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The Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Walsh’s push for binding arbitration draws criticism

State Representative Martin J. Walsh said his bill to bring back binding arbitration would increase financial protections for cities and towns. His legislation is virtually identical to a referendum proposed by the state firefighters. Government watchdogs argue that Walsh’s proposal would do the opposite by eliminating the requirement that the City Council approve an arbitration award for police or firefighters. Current law delineates 11 factors an arbitrator must consider. Walsh’s proposal has only 10 factors because it removed a reference to Proposition 2 ½.

Current law

Initiative petition for state referendum by state firefighters union, filed Aug. 5, 2003

Latest Walsh proposal, filed Jan. 22, 2013

Differences are highlighted in bold.

The factors to be given weight in any decision or determination resulting from the mechanism or procedures determined by the committee to be followed by the parties in order to reach final agreement pursuant to this section shall include, but not be limited to:

The factors among others, to be given weight by the arbitration panel or single arbitrator in arriving at the decision shall include:

The factors among others, to be given weight by the arbitration panel or single arbitrator in arriving at the decision shall include:

The first factor references Proposition 2 ½, a sweeping initiative that abolished binding arbitration. A subsequent law gave limited arbitration rights but required any award be approved by a city council or other local legislative body.

(1) Such an award shall be consistent with: (i) section twenty-one C of chapter fifty-nine of the General Laws, and (ii) any appropriation for that fiscal year from the fund established in section two D of chapter twenty-nine of the General Laws.

 

 

 

(2) The financial ability of the municipality to meet costs.

(1) The financial ability of the municipality to meet costs.

(1) The financial ability of the municipality to meet costs.

State helps evaluate a city or town’s ability to pay.

The commissioner of revenue shall assist the committee in determining such financial ability.

 

 

 

Such factors which shall be taken into consideration shall include but not be limited to: (i) the city, town, or district's state reimbursements and assessments;

Such factors which shall be taken into consideration shall include but not be limited to: (a) the city, town or district’s state reimbursements and assessments;

Such factors which shall be taken into consideration shall include but not be limited to: (a) the city, town or district’s state reimbursements and assessments;

(ii) the city, town or district's long and short term bonded indebtedness;

(b) the city, town or district’s long and short term bonded indebtedness;

(b) the city, town or district’s long and short term bonded indebtedness;

(iii) the city, town or district's estimated share in the metropolitan district commission's deficit;

(c) the city, town or district’s estimated share in the metropolitan district commission deficit;

(c) the city, town or district’s estimated share in the metropolitan district commission deficit;

(iv) the city, town or district's estimated share in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's deficit;

or (d) the city, town, or district’s estimated share in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s deficit;

or (d) the city, town, or district’s estimated share in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s deficit;

and (v) consideration of the average per capita property tax burden, average annual income of members of the community, the effect any accord might have on the respective property tax rates on the city or town.

and (e) consideration of the average per capita property tax burden, average annual income of members of the community, the effect any accord by the panel or single arbitrator might have on the respective property tax rates of the city or town.

and (e) consideration of the average per capita property tax burden, average annual income of members of the community, the effect any accord by the panel or single arbitrator might have on the respective property tax rates of the city or town.

(3) The interests and welfare of the public.

(2) The interests and welfare of the public.

(2) The interests and welfare of the public.

(4) The hazards of employment, physical, educational and mental qualifications, job training and skills involved.

(3) The hazards of employment, physical, educational and mental qualifications, job training and skills involved.

(3) The hazards of employment, physical, educational and mental qualifications, job training and skills involved.

(5) A comparison of wages, hours and conditions of employment of the employees involved in the arbitration proceedings with the wages, hours and conditions of employment of other employees performing similar services and with other employees generally in public and private employment in comparable communities.

(4) A comparison of wages, hours and conditions of employment of the employees involved in the arbitration proceedings with the wages, hours and conditions of employment of other employees performing similar services and with other employees generally in public and private employment in comparable communities.

(4) A comparison of wages, hours and conditions of employment of the employees involved in the arbitration proceedings with the wages, hours and conditions of employment of other employees performing similar services and with other employees generally in public and private employment in comparable communities.

(6) The decisions and recommendations of the factfinder, if any.

(5) The decisions and recommendations of the factfinder, if any.

(5) The decisions and recommendations of the factfinder, if any.

(7) The average consumer prices for goods and services, commonly known as the cost of living.

(6) The average consumer prices for goods and services, commonly known as the cost of living.

(6) The average consumer prices for goods and services, commonly known as the cost of living.

(8) The overall compensation presently received by the employees, including direct wages and fringe benefits.

(7) The overall compensation presently received by the employees, including direct wages and fringe benefits.

(7) The overall compensation presently received by the employees, including direct wages and fringe benefits.

(9) Changes in any of the foregoing circumstances during the pendency of the dispute.

(8) Changes in any of the foregoing circumstances during the pendency of the arbitration proceedings.

(8) Changes in any of the foregoing circumstances during the pendency of the arbitration proceedings.

(10) Such other factors, not confined to the foregoing, which are normally or traditionally taken into consideration in the determination of wages, hours and conditions of employment through voluntary collective bargaining, mediation, factfinding, arbitration or otherwise between parties, in the public services or in private employment.

(9) Such other factors, not confined to the foregoing, which are normally or traditionally taken into consideration in the determination of wages, hours and conditions of employment through voluntary collective bargaining, mediation, factfinding, arbitration or otherwise between parties, in the public service or in private employment.

(9) Such other factors, not confined to the foregoing, which are normally or traditionally taken into consideration in the determination of wages, hours and conditions of employment through voluntary collective bargaining, mediation, factfinding, arbitration or otherwise between parties,in the public service or in private employment.

(11) The stipulation of the parties.

(10) The stipulation of the parties.

(10) The stipulation of the parties.

 

 

 

SOURCE: Mass.Gov, state records

Gabriel Florit, Andrew Ryan / Globe Staff

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