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It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 924 is amended to read:


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(b)  In all proceedings under this chapter, no evidence shall be admitted or considered that relates to conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations, including mediation, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.  This subsection does not require exclusion of evidence otherwise obtainable from independent sources because it was presented in the course of compromise negotiations nor does it require exclusion of evidence offered for another purpose, such as proving bias or prejudice of a witness, negating a contention of undue delay, or proving an effort to obstruct an investigation.

(c)  Until a transcript of the record in a case is filed in a court under this chapter, the board at any time upon reasonable notice and in such manner as it considers proper may modify or set aside wholly or partially a finding made or order issued by it.

(c)(d)  The board may appoint a mediator to assist in resolving differences.

(d)(e)  In addition to its responsibilities under this chapter, the board shall carry out the responsibilities given to it under chapters 19 and 22 of Title 21 and chapter 28 of Title 3 this title and when so doing shall exercise the powers and follow the procedures set out in that chapter.

(e)(f)  The board may cooperate with other agencies, either of the United States or of another state, in all matters concerning the powers and duties of the board under this chapter and particularly in relation to agreements providing for the ceding to the board by the national labor relations board of jurisdiction over cases in any industry predominantly local in character.

Sec. 2.  3 V.S.A. § 925 is amended to read:


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(b)  If after a reasonable period of time not less than 15 days after the appointment of a mediator the impasse is not resolved, the mediator shall certify to the board that the impasse continues.  Upon the request of either party the The board shall appoint a fact-finding panel fact finder mutually agreed upon by the parties.  If the parties do not agree, the board may appoint a neutral third party to act as fact finder pursuant to rules adopted by the board.

(c)  The panel shall consist of three persons, one to be selected within three days by the employer’s representative, one to be selected within three days by the collective bargaining unit, and a third member who shall be selected by the two panel members within five days of their appointment.  If, on the expiration of the five day period, the panel members have been unable to select the third member they shall notify the chief justice of the Vermont supreme court in writing, and the chief justice shall select a resident of the state as the third panel member as expeditiously as possible.  The selection of the third panel member, either by the first two panel members or by the chief justice, shall not be subject to judicial or administrative quasi-judicial challenge.  A member of the board shall not be eligible to serve on any fact-finding panel selected under this section.

(d)  The panel fact finder shall conduct hearings, pursuant to rules established by the board.  Upon request of either party or of the panel fact finder, the board may issue subpoenas of persons and documents for the hearings and the panel fact finder may require that testimony be given under oath and may administer oaths.

(e)  Nothing herein shall prohibit any fact-finding panel a fact finder from endeavoring to mediate the dispute, which it the fact finder is considering, at any time prior to the issuance of its recommendations.

(f)  The fact-finding panel fact finder shall consider if applicable to the issues the following factors, among others, in making a recommendation:

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(g)  Upon completion of the hearings, the panel fact finder shall make and file with both parties written findings and recommendations.

(h)  The costs of witnesses and other expenses incurred by either party in fact-finding proceedings shall be paid directly by the party incurring them, and the costs and expenses of the panel and of panel members fact finder shall be divided equally between the parties.  Each member of the panel shall be entitled to receive $50.00 for each day or any part thereof while performing their duties and shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary personal expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.  A statement of panel costs, certified by the chairman of the panel, and a statement of panel member costs, including their per diem and expenses, shall be submitted to the board for approval.  The board shall furnish a copy of approved costs to each party together with its order apportioning one-half of the total to each party for payment.  Each party shall make payment of its half of the total in accordance with the board’s order to the person or persons entitled thereto fact finder within 15 days after receipt of the order fact finder’s billApproval by the board of panel and panel member costs and expenses and its order for payment shall be final as to the parties.

(i)  If the dispute remains unresolved 15 20 days after transmittal of findings and recommendations to the parties or within a time frame mutually agreed upon by the parties that may be no more than an additional 30 days, each party shall submit as a single package its last best offer on all disputed issues to the board.  Each party’s last best offer shall be certified as such to the board by the fact finding panel filed with the board under seal and shall be unsealed and placed in the public record only when both parties’ last best offers are filed with the board.  The board may shall hold one or more hearings as it deems appropriate.  Within 30 days of the certifications it, the board shall select between the last best offers of the parties, considered in their its entirety without amendment. 

(j)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (i) of this section, should the board find the last best offers of both parties unreasonable and likely to produce undesirable results, or likely to result in a long-lasting negative impact upon the parties’ collective bargaining relationship, then the board may select the recommendation of the fact finder under subsection (g) of this section as to those disputed issues submitted to the board in the last best offers. 

(j)(k)  In the case of the state of Vermont, the board shall recommend its choice to the general assembly as the bargaining agreement which shall become effective subject to appropriations by the general assembly.  The board shall determine the cost of the package selected and request the appropriation necessary to fund the recommendation.  In the case of the University of Vermont or the Vermont state colleges, the decision of the board shall be final and binding on each party.  Nothing herein precludes the general assembly from enacting laws amending provisions of any collective bargaining agreement involving the state of Vermont arrived at under this section.

(k)(l)  Nothing herein shall be construed to permit the board to issue an order under subsection (i) of this section binding upon the parties which that is in conflict with any statute or any rule or regulation which that is not bargainable.

Sec. 3.  3 V.S.A. § 982(f) is amended to read:

(f)  In the event the state of Vermont, the University of Vermont, and the Vermont state colleges as employer and the collective bargaining unit are unable to arrive at an agreement and there is not an existing agreement in effect, the secretary of administration, with the approval of the governor may make such temporary rules and regulations as may be necessary to ensure the uninterrupted and efficient conduct of state business.  Such rules and regulations shall terminate and be of no further force and effect, except for any rights arising thereunder, as soon as an agreement is reached the existing contract shall remain in force until a new contract is ratified by the parties.  However, nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the parties from agreeing to a modification of certain provisions of the existing contract which, as amended, shall remain in effect until a new contract is ratified by the parties.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont