Corrections or additions?
This was prepared for the June 6, 2001 edition of U.S. 1
Newspaper. All rights reserved.
To the Editor: Try Mediation First
As president of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators
(NJAPM) and a trial lawyer, I read with genuine interest Kathleen
McGinn Spring’s on-target review of recent legal developments in
arbitration. Without question, the U.S. Supreme Court has given a
green light to mandatory arbitration clauses covering most, if not
all, employment disputes. Given the vagaries of the U.S. economy and
management’s general discomfort with — bordering on hostility
towards — the unpredictability of court cases and jury verdicts,
we can expect a lot more activity in the arbitration arena.
And how unfortunate that will prove to be, unless managers and
first stop and consider working out all such workplace disputes with
the aid of a trained professional mediator. Private sector mediation
of workplace disputes is purely voluntary, private, inexpensive,
and fast. Most importantly, it works, and it works better than any
other process around.
Almost all workplace disputes involve the push-and-pull of emotional
factors, dressed up to look like money and performance issues. While
workplace disputes occur in all shapes and sizes, as mediators and
lawyers who promote mediation, we often deal with long-term employment
situations, where displacement comes with a lot of upset.
A workplace termination is akin to the sudden break-up of a marriage.
In these settings, it is critically important to get the parties
about their underlying interests. Employees often look for a sign
of management’s respect, a dignified exit with some assurance of
support as they seek other employment. Managers often look for a
exit, with no disruption of ongoing employment relationships, and
a way to cut losses for reasonable dollars.
While employment lawyers and HR personnel are sometimes able to work
these matters out on their own, I have seen far too many examples
of broken negotiations, disappointed employees, and angry managers.
These are the cases that head for the courthouse or, increasingly,
the arbitrator’s office.
So, you may ask, what’s wrong with that picture? Since both public
judges and private arbitrators have final, binding, decisional
once parties enter either of those processes, both sides are buying
themselves a "win-lose" outcome, when what they really want
is a "win-win". An unhappy party to a litigated or arbitrated
outcome, whether manager or employee, will continue to make noise,
consciously or unconsciously seek to undermine the outcome, or fail
to heal and move on as quickly as they might if the decision were
mutually reached, with the help of a skilled facilitator.
While I applaud U.S. 1 for highlighting the arbitration arena, I
urge your readers in need of workplace dispute resolution to consider
mediation as a first option, and hire mediation conversant lawyers
from the very start. If matters end up in litigation or arbitration,
the parties have lost nothing. On the other hand, if the parties start
out in litigation or arbitration, they are not only in for a
expensive, and time consuming ride, but they may find it impossible
to reach common ground in the later innings.
Hanan M. Isaacs, President
New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators
at ADR" at a New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education
conference on Friday, June 15, at 8:30 a.m. at the Woodbridge Sheraton
in Iselin. Cost: $210. Call 732-214-8500.
Stop the Villas at Tuscany
The following letter was sent to Executive Director James C. Amon
and the commissioners of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission:
escape from traffic, noise, and pollution for the thousands of people
— from infants in backpacks to the elderly with canes — who
enjoy it throughout the year. The towpath is perfect for walking,
jogging, bicycling, and cross country skiing. Many use the canal for
canoeing and kayaking. The park provides a habitat for at least 160
species of birds, 90 of which nest within the park.
Your website (www.dandrcanal.com) touts Kingston as one of the prime
"Points of Interest" for those visiting the Canal Park and
it notes that it is "one of the more heavily visited spots along
However, the development, "Villas at Tuscany," proposed for
construction in Plainsboro, just next to Kingston, would be within
1,000 feet of the canal. This three-story rental apartment complex,
along with the widening of Mapleton Road and the change in
of the intersection of Mapleton Road and Seminary Drive will
the integrity and beauty of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.
Your charge as D&R Commissioners is "to prepare and administer
a land use regulatory program that will protect the Canal Park from
the harmful impacts of new development in central New Jersey."
It is your mandate to monitor whether "new development could have
drainage, visual or other ecological impact on the Canal Park."
"Villas at Tuscany" will destroy the sight-line from the canal
and its towpath. The traffic from this development, along with that
expected from the proposed development of a 2.9 million square foot
office complex just to its north, will increase pollution.
The proposed widening of Mapleton Road (a portion of which today
touches the canal) and the reconfiguration of the intersection of
Mapleton Road and Seminary Drive will encourage more through traffic
— including trucks — leading to increased runoff and pollution
of the canal water as well as increased noise and fumes for those
walking or boating within the park.
On a recent walk along the towpath, I saw countless turtles (many
sunning on logs and several swimming in the canal), two snakes (a
small one hitching a ride on one about two feet long), goslings
after their parents, birds singing in the trees and brush. The D&R
Canal Park provides us a precious habitat.
I urge you to deny permission for construction of "Villas at
in its current form and to deny permission for the changes in
for Mapleton Road. It is your mandate to protect the Delaware and
Raritan Canal Park.
15 Wycombe Way, Princeton Junction
THANK YOU for the article, "A Shop Of Your Own, First Try It
It is well written and should help some of your readers avoid costly
mistakes when going into business. I advised the Mercer/Middlesex
Small Business Development Center about it.
Martin M. Mosho
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