure – grievance mediation – does not discourage settlements in the grievance process. There is no reason why the results should be different for expedited med-arb than for grievance mediation.

Why Should An Employer and A Union Use Expedited Med-Arb Rather Than Grievance Mediation?

MREP grievance mediation, in which the mediator, in the absence of settlement, provides a prediction of the likely outcome in arbitration, has achieved an 86% settlement rate. Still, some employers and unions want 100% certainty that disputes they send to a procedure other than conventional arbitration will be finally resolved in that procedure. Expedited med-arb provides that certainty.

Should Lawyers Be Used In Expedited Med-Arb?

Some parties may choose to be represented by counsel in expedited med-arb, but doing so is not required.

What is the Role of the Mediation Research & Education Project (MREP) in Expedited Med-Arb?

MREP is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1980 to encourage the resolution of grievances via mediation. MREP has until now focused its attention on mediation without an arbitration component. Based on the success of expedited med-arb at Verizon (New England) and IBEW, MREP is now offering expedited med-arb nation-wide.

Establishment of Expedited Med-Arb

MREP personnel are available to assist employers and unions who are considering establishing an expedited med-arb procedure or who have decided to do so. MREP assistance ranges from answering a few questions to discussing rules and contract provisions and/or providing joint training in expedited med-arb skills.

Mediator/Arbitrator Selection and Training

Mediator/arbitrators trained by MREP are available in all regions of the United States. In addition to their mediation training, MREP professionals are experienced arbitrators, most of whom are members of the National Academy of Arbitrators. Employers and unions can use the services of MREP mediator/arbitrators or can select mediator/arbitrators of their choice.

Expedited Med/Arb Scheduling

MREP operates an expedited med/arb scheduling service, bringing mediator/arbitrators together with employers and unions who have grievances for med/arb. In performing this service, the MREP Administrative Services Office assists the parties and the mediator/arbitrator to find a mutually acceptable date for med/arb. Some employers and unions schedule expedited med/arb on a regular basis throughout the year (the first Monday of every month, for example), guaranteeing prompt resolution of outstanding grievances.

MREP Dispute Resolution and Training Services

MREP, which pioneered the use of grievance mediation in the United States, and is the nation’s leading private sector provider of grievance mediation, now offers a full range of dispute resolution and training services to the labor-management community. In addition to grievance mediation and expedited med-arb, those services include:

  • Joint negotiation training in preparation for collective bargaining.
  • Facilitation and mediation of collective bargaining negotiations.
  • Facilitation of company-union committees and task forces.
  • Designing systems to resolve grievances quickly, inexpensively, and satisfactorily.
  • Diagnosis of relational problems and recommendations for improvement.


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