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March 4, 2021 Labor and Public Employees Cmte, HB 905

Public Hearing Testimony of 
Kurt Westby, Commissioner
Department of Labor
Labor and Public Employees Committee
March 4, 2021

Good Morning Senator Kushner, Representative Porter, Senator Sampson, Representative Arora and members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with testimony regarding House Bill 905, AN ACT CONCERNING NEUTRAL ARBITRATOR SELECTION. My name is Kurt Westby, and I am the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor (CT DOL).
The CT DOL supports the proposed bill. This bill seeks to amend the statute by requiring that members of the Neutral Arbitrator Selection Committee be state residents, thereby ensuring that the members will pursue the best interests of Connecticut residents. Currently, the only requirements for committee composition are that there shall be five members of the Neutral Arbitrator Selection Committee representing the interests of employees and employee organizations, and five representing the interests of municipal employers. One of the members representing the interests of municipal employers must be a representative of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.
In addition, in order to be selected for a two year term as a neutral arbitrator, this bill replaces the requirement of a unanimous vote with a requirement of seven votes out of ten, eliminating the issue of personal animus from the decision to terminate an arbitrator. Requiring four "no" votes to eliminate an arbitrator would necessitate substantive discussions that would better inform final votes from arbitrators.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony. I am available to answer any questions you may have.


Connecticut Department of Labor
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer