The Panel's unique role as the federal sector substitute for the strike and the lock-out requires it to bring finality to those disputes where jurisdiction is asserted. In turn, the parties bear the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the Panel is fully informed when it deliberates over the merits of their case. During any procedure under the Panel's auspices, therefore, each party must be ready to explain how its proposal works, and to support its adoption by providing clear and complete statements of position, either orally or in writing.
The most common criteria the Panel applies in assessing the merits of proposals are demonstrated need and comparability. For instance, when one party proposes to change the status quo, that party is obligated to demonstrate the need for the change. In addition, when other workplaces in the private, public, or federal sector are currently governed by a practice that a party would like to see adopted, the existence of the practice should be documented and evidence should be produced to substantiate that the employees who would be affected are similarly situated. In sum, whenever a party participates in a procedure under the Panel's auspices, there is no substitute for thorough preparation and collection of data in advance to be used in persuading the Panel that its proposal should be imposed to resolve the dispute.