Title 3: Executive
Chapter 27: STATE EMPLOYEES LABOR RELATIONS ACT
3 V.S.A. § 925. Mediation; fact finding
§ 925. Mediation; fact finding
(a) Whenever the representatives of a collective bargaining unit and the representative of the employer, after a reasonable period of negotiation reach an impasse during the course of collective bargaining on subjects defined in section 904 of this title, the board, upon petition of either or both parties, may authorize the parties to submit their differences to mediation. The board shall within five days appoint a mediator who shall communicate with the employer and the employees or their representatives and endeavor by mediation to obtain an amicable settlement. Any mediator so appointed shall be a person of high standing in no way actively connected with labor or management.
(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. The board shall appoint a 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.
(d) The fact finder shall conduct hearings, pursuant to rules established by the board. Upon request of either party or of the fact finder, the board may issue subpoenas of persons and documents for the hearings and the fact finder may require that testimony be given under oath and may administer oaths.
(e) Nothing herein shall prohibit a fact finder from endeavoring to mediate the dispute, which the fact finder is considering, at any time prior to the issuance of recommendations.
(f) The fact finder shall consider if applicable to the issues the following factors, among others, in making a recommendation:
(1) wage and salary schedules and employee benefits to the extent they are inconsistent with prevailing rates both internally and in commerce and industry for comparable work within the state;
(2) work schedules relating to assigned hours and days of the week as they relate to the employee's needs and the general public's requirement for continual service;
(3) general working conditions as they compare with generally accepted safety standards and conditions prevailing in commerce and industry within the state.
(g) Upon completion of the hearings, the 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 fact finder shall be divided equally between the parties. Each party shall make payment of its half of the total to the fact finder within 15 days after receipt of the fact finder's bill.
(i) If the dispute remains unresolved 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 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 shall hold one or more hearings. Within 30 days of the certifications, the board shall select between the last best offers of the parties, considered in 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.
(k) In the case of the state of Vermont, the decision of the board shall be final, and the terms of the chosen agreement shall be binding on each party, subject to appropriations in accordance with subsection 982(d) of this title. 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.
(l) Nothing herein shall be construed to permit the board to issue an order under subsection (i) of this section binding upon the parties that is in conflict with any statute or any rule or regulation that is not bargainable. (Added 1969, No. 113, § 1; amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. March 29, 1972; No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. April 3, 1972; 1977, No. 109, § 6; 1987, No. 177 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2005, No. 71, § 178a, eff. June 21, 2005; 2005, No. 1 (Spec. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 194 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2011, No. 22, § 1.)