Steelworkers Trilogy as Rules of Decision Applicable by Analogy to Public Sector Collective Bargaining Agreements: The Tennessee Valley Authority Paradigm
The Supreme Court's 1960 Steelworkers Trilogy assures the primacy of private arbitration for the resolution of private sector labor disputes. In the first case of the Trilogy, United Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Co., the Court held that if the parties agree to arbitration (which they do in 95% of all collective bargaining agreements), even a "frivolous, patently baseless'" claim must be referred to arbitration. Then the Court held in United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co. that arbitration clauses should be construed to require arbitration of all grievances unless an objecting party can present "the most forceful evidence of a purpose to exclude the claim from arbitration." Finally, in United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., the Court drastically limited the scope of judicial review of arbitration awards. The propriety of extending the Steelworkers principles to public sector collective bargaining agreements will be considered in this article.