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In 1886 Massachusetts and New York established state boards of arbitration.
A statute of the United States, enacted in 1888, provided for the settlement of controversies between railroads and their employees through the services of special temporary tribunals known as “boards of arbitration or commission." To form a board of arbitration each party in interest chose a member, and the two members chose a third for chairman ; but when the commission was formed the President of the United States appointed two members to act with the Commissioner of Labor, who was chairman ex officio. Such a commission in 1894, reporting on the Chicago Strike, recommended changes in the law, and suggested to the states the adoption of some system of conciliation and arbitration like that in use in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." In 1898 the law was repealed, its essential provisions were re-enacted and procedure was specified with greater elaboration. The statute of 1898 requires the Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Commissioner of Labor to mediate in one way or another between the parties with a view to inducing them either to terminate their controversy by agreement or to refer it to the board of arbitration. The board of arbitration, as under the former act, is constituted in the usual way; but when five days elapse without choice of a third member, the duty of making such a choice devolves upon the two mediators above mentioned.
Twenty-four states in the union have thus far made constitutional or statutory provision for mediation of one kind or another in the settlement of industrial disputes. Of these the statutes of the following seventeen contemplate the administration of conciliation and arbitration laws through permanent state boards : Massachusetts, New York, Montana, Michigan, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, Illinois, Utah, Indiana, Idaho, Colorado and Kansas.
The constitution of Wyoming directs the legislature to establish courts of arbitration to determine all differences between associations of laborers and their employers, and provides for appeals to the supreme court of the state from the decisions of compulsory boards of arbitration.
The laws of Kansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Texas authorize the law courts to appoint tribunals of voluntary arbitration; and such is the law of Maryland also, which, moreover, empowers the Board of Public Works to investigate industrial controversies when the employer is a corporation, indebted to, or incorporated by, that state; to propose arbitration to the opposing parties, and if the proposition is accepted, to provide in due form for referring the case; but if either party refuse to submit to arbitration, it becomes the duty of the Board of Public Works to ascertain the cause of the controversy and report the same to the next legislature.
The law of Missouri authorizes the Commissioner of Labor Statistics to form local boards of arbitration, and, as in North Dakota, to mediate between employer and employed, if requested to do so by either, whenever a difference exists which results or threatens to result in a strike or lockout. In Nebraska it is the duty of such officer to examine into the causes of strikes and lockouts.
Following are laws, etc., relating to mediation in industrial controversies: