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Arbitration Processes In Need Of Reform

Connecticut Law Tribune

August 9, 2010

Authors: Saranne P. Murray, Kevin M. Roy

The vast majority of Connecticut’s municipal employees are represented by unions, with terms and conditions of employment governed by labor contracts. With the exception of school teachers and administrators, negotiations for these public employees come under Connecticut’s Municipal Employee Relations Act (MERA), which provides for interest arbitration when the employer and union cannot agree on a contract, as well as grievance arbitration for contract dispute resolution through the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration (SBMA).

Both the MERA binding arbitration process and the grievance arbitration process have advantages and disadvantages, and both systems are in need of reform to better serve public employers, unions, employees, and taxpayers who ultimately pay the price for the flaws in those systems.

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