As the General Court deliberates on the budget and reforms at the state’s largest transit authority, please allow us to share key findings from the Institute’s review of 3,600 pages of Superior Court documents associated with the 2010-2014 MBTA interest arbitration process. The MBTA’s interest arbitration laws delegate the power to resolve public sector labor disputes emerging during collective bargaining to a supposedly neutral arbitrator. That arbitrator’s decisions are final and binding on both parties. Our review of the 2010-2014 MBTA arbitration documents identified at least five ways in which full, final and binding arbitration serves as a significant obstacle to reforming the region’s transit system. First, the arbitrator, a private individual, is not accountable to taxpayers, who pay for […]
About John Sivolella
John Sivolella is a Senior Fellow in Law and Policy at Pioneer Institute and is helping the Institute establish its new public-interest law initiative, PioneerLegal.
A study of thousands of pages of interest arbitration documents stored in Superior Court argues that full, final and binding interest arbitration involving the MBTA circumvents the power of all three branches of government and leaves a single, unelected individual in the role of decision-maker on contract disagreements with tens of millions of dollars at stake.
Introduction As the Baker Administration works with the state legislature to determine the future course of the MBTA, a critical component of this deliberative process should be revisiting and interpreting the long-standing, often contentious history of interest arbitration between the MBTA and its public employee unions. The Boston Carmen’s Union, ATU Local 589, is the largest of the MBTA’s 28 bargaining units, representing roughly 3,500 employees over a range of 45 distinct job classifications—or approximately 55 percent of the MBTA labor force. The outcome of the MBTA’s negotiations with Local 589 typically sets a ‘pattern’ that the other MBTA unions follow. This method is not based on statute or in collective bargaining agreements, but is a practice that has emerged […]