Resolution on Binding Arbitration for Public Employees
Binding arbitration of labor disputes hampers the ability of local officials to make their own personnel decisions by allowing a third party, accountable to neither local officials nor taxpayers, to unilaterally decide the terms of a union contract. [Insert state] believes that this practice should no longer be used as a means of resolving impasses in collective bargaining.
WHEREAS, binding arbitration is commonly used to resolve impasses in collective bargaining between local governments and unions, especially those representing police and fire personnel;
WHEREAS, binding arbitration commonly allows a third party to impose contract terms on local governments that local officials might not otherwise agree to;
WHEREAS, arbitrators are neither accountable to the public, nor subject to the consequences of their decisions;
WHEREAS, binding arbitration is rarely used to resolve collective bargaining impasses outside of government;
WHEREAS, the arbitration process has been shown to be slow and cumbersome, frequently resulting in back-pay awards that must be borne by local taxpayers;
WHEREAS, the criteria that arbitrators are called upon to use to resolve public-sector contract disputes are prone to be vague and contradictory;
WHEREAS, arbitrators cannot be relied upon to give due consideration to the cost of government, or to the burdens that imposed terms can pose for taxpayers;
WHEREAS, an arbitrator’s decision, even if poorly reasoned, typically cannot be rejected or reviewed by any elected authority or court;
WHEREAS, the dangers inherent in binding arbitration have led municipal officials to make otherwise unwarranted concessions in negotiations with unions, adding to the cost of collective bargaining and of government itself; and
WHEREAS, the management and compensation of government employees is central to the operation of government, and makes up a large portion of its costs; and
WHEREAS, binding arbitration commonly removes the management and compensation of government employees from the authority of officials elected by the people of the community;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the [insert state here] opposes the use of binding arbitration to resolve impasses in public-sector collective bargaining; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that [insert state here] supports the repeal of laws that impose the binding arbitration of impasses in public-sector collective bargaining; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if binding arbitration is used in the public sector, strict limits should be placed on the authority and discretion of arbitrators, and measures taken to ensure that the rights and interests of residents and taxpayers be given due weight.
Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors July 1, 2014.
Keyword Tags: 2014 STFS, Commerce Insurance and Economic Development Task Force