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at an impasse

At a point or problem that is insurmountable or from which there is no possible exit, progress, or negotiation. After hours of bitter debate, the two parties were at an impasse, and the discussion was left for the following day.
See also: impasse

come to an impasse

Fig. to reach a deadlock, stalemate, etc., in a situation. (Alludes to a blocked roadway.) The committee has come to an impasse in its deliberations.
See also: come, impasse

reach an impasse

to progress to the point that a barrier stops further progress. When negotiations with management reached an impasse, the union went on strike. The discussion reached an impasse and no one was able to propose a compromise.
See also: impasse, reach
References in periodicals archive ?
Of the 27 impasses, 10 involved rounds where there was no provision for arbitration, 6 where there was no provision for mediation/conciliation, and 11 where there was provision for both.
Overall impasse rate within arbitration available rounds: A sub-sample of 170 rounds (b), looking at all 17 impasses in these rounds (f+g).
The use of arbitration within arbitration available rounds: The same sub-sample as (2), but looking at the 10 impasses involving the use of arbitration (g+j).
Overall impasse rate in the mediation/conciliation available rounds: Sub-sample of 144 rounds (c+d), looking at all 21 impasses (f+h).
same as (4) but excluding the 4 rounds where arbitration is also used, and looking at remaining 17 impasses (h+i).
It seems safe to conclude therefore that in this sample the existence of FOA in a multi-stage procedure deters impasses more effectively than conventional arbitration.
Final-offer arbitration (FOA) is an impasse resolution procedure which involves an arbitrator being constrained to decide for one or the other sides' final offers in a dispute.
The theoretical predictions concerning its impact on impasse rates, incidence of industrial action and pay settlements are set out in section 5.
First, a postal survey of the 101 workplaces was undertaken to obtain substantive information on plant characteristics, the impasse procedure and three impact measures: use of impasse procedure; incidence of industrial action; and pay settlements, over the preceding five years.
Of the 54 workplaces with impasse procedures half have FOA, and of these 27 plants, just over half also have provision for either conciliation alone (11) or both mediation and conciliation (3) before a dispute is referred to arbitration, but 13 of the agreements provide for a move straight from failure to agree to arbitration.
It seems plausible to argue that a joint reference procedure implies that the parties do not really understand the theory of impasse deterrence behind FOA, because they are keeping open an option of vetoing its use, thereby lessening its threat effect.
Cross tabulations reveal that FOA impasse procedures are more likely to exist in workplaces: which are UK or Japanese owned; where the EETPU is the recognised union; which are located in the South East; where the impasse procedure was introduced between 1980 and 1986; in medium sized workplaces; and where union density is above 25 per cent.
These are the date when the impasse procedure was introduced, whether or not the EETPU has sole recognition at the plant and whether or not the workplace is located in the South East region.
This is examined by comparing pay settlements under FOA regimes to those without any impasse procedure.
Second, in bargaining rounds where an impasse procedure exists, is there a significant difference between pay settlements where an FOA regime is in place and those where conventional arbitration prevails?