General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 150B Peaceful Settlement of Industrial Disputes Dangerous to Public Health and Safety - Section 4 Declarations of emergency; emergency procedures; unlawful activities; labor or service without consent; termination of emergency and arrangements; restoration of facilities; enforcement of statute

Section 4. (a) Whenever the governor finds that as a result of a labor dispute an interruption of production or distribution has occurred or is imminently threatened which would curtail the availability of essential goods or services to such an extent as to endanger the health or safety of any community and that such dispute either (a) has not been settled under the procedures established by section three or (b) is of such a nature that those procedures cannot be applied thereto, he shall thereupon declare that an emergency exists in respect to such essential goods or services. During such emergency the governor may—

(A) Enter into arrangements with either or both of the parties to the dispute for continuing the production or distribution of such part of the goods or services theretofore produced or distributed by them as may be necessary to safeguard the public health and safety. The governor with the approval of the council may make and promulgate rules and regulations, to be effective immediately, for carrying out such arrangements and preventing interference therewith.

(B)(1) Take possession of, and operate in whole or in part, any plant or facility of a party to the dispute the full or partial operation of which by the commonwealth he deems to be necessary as a result of such dispute, in order to safeguard the public health or safety. Such power and authority may be exercised through any department or agency of the commonwealth and with the assistance of such public or private instrumentalities or persons as may be designated by the governor. Such plant or facility shall be operated for the account of the person operating it immediately prior to the seizure; provided, that such person shall have the right to elect, by written notice filed with the governor within ten days after such seizure, to waive all claims to the proceeds of such operation, and to receive in lieu thereof fair and reasonable compensation for the appropriation and temporary use of his property, for which he may bring a petition for damages against the commonwealth under chapter two hundred and fifty-eight. In determining the amount of compensation to be awarded in such proceedings, there shall be taken into account the existence of the labor dispute which interrupted or threatened imminently to interrupt the private operation of such plant or facility, and the effect of such interruption or threatened interruption upon the value to the petitioner of the use of such plant or facility.

(2) The declaration of emergency or the seizure and operation of a plant or facility by the commonwealth shall not render inapplicable any state or federal law concerning the health, safety, security and employment standards, and the department or agency operating such plant or facility shall comply with said laws as if it were privately operated. During such emergency the rates of pay, wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment theretofore effective shall be maintained without change; provided, that if an emergency board of inquiry shall have been appointed and shall, after a hearing, have recommended changes in rates of pay, wages, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment, such changes may, in the discretion of the governor, be made effective in any plant which is being operated by the commonwealth; and provided, further, that when no emergency board of inquiry has been appointed, the governor may appoint a special commission which shall, except as provided by paragraph (3), after a hearing, make recommendations concerning the rates of pay, wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for the period of public operation, which recommendations may, in the discretion of the governor, be made effective in such plant or facility during said period. The special commission shall base its recommendations on such of the factors normally taken into account in collective bargaining or voluntary arbitration as it deems material, including the conditions in existence in the industry affected. The special commission shall be composed of not less than three nor more than six members designated either to represent the general public or with equal numbers to represent industry, labor and the public, but in the latter event the governor before appointing the members of such commission shall request the employer to recommend the members to represent industry and the representatives of the employees to recommend the members to represent labor. If the commission recommends a change, it shall include in its recommendations a date, prospective or retroactive, but not prior to the date of such public operation as of which its recommendations shall be made effective and in doing so shall consider evidence as to the responsibility of either party for delaying a settlement or rejecting arbitration.

(3) In the case of a labor dispute between or among parties to a valid and existing collective bargaining agreement, the authority of any special commission appointed under this section shall be limited, with respect to the unexpired period of such agreement, to the determination of grievances asserted thereunder, and the making of recommendations or determinations concerning the proper interpretation and application of the provisions of such agreement; provided, that if the said existing collective bargaining agreement shall contain provisions for arbitration of grievances or interpretations of such agreement, a special commission appointed by the governor hereunder shall take no action inconsistent with such agreement. Recommendations which may be made by such a commission in excess of its authority as herein limited shall not be made effective during the period of public operation.

(b) During such emergency it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any concerted activities interfering or threatening to interfere with the operation of any plant or facility which is being operated by the commonwealth for the purpose of bringing about any change in rates of pay, wages, hours, or terms or conditions of employment; or to aid or encourage any such concerted cessation of work or other concerted activities by giving direction or guidance in the conduct thereof or by providing funds for the payment of strike, unemployment or other benefits to persons participating therein; or to violate any rule or regulation promulgated by the governor with the approval of the council under paragraph (A). Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as requiring any individual employee to render labor or service without his consent. In the case of partial operation this subsection (b) shall apply only to that portion of the operation of a plant or facility carried on by the commonwealth.

(c) Whenever the parties to a labor dispute which has led the governor to proclaim the existence of an emergency under this section shall jointly report in writing to the governor that they have executed an agreement terminating or adjusting the said dispute, and that they are in a position to resume or continue without interruption the operation of any plant or facility for the production or distribution of essential goods or services the governor shall terminate forthwith with respect to such plant or facility any arrangements made pursuant to paragraph (A) and, if such plant or facility is being operated by the commonwealth, it shall be restored immediately to the person entitled thereto. The supreme judicial court or the superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity, on petition of any aggrieved party, to enforce compliance with the provisions of this subsection.

(d) Whenever, in the opinion of the governor, the intervention of the commonwealth under this section is no longer necessary to safeguard the public health or safety, he shall declare the termination of the emergency without regard to the settlement or continuation of the labor dispute.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015