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Lawmakers proposing new method of arbitration to potentially prevent future strikes

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WRGT) - Local lawmakers are proposing a new method of arbitration that they say could help reach an agreement during a labor dispute without a strike.

State Representatives Mike Henne and Jeff Rezabek are proposing that arbitration stay with in the community where the labor dispute is happening, instead of calling in a state mediator.

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority and ATU local 1385 agreed on terms to end the union's work stoppage strike on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

"We obviously didn't want to shut down the transit system, that affected a lot of people," said Matt Trimble, a mechanic with the RTA.

Trimble and other mechanics spent Thursday moving their tools back to the company's garage, to prepare for the buses start running again Friday morning.

After two years of contract negotiations, four days that the buses didn't run, and 14 hours of mediation Wednesday, both sides were finally able to agree on new tentative contract terms.

"I know one or both of the parties did not trust the current arbitration process," said Representative Henne.

The proposal from he and Rezabek suggests, "it is from the community, it's not someone from Columbus telling with the people from Dayton should be doing," Henne said.

The current mediation process includes a group from both the labor and management side meeting with a state mediator to try to come to an agreement.

Under the new proposal, both sides of the dispute would appoint a community member to be there arbitrator, then those two community members would appoint a third, and those three nominated people would be the binding arbitrators.

Trimble said there are cons to the proposal, like not getting what they want out of a contract, and losing any leverage of a strike. He also said it has advantages for the community.

"In this particular case we would have been able to come say okay we can't come to an agreement, let's go to binding arbitration, and we wouldn't of had to strike," Trimble said.

The legislation is still in the works, stay with Fox 45 as it moves forward.

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