Public Employee Rights and Benefits

ORS 243.706
Agreement may provide for grievance and other disputes to be resolved by binding arbitration or other resolution process

  • powers of arbitrator


A public employer may enter into a written agreement with the exclusive representative of an appropriate bargaining unit setting forth a grievance procedure culminating in binding arbitration or any other dispute resolution process agreed to by the parties. As a condition of enforceability, any arbitration award that orders the reinstatement of a public employee or otherwise relieves the public employee of responsibility for misconduct shall comply with public policy requirements as clearly defined in statutes or judicial decisions including but not limited to policies respecting sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, unjustified and egregious use of physical or deadly force and serious criminal misconduct, related to work. In addition, with respect to claims that a grievant should be reinstated or otherwise relieved of responsibility for misconduct based upon the public employer’s alleged previous differential treatment of employees for the same or similar conduct, the arbitration award must conform to the following principles:


Some misconduct is so egregious that no employee can reasonably rely on past treatment for similar offenses as a justification or defense to discharge or other discipline.


Public managers have a right to change disciplinary policies at any time, notwithstanding prior practices, if such managers give reasonable advance notice to affected employees and the change does not otherwise violate a collective bargaining agreement.


In addition to subsection (1) of this section, a public employer may enter into a written agreement with the exclusive representative of its employees providing that a labor dispute over conditions and terms of a contract may be resolved through binding arbitration.


In an arbitration proceeding under this section, the arbitrators, or a majority of the arbitrators, may:


Issue subpoenas on their own motion or at the request of a party to the proceeding to:


Compel the attendance of a witness properly served by either party; and


Require from either party the production of books, papers and documents the arbitrators find are relevant to the proceeding;


Administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses; and


Adjourn a hearing from day to day, or for a longer time, and from place to place.


The arbitrators shall promptly provide a copy of a subpoena issued under this section to each party to the arbitration proceeding.


The arbitrators issuing a subpoena under this section may rule on objections to the issuance of the subpoena.


If a person fails to comply with a subpoena issued under this section or if a witness refuses to testify on a matter on which the witness may be lawfully questioned, the party who requested the subpoena or seeks the testimony may apply to the arbitrators for an order authorizing the party to apply to the circuit court of any county to enforce the subpoena or compel the testimony. On the application of the attorney of record for the party or on the application of the arbitrators, or a majority of the arbitrators, the court may require the person or witness to show cause why the person or witness should not be punished for contempt of court to the same extent and purpose as if the proceedings were pending before the court.


Witnesses appearing pursuant to subpoena, other than parties or officers or employees of the public employer, shall receive fees and mileage as prescribed by law for witnesses in ORS 44.415 (Fees and mileage of witnesses) (2). [1973 c.536 §12; 1995 c.286 §5; 1999 c.75 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Where collective bargaining contract between union and county contained mandatory grievance procedures, ERB was without authority to interpret contract without requiring that parties bring matter to arbitration. AFSCME v. Lane County Commissioners, 45 Or App 161, 607 P2d 1212 (1980), Sup Ct review denied, on reconsideration 46 Or App 645, 612 P2d 759 (1980)

Findings made by arbitrator that are beyond scope of collective bargaining agreement are not part of arbitration "award." Deschutes County Sheriff's Association v. Deschutes County, 169 Or App 445, 9 P3d 742 (2000), Sup Ct review denied

Proper inquiry in determining whether employer may decline to enforce arbitration award on public policy grounds is whether award itself contravenes public policy, not whether underlying conduct of employee violates public policy. Salem-Keizer Association of Classified Employees v. Salem-Keizer School District 24J, 186 Or App 19, 61 P3d 970 (2003)

Where police officer used deadly force, police department discharged officer from employment and arbitrator found that officer's use of deadly force was not misconduct and ordered department to reinstate officer, this section's public-policy exception to enforceability of arbitrator's decision does not apply because that exception is triggered only when arbitrator finds that officer engaged in misconduct. Portland Police Association v. City of Portland, 275 Or App 700, 365 P3d 1123 (2015)

Law Review Citations

49 WLR 105 (2012)

§§ 243.650 to 243.782

See also annotations under ORS 243.711 to 243.760 in permanent edition.

Notes of Decisions

Savings clause in chapter 536, Oregon Laws 1973, did not prevent application of expanded bargaining rights to collective bargaining agreement then in force. Redmond Sch. Dist. No. 2J v. Pub. Employe Relations Bd., 19 Or App 212, 527 P2d 143 (1974)

The board had authority to review, section by section, a city ordinance governing labor relations between the city and its employes and to hold invalid those provisions purporting to govern matters of predominantly state-wide concern and which were in conflict with the 1973 Act. City of Beaverton v. Intl. Assn. of Fire Fighters, 20 Or App 293, 531 P2d 730 (1975), Sup Ct review denied

Board order, defining appropriate bargaining unit and ordering representation election, was interlocutory in nature and was not "final order" subject to judicial review within meaning of ORS 183.480. City of Hermiston v. Employment Relations Board, 280 Or 291, 570 P2d 663 (1977)

Employment Relations Board's policy of adhering to arbitration decisions in subsequent related proceedings advances legislative purpose, and is proper exercise of authority to administer this act. Siegel v. Gresham Grade Teachers Association, 32 Or App 541, 574 P2d 692 (1978)

Public Employes' Collective Bargaining Law did not bar state agency from using state time and funds to campaign against labor organization in representation election. OSEA v. Department of Commerce, 34 Or App 727, 579 P2d 872 (1978)

Juvenile counselor appointed pursuant to [former] ORS 419.604 did not acquire collective bargaining rights granted by these sections where there was no showing that juvenile court judge had expressly authorized employer representatives to bargain on counselor's behalf concerning terms and conditions of his employment. Schmidt v. Jackson County Juv. Dept., 49 Or App 349, 619 P2d 1307 (1980)

Employment Relations Board employed scope of review contrary to Public Employe Relations Act when it reviewed merits of arbitration award rather than only its repugnancy to Public Employe Relations Act. Willamina Ed. Assoc. v. Willamina Sch. Dist. 30J, 50 Or App 195, 623 P2d 658 (1981)

Since Public Employe Collective Bargaining Act is general law addressed primarily to substantive social, economic and other regulatory objectives of this state which do not affect freedom of local community to choose its own political form, it does not mandate structural and organizational arrangements of local governments contrary to Oregon Constitution, Article XI, section 2. City of Roseburg v. Roseburg City Firefighters, 292 Or 266, 639 P2d 90 (1981)

State's decision to enact Public Employe Collective Bargaining Act supersedes city's power to allow its voters to arbitrate unresolved labor disputes and grant of power by Oregon Constitution, Article IV, section 1 to legislate by popular vote does not affect state's power in this area. City of Roseburg v. Roseburg City Firefighters, 292 Or 266, 639 P2d 90 (1981)

Arbitrator's failure to conclude that school district violated collective bargaining agreement by violating statutory requirements incorporated into agreement was not sufficiently egregious to be reversible as being "repugnant" to act. Eugene Educ. Assoc. v. Eugene School Dist 4J, 58 Or App 140, 648 P2d 60 (1982)

Employment Relations Board formulation of test for review of arbitration awards in enforcement proceedings which would permit enforcement of arbitrator's award unless (1) parties did not, in a written contract, agree to accept such an award as final and binding or (2) enforcement of the award would be contrary to public policy, was consistent with policies of Public Employe Collective Bargaining Act. Willamina Sch. Dist. 30J v. Willamina Ed. Assn., 60 Or App 629, 655 P2d 189 (1982)

Public Employe Collective Bargaining Act requirement that juvenile court judge bargain in good faith with representatives of juvenile counselors and refrain from establishing terms and conditions of counselors' employment in violation of applicable contractual provisions did not constitute an undue burden or interference with his judicial functions under [former] ORS 419.604 or the separation of powers provision contained in Article III, section 1 of the Oregon Constitution. Circuit Court v. AFSCME, 61 Or App 311, 657 P2d 1237 (1983), aff'd 295 Or 542, 669 P2d 314 (1983)

Public Employe Collective Bargaining Act applies to the Judicial Department and is not inconsistent with ORS 1.002 or 1.008. Lent v. ERB, 63 Or App 400, 664 P2d 1110 (1983), Sup Ct review denied

Employment Relations Board did not exceed statutory authority under Public Employes Collective Bargaining Act in designating appropriate bargaining unit which consists of police dispatchers who are employes who can strike and police officers who are forbidden from striking. City of Canby v. Canby Police Association, 68 Or App 317, 680 P2d 1033 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Statutory purpose to provide uniform basis for employe organizing and bargaining would be subverted by holding that statute authorizing county civil service system supersedes collective bargaining required by this Act. AFSCME v. Clackamas County, 69 Or App 488, 687 P2d 1102 (1984)

Board had authority to order restitution where union collected "fair share" payments from nonunion public employees without complying with safeguards instituted to protect employees' rights of free speech and association. Elvin v. OPEU, 313 Or 165, 832 P2d 36 (1992)

Where public employees brought action for negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment against county employer, claims were not within jurisdiction of Employment Relations Board because claims were common law issues rather than public labor dispute. Black v. Coos County, 288 Or App 25, 405 P3d 178 (2017)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

School law on mediation as an exclusive procedure, (1971) Vol 35, p 961; seniority as a related economic issue, (1972) Vol 35, p 1134; legality of binding arbitration in public employment collective bargaining, (1972) Vol 36, p 18; validity of collective bargaining agreements between county intermediate education district and local education association on transfer of sick leave, (1975) Vol 37, p 328; authority of teachers to strike during contract year in absence of collective bargaining agreements, and to engage in picketing, (1975) Vol 37, p 732

Law Review Citations

51 OLR 7-69 (1971); 54 OLR 337-371 (1975); 56 OLR 457 (1977); 21 WLR 454 (1985); 70 OLR 969 (1991); 28 WLR 259 (1992); 32 WLR 69, 707 (1996)

Chapter 243

Notes of Decisions

Effect of Public Employe Relations Act is to modify authority of Personnel Division so that, while division retains responsibility for establishing general job salary grades and classifications, specific salary within each range which is paid to employe in public employe bargaining unit is subject to negotiation or arbitration under terms of this chapter. AFSCME v. Executive Dept., 52 Or App 457, 628 P2d 1228 (1981), Sup Ct review denied

Provision of collective bargaining agreement giving present employes lateral transfer rights was valid under ORS 240.321 and fact that its implementation resulted in male succeeding female employe did not violate state affirmative action statutes. State Executive Dept. v. OPEU, 91 Or App 124, 754 P2d 582 (1988)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

State agencies paying carpooling employes' parking fees, (1974) Vol 36, p 1015

Law Review Citations

51 OLR 23, 44 (1971)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021