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It is traditional learning, indeed a commonplace legal premise, that arbitration is a private process created by private agreement. The arbitrator is a child of the contract, his powers are defined by the contract, and his award draws validity from the contract. But one cannot read the Supreme Court decisions of the last five years without a compelling awareness that this is an incomplete description of labor arbitration. For though arbitration is a private process, it performs a public function; though it is a creature of contract, it is an instrument of national labor policy.

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