In November 1973 a comprehensive collective bargaining law for the public sector was unveiled in Massachusetts. It revised and expanded the provisions of a prior law. It added a new mechanism for the resolution of police and fire fighter contract impasses—final offer arbitration. It took effect July 1, 1974. We have been living in this new universe for more than a year now.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the experience of the past year with the impasse mechanism for police and fire disputes. Before giving some account of what has happened, I shall first describe briefly what the police and fire impasse procedures are in Massachusetts.