Sec. 13A-111

Sec. 13A-111. Procedures Pertaining to Collective Bargaining Impasses Other Than Those Involving Protective Service Employees.

  1. General. 
    1. "Impasse" means the failure of the employer and the exclusive representative to reach a collective bargaining agreement despite good faith efforts to do so. However, the Impasse Panel shall be empowered to provide such dispute resolution services as deemed needed either by the parties or as found by the Panel to be essential to the public interest and welfare, even if impasse has not been reached.
    2. An Impasse Panel member shall have power to mediate, hold hearings, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents, review data, make public any recommendations or findings after notice to the parties and take whatever action he considers necessary to resolve the impasse, provided that such action does not impose a final and binding settlement on the parties except as mutually authorized by the parties, or except where the Impasse Panel has denied a labor organization the right to strike and has in its discretion required compulsory binding arbitration. In such cases, the decision of the Impasse Panel shall be submitted to the Council for approval. Unless the parties otherwise provide, a single Panel member rather than multiple members shall provide the services herein described, provided further that a member acting as a mediator shall not act as a fact finder or arbitrator in the same matter without the consent of the parties.
    3. Confidential information disclosed by the parties to a mediator in the performance of his mediation functions shall not be divulged voluntarily or by compulsion. All files, records, reports, documents or other papers received or prepared by a mediator while serving in such capacity shall be classified as confidential. The mediator shall not produce any confidential records of, or testify in regard to, any mediation conducted by him on behalf of any party to any case pending in any type of proceeding. A party shall have the right to bar a Panel member who becomes privy to confidential information about that party gained through mediation techniques, from serving in any fact finding or arbitration role relevant to that dispute.
  2. Action by the Parties. 
    1. The employer shall have the power to enter into a written agreement with the exclusive representative setting forth an impasse procedure to resolve disputes over the terms or conditions of an initial or renewed collective bargaining agreement. The parties are not precluded from using third party neutrals other than on the impasse panel described in Section 13A-111(c)(4).
    2. The employer, by collective bargaining agreement or by written memorandum, may at any time agree to submit any or all of the issues in dispute to final and binding arbitration.
    3. Any final and binding settlement imposed upon the parties shall be subject to the same conditions for approval as set forth in Section 13A-110(f).
  3. Procedures. 
    1. At least 30 days prior to the expiration date of any collective bargaining agreement but not later than March 1, or when 90 days have passed after the commencement of negotiations of an initial agreement, the parties shall notify the Panel of the status of negotiations. The Panel may on its own motion invoke mediation, except if the parties have provided otherwise pursuant to Section 13A-111(b)(1).
    2. The Panel, except as otherwise provided by mutual agreement of the parties, may return the parties to collective bargaining for any or all items in dispute or may refer such items as deemed necessary to the procedure outlines in Section 13A-111 with respect to deciding the negotiability of a matter within the meaning of this law, other applicable laws and the County Charter.
    3. Nothing shall preclude a third party neutral from returning to mediation even after the institution of fact-finding or arbitration, or from utilizing such mediation techniques as may be appropriate while engaged in fact finding or arbitration.
    4. The Impasse Panel may not make recommendations or findings upon any matter which requires implementation by a body, agency or official which is not a party to the negotiations and who have not agreed to be a party to such impasse resolution.
    5. From the date on which a collective bargaining notice is filed and ending on the date on which a collective bargaining agreement is concluded or, if impasse procedures have been invoked, until such time as the Panel has certified that it or other authorized parties have terminated efforts to resolve the dispute, the labor organization party to the negotiations and the public employees it represents, shall not induce or engage in any strikes, and the employer shall refrain from unilateral changes in wages, hours or working conditions.
  4. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section or Subtitle, any clause in a collective bargaining agreement which sets forth procedures for a reduction-in-force, layoff, and recall, and/or guarantees against a reduction-in-force or a furlough of employees subject to that agreement, shall expire on the date that agreement expires by its express terms. If a collective bargaining agreement, which has remained in effect beyond its expiration date, provides for an annual merit increase for employees, payment of such increase shall be eliminated unless provided for in a successor bargaining agreement.
  5. Costs. The costs for mediation shall be borne by the County. All other costs shall be borne equally by the parties involved in the dispute, except in the unusual event that the National Center or an arbitrator appointed by it shall find pursuant to such rules as it shall issue, that the impasse has been caused or prolonged by flagrant conduct of one of the parties.

 (CB-1-1973; CB-24-1981; CB-24-1995)