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Orland Firefighters Contract Concerns Going To Arbitration

Saturday, July, 27, 2013

A firefighter contract dispute is headed for arbitration if the parties can’t come to an agreement soon.  The firefighters, Orland Firefighters Local 2754 have been working through contract negotiations since the fall of 2012.  Their last actual contract expired on December 31, 2012, but the two sides can’t seem to come to a final agreement. 


In early July, both sides sat down to present bullet points of their cases with regard to the contract, and it seemed as though they might finally be moving towards a resolution with the aid of an arbitrator who oversaw those hearings. 


The arbitrator closed out the meeting by suggesting that the parties had all of the information needed to make a decision and that he felt it would be possible to achieve success if both sides continued to communicate with one another.  District representatives commented that they would prefer not to go to arbitration, although they do look forward to a case conclusion and a contract for the firefighters finally being nailed down. 


Although arbitration has been very successful in putting forth binding decisions in several different types of disputes, sometimes the threat of even arbitration is enough to get parties talking and to reach a consensus.  In this way, arbitration can be seen as a dispute resolution tool before parties even enter into official arbitration hearings on a case. 


Rather than focusing on developing arguments against one another, which is a common tactic when disputes entering the litigation process, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution encourage opposing parties to work with one another.  Hostility might make an appearance at the outset, but in most cases parties quickly learn that it’s not a valuable use of their time and instead focus on discussions to pin down details.  For contract negotiations, arbitration has been used around the country to gain a more efficient resolution to disputes.