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95 Monthly Lab. Rev. 60 (1972)
Factfinding in Public Employee Negotiations

handle is hein.journals/month95 and id is 188 raw text is: Factfinding
in public
employee
negotiations

FACTFINDING is a procedure designed to settle ne-
gotiation impasses without the'need to resort to a
strike or lockout. Many State and local governments
now have laws that encourage collective bargaining
in the public'sector; however, these laws do not
recognize the right to strike as it exists in the private
sector, but substitute instead factfinding or advisory
arbitration to give the bargaining process the needed
measure of finality. The question is whether fact-
finding is an effective substitute for the strike. The
experiences of Wisconsin and New York State with
public sector factfinding are the basis for the analysis
reported here.
The selection of these two States provides a
contrast between a State that has had public sector
bargaining for several years (Wisconsin) and one
with a fairly new law (New York). The States also
differ in that Wisconsin requires the negotiating
parties to share equally the costs of factfinding,
while New York State provides the procedure at no
cost to the parties.
Extent of the survey
The New York State experience was confined
to 74 cases in which factfinding reports were written
under the statutory provisions of the Taylor law in
the first 6 months of 1969. For Wisconsin, the 42
cases decided under the direction of the Wisconsin
Employment Relations Commission (WERC) be-
tween July 1, 1966, and June 30, 1969, were
selected.
Information for the study was obtained from re-
plies gathered during late 1961 to two questionnaires.
The -first, sent to public employers and employee
William R. Word is a military economist with the Military
Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), Deputy Chief of
Staff for Economic Affairs. Research for this study was con-
ducted at the University of- Tennessee in cooperation with
its Center for Business and Economic Research.

In both Wisconsin and New York
State, parties tend to view factfinding
as only one more step in bargaining;
public opinion is not significant
in bringing about settlement

WILLIAM R. WORD

organizations, sought specific information about a
particular factfinding case, as well as the parties'
opinions about impasse resolution in general. The
second, sent to participating factfinders, asked for a
summary of their experiences. While specific data
are not available at this time, indications are that
participants in more recent factfinding cases would
respond in like manner.
The overwhelming majority of New York State
cases were between teacher organizations and boards
of education..In only 6 of the 74 cases in this State
was the employee group classified as nonteaching,
and in 3 of these, the public employer was a school
board. In Wisconsin, on the other hand, either a
fire or police group was one of the bargaining
parties in 40 percent .of the cases. Most of the other
Wisconsin cases were between a municipal employee
organization and the city administration. Only a few
involved teacher organizations.
The extent of the parties' prior bargaining experi-
ence usually serves as an indicator of the maturity
of negotiations and the factfinding procedure. Sixty-
five percent of the Wisconsin parties indicated they
had been bargaining for 3 years or more. In New
York State, bargaining experience was significantly
less: 78 percent of the parties had, at the most,
only 2 years of negotiating experience.
The situation preceding factfinding
In answering the question, In your opinion, did
the other party bargain in good or bad faith?, 59
percent of the employees indicated that their em-
ployers had bargained in bad faith, and 26 percent
of the employers made the same charge against their
employees. (See table 1.) Specific examples of
employer behavior characterized as bargaining in bad
faith included using procedural technicalities to stall
the bargaining process and unilaterally granting w age
increases during negotiations. Undesirable employee

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