Impasse in Collective Bargaining
The word "impasse" is an important part of the working vocabulary of all practitioners and students of labor relations. Although numerous trial examiner reports, board orders, court decisions and commentators have used the term impasse, the concept has never been discussed at length. In NLRB v. TexTan, Inc., the Fifth Circuit described "impasse" as "a state of facts in which the parties, despite the best of faith, are simply deadlocked." The Tex-Tan definition, while accurate, is of limited practical significance. It adds little to the definition of impasse that might be found in almost any standard desk dictionary. The only difference, one of major importance, is that an impasse in bargaining, unlike an impasse in any other situation, requires the "best of faith." Unless the deadlock in negotiations has been reached in good faith, the legal ramifications of an impasse are not applicable. Yet the Tex-Tan definition leaves a number of important questions unanswered. This Comment explores two of these questions : the significance of the finding of an impasse, and more important, the factors considered in determining whether an impasse exists.