The purpose of the Joint Labor-Management Committee is to encourage the parties to collective bargaining disputes involving municipalities and their police officers and fire fighters to agree directly on the terms of such agreements or on a procedure to resolve these disputes. In difficult cases the Committee may, in addition to mediation and conciliation also utilize fact-finding, limited arbitration, or other methods of dispute resolution using outside neutrals or members of the Committee. The Committee makes every effort to achieve voluntary settlements and to encourage a constructive long-term relationship between the parties. In fulfilling it's mission the Committee relies on the unique tripartite membership drawn from the leadership of statewide police and fire fighter organizations, municipal management and public neutrals. The Committee also serves as forum for discussion of larger issues, unrelated to specific disputes, of mutual concern to municipal management, police and fire fighter organizations and the general public.
In a significant sense, the JLMC belongs to the statewide organizations of firefighters, police and municipal management, to assist in the resolution of their disputes. The committee cannot be viewed by these organizations and their members as a distant government bureaucracy. The neutral parties provide proper balance in the public interest.
The JLMC rejects the view that a single standard procedure is the best way to resolve every dispute. The committee designs procedures appropriate to the particular case in consultation with the affected parties. Internally, it may use field investigators, senior staff, the vice chair or chair, with various labor and management committee members in a variety of procedures. It is a canon of the committee to be inventive and imaginative in the design of procedures for a particular case, even in the course of the dispute as it unfolds or changes direction. The committee typically develops a series of steps or procedures in a dispute, each designed to enhance the prospects of settlements. These processes seek to enhance the voluntary settlement of disputes, by urging parties to settle by themselves at each stage before resorting to the JLMC.
(Adapted from The Municipal Advocate, spring 1999, Vol 18 No. 2 John Oullette)