JOINT LABOR-MANAGEMENT COMMITTEEFOR
MUNICIPAL POLICE AND FIRE [ 1]

Adopted August 24, 2000
The purpose of the Joint Labor-Management Committee is to encourage the parties to collective disputes involving municipal police officers and fire fighters to agree on the terms of collective bargaining agreements or the procedures to resolve particular disputes. The Committee shall make every effort to encourage the parties to engage in good faith negotiations to reach settlement and a constructive long-term relationship.
I. The Operations of the Committee
  1. Each part of the Committee, professional police officers, professional fire fighters and representatives of the cities and towns shall designate a chairman of its group within the Committee to facilitate consultation and communications. Each part of the Committee shall establish procedures by which it shall designate a chairman and the term of office.


  2. In matters exclusively pertaining to municipal fire fighters, committee members nominated for appointments by professional police officer organizations shall not vote, and in matters exclusively pertaining to municipal police officers, committee members nominated for appointment by professional fire fighter organizations shall not vote.


  3. All Committee members shall be eligible to vote on matters of common and general interest.


  4. The number of votes of Committee members representing the local government advisory committee and the number of votes of Committee members representing the professional fire fighter or police organizations entitled to vote on any matter coming before the Committee shall be equal.


  5. The Chairman may cast the deciding vote on any matter relating to a dispute concerning negotiations over the terms and provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, including any decision to exercise jurisdiction over a dispute. The Chairman shall be the chief administrative officer of the Committee. The Vice Chairman shall assist the Chairman and may be authorized by the Chairman to act for him in his absence and shall have the full powers of the Chairman when so authorized and he shall vote only in the absence of the Chairman.


  6. The Committee shall comply with the Open Meeting Law of the Commonwealth as amended. That statute, Chapter 30, Section 11A ½ (3), provides that executive sessions may be held "to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining and to conduct collective bargaining sessions," including related mediation and such sessions may be closed by the Committee.


  7. A quorum shall consist of one member of the Committee representing the local government advisory committee and one member of the Committee representing the professional fire fighter organizations and one member of the Committee representing the professional police officers organizations and the Chairman or Vice Chairman.


  8. The Committee expects that its members shall regularly attend meetings of the Committee. However, professional police organizations, professional fire organizations and the local government advisory committee shall specify alternate members to represent their respective members, subject to the approval of the full Committee, for a term of one year (subject to re-appointment) to assure that the work of the Committee may go forward. Alternate members are expected regularly to attend meetings of the Committee.


  9. The Committee shall appoint one full-time senior staff person nominated by the members of the Committee representing the local government advisory committee and one full-time senior staff person nominated by the members of the Committee representing the professional police officer and professional 'fire fighter organizations. The two senior staff persons work together to further the purposes of the Committee. They may be assigned by the Committee through the Chairman to gather facts, to facilitate negotiations, to mediate, and otherwise to encourage agreement between parties.


  10. The Committee may specify other staff positions in accordance with law and within the budget. The Chairman shall supervise such staff. The Committee may also appoint special mediators, fact finders and neutrals to facilitate the resolution of particular cases.
II. The Involvement of the Committee in Disputes
  1. The Committee shall have oversight responsibility for all collective bargaining negotiations involving municipal police officers and fire fighters.


  2. The Committee shall request the Executive Office of Labor, the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration and the Labor Relations Commission each to designate a person with whom the Committee shall maintain a flow of information and through whom the Committee shall consult these Agencies on particular cases to assure co-operative relations and consistent activities in the interest of improved collective bargaining and dispute resolution.


  3. Should either party or the parties acting jointly to a municipal police and fire collective bargaining negotiations believe a dispute is unresolved and warrants mediation, the party or both parties shall petition the Committee for the exercise of jurisdiction. Such petition shall identify the issues in dispute, the parties and the efforts of the parties to resolve the dispute.

    (a) The Committee shall forthwith review the petition and shall make a determination within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the petition whether to exercise jurisdiction over the dispute. If the Committee declines to exercise jurisdiction over the dispute or fails to act within thirty (30) days of receipt of the petition of jurisdiction, the petition shall automatically be referred to the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration for disposition in accordance with its procedures.

    (b) The Committee may subsequently at any stage after consultation with the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration remove the dispute from the jurisdiction of the Board and handle the case as if it had retained jurisdiction at the outset. The Committee may, at any time, remand to the Board any dispute in which the Committee has exercised jurisdiction. The Committee's decisions on jurisdiction are to be formally communicated to the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration and to the parties.


  4. After a petition has been filed with the Committee, the parties to any municipal police and fire fighter negotiations shall furnish the assigned field investigator the following information:

    (a) Copies of requests to bargain and proposals of each side.

    (b) Notification of all pending unfair labor practice proceedings between the parties.

    (c) Collective bargaining agreements and relevant personnel ordinances, bylaws, and rules and regulations including wage and salary and benefit schedules.

    (d) Such other information as the field investigator may reasonably require for the Committee.


  5. The Committee may, at its discretion, and on its own initiative exercise jurisdiction in any dispute over the negotiations of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement involving municipal fire fighters or police officers. The Committee may also exercise jurisdiction in any dispute concerning job titles over which the parties have negotiated or in any dispute over proposals to remove specific job titles from collective bargaining for individuals and performing certain specified management duties.


  6. The Committee or its representatives, field investigators or staff mediators are authorized to meet with the parties to a dispute, conduct formal or informal conferences, to set dates for such meetings, and take other steps including mediation to encourage the parties to agree on the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or the procedures to resolve the disputes. The Committee shall make every effort to encourage the parties to engage in good faith bargaining to reach settlement through negotiations or mediation.


  7. In certain disputes that persist, the Committee may order fact-finding and appoint a fact-finder outside the Committee to report the facts, mediate the dispute and make recommendations for resolution of the disputed issues. The Committee may on occasion designate its members, including the Chairman or Vice Chairman, to perform such functions. The Committee shall determine the procedures for the distribution and any release of the report.


  8. In dispute resolution conducted by other than the Committee or its members or staff, the parties shall share and pay equally the costs involved in such resolution, provided, however, that pursuant to a vote of the Committee and subject to the availability of funds for the purpose thereof, said costs may be paid by the Committee.


  9. The Committee shall have the power to administer oaths and require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses, the production of books, records, and other evidence relative to or pertinent to the issues in the dispute.


  10. In any dispute before the Committee in which it concludes that a study of the financial ability of the municipality to meet costs may facilitate the resolution of the dispute, it may request the Commissioner of Revenue to make a study specifying various factors to be taken into consideration.


  11. When the parties to a municipal police or fire collective bargaining negotiation jointly design their own dispute resolution procedures, they may divest the Committee of jurisdiction by presenting a written agreement of their procedures to the Committee; provided, however, that the Committee finds that said procedures provide for a final resolution of the dispute, without resort to strike, job action, or lockout; and provided, further, that if the Committee subsequently finds that either of the parties fails to abide by said procedures, the Committee shall assume jurisdiction of the dispute.
III. Procedures in Disputes that have remained unresolved for an unreasonable period of time resulting in the apparent exhaustion of the processes of collective bargaining. (Section 3 (a) of Chapter 589 of the Acts of 1987)
  1. In a dispute, over which the Committee has taken jurisdiction, and which the Committee determines issues in dispute have remained unresolved for an unreasonable period of time resulting in the apparent exhaustion of the processes of collective bargaining, the Committee may direct an investigation hearing to be held by a tripartite panel of the Committee, or by the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Committee, or by the senior staff for labor and the senior staff for management together (who may also substitute for a labor or management member of a tripartite panel) to identify:

    a) the issues remaining in dispute;

    b) the current position of the parties;

    c) the views of the parties as to how the continuing dispute should be resolved;

    d) the preferences of the parties as to the mechanism to be followed in order to reach a final agreement between the parties;

    e) other relevant questionsSuch hearing officers shall report to the Committee the information gathered at the hearing.


  2. If the Committee thereafter finds there is an apparent exhaustion of the processes of collective bargaining which constitutes a potential threat to public welfare, it shall so notify the parties of its findings. Within ten (10) days of such notification, the Committee shall also notify the parties of its intent to invoke such procedures and mechanisms as it deems appropriate, and it has been authorized by legislation to use, for the resolution of the collective bargaining negotiations.


  3. In any dispute involving the financial ability of the municipality to meet costs, the assistance of a report of the Commissioner of Revenue is to be requested, if a current report had not been secured earlier in dispute resolution efforts of the Committee. (See II-I0 above.)


  4. Any decision or determination resulting from the above procedures determined by the Committee, if supported by material and substantive evidence on the whole record shall be, subject to the approval by the legislative body or a funding request as set forth in chapter one hundred and fifty E of the General Laws, and may be enforced at the instance of either party or the Committee in superior court in equity.


  5. The statute requires that the municipal employer shall submit to the appropriate legislative body within thirty days after the date on which the [arbitration] decision or determination is issued a request for the appropriation necessary to fund such decision or determination, with his recommendation for approval of such request. Notwithstanding the foregoing, where the legislative body is a town meeting, such request shall be made to the earlier of (i) the next occurring annual town meeting, or (ii) the next occurring special town meeting.?In the event that the municipal legislative body votes not to approve the request for appropriation, the Committee retains full jurisdiction of the dispute. The Committee may take such further action as it deems appropriate to resolve the dispute including further mediation, fact-finding or dispute resolution procedures.


  6. In the event a JLMC panel at a 3(a) hearing considers that the number of issues reported as open are too numerous for an effective dispute resolution or arbitration proceeding, and it has been unable to secure a voluntary agreement to limit the number or scope of issues, it may recommend to the full Committee the issues each party may present in the arbitration or other dispute resolution proceeding. In such case the Committee may limit and specify the issues for arbitration or may limit by specifying to each party the number and scope of issues to be presented to arbitration, defining issues narrowly and precisely.The parties shall be informed that all other outstanding issues are deferred and shall not be a part of the agreement in dispute. The appointed or selected arbitrator or arbitration panel shall issue an award on the limited number of issues, and the award shall determine the changes to be incorporated in the collective bargaining agreement of the full term under negotiations. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to preclude the parties from incorporating in a collective bargaining agreement mutually agreed upon provisions.


  7. A JLMC panel at a 3(a) hearing is further authorized to recommend to the Committee procedures to expedite the arbitration or fact-finding process by specifying or not pre-hearing briefs and the date and the number of days of hearing. The question of post-hearing briefs is ordinarily to be left to the discretion of the arbitrator or arbitration panel. The arbitration award or fact-finding report is due in the JLMC office thirty days from the conclusion of the hearing or due date of post-hearing briefs. The JLMC may specify these elements of the arbitration or fact-finding process in its order to the parties.


  8. In view of the structure and composition of the JLMC established by legislation (Chapter 589 of the Acts of 1987), in any continuing proceeding of the Committee such as a sub0committee, a Section 3(a) hearing, an authorized tripartite fact-finding or tripartite arbitration panel to resolve a particular dispute, each of the constituent parts of the Committee-professional fire fighters, police or municipal management-shall be free to substitute one member or alternate in the course of the proceeding with the expressed approval of the chairman of that group. In the event of an emergency involving the attendance of a labor or management member of such committee or panel, the senior staff for labor or management may serve at the designation of the chairman of the group. This freedom of substitution to accommodate work schedules shall not apply to neutral chairpersons of such panels.
[1] The Rules of the Joint Labor-Management Committee are not contained in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. Rather, the Committee promulgates its rules pursuant Chapter 1078 of the Acts of 1973, §4A(4), as most recently amended by Chapter 589 of the Acts of 1987, §1. The Joint labor-Management Committee adopted its Rules on July 2, 1979 and adopted amended Rules on May 6, 1988, January 6, 1994, and August 24, 2000.