Topic:
STATE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS; EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMS. COMMITTEE; EDUCATION (GENERAL); ARBITRATION; APPOINTMENT TO OFFICE;
Location:
EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE;

OLR Research Report


March 24, 2008

 

2008-R-0236

QUESTIONS FOR EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD IMPARTIAL ARBITRATOR NOMINEES

By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst

EDUCATION ARBITRATION BOARD (CGS 10-153F)

● The panel consists of 24 to 29 members who serve two-year terms. Seven must represent bargaining representatives of certified employees. Seven must represent the interests of local and regional boards of education. From 10 to 15 must be impartial representatives of the public experienced in public sector collective bargaining interest impasse resolution.

● The governor appoints. Both houses confirm.

If a contract dispute is not settled following mediation, the matter is referred to arbitration. The parties can either agree on a single impartial representative chosen from the panel or each can select an arbitrator to represent their interests. In the latter case, the commissioner of education selects a third arbitrator if the parties cannot agree on the third.

Arbitrators must give priority to the public interest and the financial capability of the town or towns in the school district in arriving at their decision. Arbitrators must also consider (1) the negotiations between the parties prior to arbitration; (2) the interests and welfare of the employee group; (3) changes in the cost of living averaged over the preceding three years; (4) the existing conditions of employment of the employee group and those of similar groups; and (5) the salaries, fringe benefits, and other conditions of employment prevailing in the state labor market. Arbitrators must resolve each individual disputed issue separately by accepting the last best offer thereon of either of the parties, and must incorporate each such accepted individual last best offer and an explanation of how the total cost of all offers accepted was considered in a decision.

QUESTIONS FOR IMPARTIAL ARBITRATOR NOMINEES

1. The Teacher Negotiation Act (TNA) requires arbitrators to give priority to the public interest and the school district's financial capability in deciding issues. Do these two factors ever conflict? How do you give priority to both?

2. What are the interests of the public in an arbitration proceeding?

3. Does the fact that voters in certain districts have repeatedly rejected local education budgets weigh in your consideration of a district's financial capability?

4. The TNA establishes an irrebuttable presumption that a municipal budget reserve of 5% or less is not available to pay the cost of any item subject to arbitration. Some have proposed to increase this threshold to 10%. As an impartial arbitrator, how do you view a reserve fund of between 5% and 10% in assessing municipal financial capacity?

5. Some have argued that the TNA's rigid timetable for negotiations pushes parties into arbitration because they have insufficient time to come to an agreement. What is your opinion of the TNA timetable?

6. How much influence do municipal fiscal authorities and boards of finance have in teacher and school administrator arbitration hearings compared to boards of education?

7. What is your opinion of the last-best-offer-by-issue arbitration system? Does it give arbitrators sufficient flexibility to fashion equitable awards?

8. When municipal and state budgets are tight, it seems that more school contract negotiations go to binding arbitration. Do you agree that this is the case? What major trends in teacher and school administrator contracts do you see over the next three-to five years?

JL:ts