41.80.310  <<  41.80.320 >>   41.80.330

Interest arbitration panelAppointmentHearingWritten determination.

(1) Within ten working days after the first Monday in September of every odd-numbered year, the state's bargaining representative and the exclusive bargaining representative for the appropriate bargaining unit shall attempt to agree on an interest arbitration panel consisting of three members to be used if the parties are not successful in negotiating a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement. Each party shall name one person to serve as its arbitrator on the arbitration panel. The two members so appointed shall meet within seven days following the appointment of the later appointed member to attempt to choose a third member to act as the neutral chair of the arbitration panel. Upon the failure of the arbitrators to select a neutral chair within seven days, the two appointed members shall use one of the two following options in the appointment of the third member, who shall act as chair of the panel: (a) By mutual consent, the two appointed members may jointly request the commission to, and the commission shall, appoint a third member within two days of such a request. Costs of each party's appointee shall be borne by each party respectively; other costs of the arbitration proceedings shall be borne by the commission; or (b) either party may apply to the commission, the federal mediation and conciliation service, or the American arbitration association to provide a list of five qualified arbitrators from which the neutral chair shall be chosen. Each party shall pay the fees and expenses of its arbitrator, and the fees and expenses of the neutral chair shall be shared equally between the parties.
(2) Immediately upon selecting an interest arbitration panel, the parties shall cooperate to reserve dates with the arbitration panel for potential arbitration between August 1st and September 15th of the following even-numbered year. The parties shall also prepare a schedule of at least five negotiation dates for the following year, absent an agreement to the contrary. The parties shall execute a written agreement before November 1st of each odd-numbered year setting forth the names of the members of the arbitration panel and the dates reserved for bargaining and arbitration. This subsection imposes minimum obligations only and is not intended to define or limit a party's full, good faith bargaining obligation under other sections of this chapter.
(3) If the parties are not successful in negotiating a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement, a hearing shall be held. The hearing shall be informal and each party shall have the opportunity to present evidence and make argument. No member of the arbitration panel may present the case for a party to the proceedings. The rules of evidence prevailing in judicial proceedings may be considered, but are not binding, and any oral testimony or documentary evidence or other data deemed relevant by the chair of the arbitration panel may be received in evidence. A recording of the proceedings shall be taken. The arbitration panel has the power to administer oaths, require the attendance of witnesses, and require the production of such books, papers, contracts, agreements, and documents as may be deemed by the panel to be material to a just determination of the issues in dispute. If any person refuses to obey a subpoena issued by the arbitration panel, or refuses to be sworn or to make an affirmation to testify, or any witness, party, or attorney for a party is guilty of any contempt while in attendance at any hearing held under this section, the arbitration panel may invoke the jurisdiction of the superior court in the county where the labor dispute exists, and the court has jurisdiction to issue an appropriate order. Any failure to obey the order may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof. The hearing conducted by the arbitration panel shall be concluded within twenty-five days following the selection or designation of the neutral chair of the arbitration panel, unless the parties agree to a longer period.
(4) The neutral chair shall consult with the other members of the arbitration panel, and, within thirty days following the conclusion of the hearing, the neutral chair shall make written findings of fact and a written determination of the issues in dispute, based on the evidence presented. A copy thereof shall be served on the commission, on each of the other members of the arbitration panel, and on each of the parties to the dispute.
(5) Except as provided in this subsection, the written determination shall be final and binding upon both parties.
(a) The written determination is subject to review by the superior court upon the application of either party solely upon the question of whether the decision of the panel was arbitrary or capricious.
(b) The written determination is not binding on the legislature and, if the legislature does not approve the funds necessary to implement provisions pertaining to compensation and fringe benefits of an arbitrated collective bargaining agreement, is not binding on the state.
(6) The arbitration panel may consider only matters that are subject to bargaining under this chapter.
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