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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JEFF JACOBY

Arbitration has no place at the table

Is mayoral candidate Martin Walsh for or against binding arbitration for public-sector labor contracts? He certainly is.

Like presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, who voted to fund the war in Iraq before he voted not to fund the war in Iraq, Walsh — a state legislator and long-time union official — would like to have it both ways on binding arbitration. In January, Walsh filed a bill giving third-party arbitrators the power to impose “final and binding” terms for police and firefighters’ contracts, stripping municipal councils of their legal authority to approve the award before it can take effect. It wasn’t the first time Walsh supported such a measure. If it ever became law, public-safety unions would have even more of an incentive than they already do now to make extreme demands and then hold out for arbitration.

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