There are several types of bars to the processing of a representation petition, including: contract bar, withdrawal/disclaimer bar, election year bar, certification year bar, and recognition year bar.

1.10.1 Contract Bar

A valid collective bargaining agreement will normally act as a bar to an election for a period not to exceed three years. 456 CMR 14.06 (1) To bar an election, a contract must be reduced to writing, executed, contain terms and conditions of employment, and ratified, if by its terms ratification is necessary. Town of Brookline, 22 MLC 1751 (1996). A contract must be signed by all parties before a petition is filed if it is to act as a bar, even though some of the contract's terms have been put into effect. Town of Burlington, 14 MLC 1632, 1635 (1988).

Except for good cause, the Division does not process a petition during the life of a valid collective bargaining agreement unless the petition is filed no more than one-hundred and eighty (180) days and no fewer than one hundred and fifty (150) days prior to the termination date of the contract. 456 CMR 14.06 (1). A petition filed on the 180 th day is timely if the duration clause of the existing agreement included the language "to and including." Town of North Reading, 5 MLC 1209 (1978). Under M.G.L. c.150A, the open period in which a petition case may be filed is no more than ninety (90) days and no less than sixty (60) days prior to the contract's expiration. Hudson Bus Lines, 4 MLC 1630, 1640-41 (1977). A petitioner cannot amend its petition to seek a larger or a substantially different unit than that petitioned for after the open period has expired. Northeast Regional School District, 7 MLC 1743 (1980).

1.10.2 Withdrawal/Disclaimer Bar

Except for good cause, the Division does not process a petition in any bargaining unit or subdivision therof, after the approval of a consent election agreement or the close of a hearing, but before the election is held, the petitioner withdrew from a prior petition within the preceding six (6) months or disclaimed interest in continued representation of the bargaining unit within the preceding six months. 456 CMR 14.06 (2).

1.10.3 Election Year Bar

Except for good cause, the Division does not conduct an election if an election has been conducted among the petitioned-for employees in the previous twelve (12) months. 456 CMR 14.06(3). The election year bar does not preclude the Division from processing an election petition during the election bar period, but only precludes the Division from conducting an election within that period. City of Boston, 17 MLC 1088, 1099 (1990); City of Gardner, 1 MLC 1115 (1974).

1.10.4 Certification Year Bar

Except for good cause, the Division does not process a petition within the twelve (12) month period after the Division certifies a bargaining representative. 456 CMR 14.06(4). The purpose of this rule is to permit parties an opportunity to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement and to promote workplace stability. The Division may extend the certification year if the employer fails to negotiate in good faith during the twelve (12) month period after certification. Springfield School Committee, 27 MLC 20 (2000).

1.10.5 Recognition Year Bar

Except for good cause, the Division does not process a petition for any existing bargaining unit for which a recognition agreement has been executed in the preceding twelve (12) months. The recognition agreement must comply with the provisions of 456 CMR 14.06 (5). See also, 456 CMR 11.04.