The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
§ 1636. Mediation; fact-finding; last best offer
(a) If, after a reasonable period of negotiation, the representative of the collective bargaining unit and the State reach an impasse, the Board, upon petition of either party, may authorize the parties to submit their differences to mediation. Within five days after receipt of the petition, the Board shall appoint a mediator who shall communicate with the parties and attempt to mediate an amicable settlement. A mediator shall be of high standing and not actively connected with labor or management.
(b) If, after a reasonable period of time, no fewer 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.
(c) The Board shall appoint a fact finder who has been mutually agreed upon by the parties. If the parties fail to agree on a fact finder within five days, the Board shall appoint a neutral third party to act as a fact finder pursuant to rules adopted by the Board. A member of the Board or any individual who has actively participated in mediation proceedings for which fact-finding has been called shall not be eligible to serve as a fact finder under this section, unless agreed upon by the parties.
(d) The fact finder shall conduct hearings pursuant to rules of 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 in this section shall prohibit the fact finder from endeavoring to mediate the dispute at any time prior to issuing recommendations.
(f) The fact finder shall consider the following factors in making a recommendation:
(1) the needs and welfare of consumers, including their interest in greater access to quality services;
(2) the nature and needs of the personal care assistance program;
(3) the interest and welfare of independent direct support providers;
(4) the history of negotiation between the parties, including those leading to the proceedings;
(5) changes in the cost of living; and
(6) generally accepted labor-management relations practices in Vermont.
(g) Upon completion of the hearings provided in subsection (d) of this section, the fact finder shall file written findings and recommendations with both parties.
(h) The costs of witnesses and other expenses incurred by either party in fact-finding proceedings shall be paid directly by the parties incurring them, and the costs and expenses of the fact finder shall be divided equally by the parties. The fact finder shall be paid a rate mutually agreed upon by the parties for each day or any part of a day while performing fact-finding duties and shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of his or her duties. A statement of fact-finding per diem and expenses shall be certified by the fact finder and submitted to the Board for approval. The Board shall provide a copy of approved fact-finding costs to each party with its order apportioning half of the total to each party for payment. Each party shall pay its half of the total within 15 days after receipt of the order. Approval by the Board of fact-finding and the fact finder’s costs and expenses and its order for payment shall be final as to the parties.
(i) If the dispute remains unresolved 20 days after transmittal of findings and recommendations, each party shall submit to the Board its last best offer on all disputed issues as a single package. Each party’s last best offer shall be certified to the Board by the fact finder. The Board may hold hearings and consider the recommendations of the fact finder. Within 30 days of the certifications, the Board shall select between the last best offers of the parties, considered in their entirety without amendment, and shall determine its cost. The Board shall not issue an order under this subsection that: (1) is in conflict with any statute; (2) is in conflict with any rule unless the rule relates to a mandatory subject of bargaining; or (3) determines an issue that is not a mandatory subject of bargaining. The Board shall determine the cost of the agreement selected and recommend to the General Assembly its choice with a request for appropriation. If the General Assembly appropriates sufficient funds, the agreement shall become effective and legally binding at the beginning of the next fiscal year. If the General Assembly appropriates a different amount of funds, the terms of the agreement affected by that appropriation shall be renegotiated based on the amount of funds actually appropriated by the General Assembly, and the agreement with the negotiated changes shall become effective and binding at the beginning of the next fiscal year. No portion of any agreement shall become effective separately without the mutual consent of the parties. (Added 2013, No. 48, § 1, eff. May 24, 2013.)