Final-Offer Arbitration and Public-Safety Employees: The Massachusetts Experience
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[Excerpt] We conclude that, in terms of its impact on the bargaining process, final-offer arbitration has had a mixed record in Massachusetts. On the one hand, the law must probably be given some credit for preventing police and firefighter strikes; in addition, the rate of arbitration usage was remarkably low compared to experience in other states. On the other hand, the law probably led to more impasses in police and fire bargaining (although the experience in the commonwealth was still favorable compared to other states) and reduced the effectiveness of the mediation stage of the impasse procedures. Perhaps most important, the law failed to gain acceptance with municipal employers in the commonwealth.
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public safety employees; Massachusetts; final-offer arbitration
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