Senate Bill 311 would make long overdue and needed improvements to Act 111. Act 111 is the state law that provides binding arbitration for police and fire personnel in exchange for a prohibition on striking if a contract cannot be negotiated. SB 311 would update the 48 year old collective bargaining process making it fairer and less costly to municipalities and their taxpayers.
Under SB 311:
Act 111 and the collective bargaining process is preserved for all conditions of employment except pensions and post-retirement healthcare. Those two items would not be collectively bargained.
Both parties would be treated equally in terms of being penalized for failing to bargain in good faith.
The collective bargaining process would start earlier to allow more time for contract settlement.
The selection of the third and neutral arbitrator would be by a coin toss giving each party the same chance at starting the selection process.
Both parties would be required to share the expenses of the neutral arbitrator. Currently, only the employer pays.
The evidentiary hearing would be open to the public.
The neutral arbitrator’s award must be based on the evidence presented and provide a justification based on the facts presented.
The narrow avenues for appeal of an award would be codified in Act 111.
An arbitrator’s failure to base an award on the evidence and facts would be an avenue for appeal.