FAQ - Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC)

Frequently asked questions of public employee collective bargaining

Table of Contents

Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC)

What is the Joint Labor Management Committee?

The JLMC is composed of twelve members, plus a chairperson. The twelve members are appointed by the governor: three from nominations by firefighter unions; three from nominations by police unions; and six from nominations by the governor's Local Government Advisory Committee. The JLMC nominates the chair. In addition to overseeing police and firefighter negotiations, the JLMC may, at its discretion, take jurisdiction in any dispute over the negotiation of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement involving municipal firefighters or police officers.

The JLMC, or its representatives, may meet with the parties to a dispute, conduct formal and informal conferences, and take other steps to encourage the parties to agree on the terms of a contract or procedures to resolve the dispute. Some of these procedures include mediating, monitoring negotiations, conducting hearings, and ordering arbitration.

What happens if impasse exists with police and firefighters?

Chapter 589 of the Acts of 1987 gives the JLMC the power to resolve collective bargaining impasses through interest arbitration award.

What happens at Interest arbitration in a JLMC case?

There are different formats for interest arbitration, but the JLMC’s cases are usually decided by a tripartite panel (though there are instances when the parties choose to have a single arbitrator). The JLMC tells the arbitration panel what issues they are authorized to decide. The issues normally consist of wages, duration of the contract, and up to five separate issues for each party. The parties will appear before the arbitration panel and present evidence through witnesses and/or exhibits. The law creating the JLMC lists the criteria the arbitration panel/arbitrator should consider in reaching a decision, including: 1. What can the employer afford to pay, given its demographics? 2. How does the employer pay other employees, especially police (in a fire case) and fire (in a police case), both historically and in the present? 3. How do communities demographically comparable to this community pay? The parties will generally submit post-hearing briefs about a month after the arbitration hearing, and the arbitration panel generally will issue its decision about a month after that.

Is a JLMC Interest Award binding?

After the interest arbitration award is issued, the arbitration panel's award is binding upon the union and the executive branch of the employer. However, to the extent that the contract needs to be funded, it is binding only if and when the legislative branch of the government (i.e., the Council or Town Meeting) votes to appropriate such funding.

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