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Unions hope to revive binding arbitration

July 7, 2011

This one from my colleague Ian Donnis:

Teachers union leaders are looking to a special legislative session on pensions as an opportunity to revisit binding arbitration.

State lawmakers are expected to convene in October to work toward reforming state retirement plans, which have an unfunded liability estimated at roughly $7 billion. House spokesman Larry Berman says that will be the main focus of the special session, but he does not rule out additional “housekeeing.”

Teachers unions have been pushing for passage of a bill that requires binding arbitration to settle teacher contract disputes. The measure passed the Senate during the last legislative session but died in a House committee.

Opponents of the bill include many city and school committee leaders, who say binding arbitration would cause a spike in public education costs and have a chilling effect on school reform efforts. Teachers union leaders say the measure would avert potential strikes by teachers in communities with ongoing contract disputes.

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